Requesting Academic Software

Last modified 5/21/2024

Faculty and students rely daily upon software that is an integral part of their teaching, research, and learning. Software must be reviewed for use with university accounts, systems, networks, and/or data; this is especially important for software used for instructional or research purposes. The use of all ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems is governed by 9.2 Policy on Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources and Systems. 

The Office of Technology Solutions has implemented a new pilot process for requesting academic software. Your request will be shepherded through the process as quickly as possible, with updates that provide transparency on status.

Why is a process required?

Modern software, even at low or no direct cost, come with serious implications for privacy, accessibility, licensing, information security, compliance, and user support. There are important factors that must be evaluated to ensure that university policies, procedures, and standards are observed, and that using the software does not place the university at undue risk.

The academic software request process follows and implements 9.2 Policy on Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources and Systems, which has been in place since 2011. Federal and state laws that require compliance related to export control regulation, data usage, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have also been in place for many years. Multiple university departments are involved in the various tasks related to acquiring software, and it can be difficult to know what the status of a request is. All of these factors have lengthened the time required to acquire software for use in teaching and learning.

The new academic software request process aims to improve the turnaround time for software acquisition. The process is streamlined for the requestor to a single request, which is then shepherded through the departments and tasks required for the end-to-end review. Requestors are updated on status throughout the process, and are able to see their request in the system at any time. Software that has been reviewed is posted to the Software Catalog so that others know it may be used without further review, and software currently under review is also posted to ensure time is not wasted in duplicate requests. Having greater visibility to what have previously been separate requests will also allow the university to save time and money by consolidating purchases for more advantageous licensing terms.

What is considered academic software?

Academic software is any software requested to support instruction, research, or administrative activities by an individual teaching or working in a college. This includes software installed on computers, servers, and mobile devices, as well as software integrated with systems like Canvas (Learning Tool Integrations/LTIs) and Microsoft 365.

When does this process apply?

Any request for new software from an academic area, regardless of cost, must go through the review process. New software is defined as software that has not been used within the past year, regardless of cost. Software currently in use does not need to utilize the request process and should be acquired through departmental purchasing processes. Software for which an integration (LTI) to the Canvas system or to the Microsoft 365 system (app consent) is desired will need to go through the review process, even if currently in use. Trial software, code and coding languages, and electronic resource subscriptions such as online journals and databases are specifically not in scope for this process at this time. Please see this Help Center article for a more detailed list of software use cases and how they should be acquired.

Only faculty or staff members may request academic software. Students may work with a faculty or staff member to submit a request on their behalf when necessary and appropriate.  

What to expect during the request process

There are several steps to the request process. You will be guided through each step along the way, and you will receive regular updates on status. Reviewing academic software for use is a complex process and is likely to take several weeks or longer depending on the volume of requests at the time. Please allow enough time for your request to make it through the process. The earlier you make the request, the better chance it has to complete review before you need to use it.

  1. Check to see if your software has already been reviewed, or is currently under review. A list of reviewed software, and software currently under review, may be found in the Software Catalog. You may view currently available Learning Tool Integrations (LTIs) with Canvas, and currently available, denied, and under-review Microsoft 365 app connections (typically for login with an ISU account or integration to OneDrive storage) at the linked pages. 
  2. If the software you are inquiring about is not listed as reviewed or under review, submit a request using one of the forms below. Please fill out the form as completely as possible to expedite your request. 
    1. Academic Software Request form - use this form to request new software to support instruction, research, or administrative activities in a college. This form should also be used to request software that is currently in use but for which an LTI connection to Canvas is desired.
    2. Microsoft 365 App Consent Request form - use this form to request academic software that needs to connect to the university's Microsoft 365 system. If users of your software are receiving this message from the system, you'll need to use this form to request a connection to Microsoft 365.  
  3. The representative from your college on the Academic Technology Review Board (ATRB) will review the request. The ATRB is comprised of the Associate Deans with technology responsibilities from each college. 
  4. The Office of Technology Solutions will shepherd the software request through a series of compliance checks, working with the departments involved on your behalf. The compliance checks ensure that the software meets information security, accessibility, export control, and purchasing standards. You will be updated as the compliance review proceeds.
  5. Assuming all compliance checks have been passed, the request moves to procurement and you will be able to use the software according to the terms of the contract. The software would also be added to the Software Catalog so that others know it may be used.

Further Assistance

Questions about the academic software request process can be directed to the Office of Technology Solutions at