QU requires freshmen to bring own laptops

Katie Koproski

All students entering Quinnipiac in the fall of 2003 will be required to obtain a laptop.
The idea was proposed one year ago at the Winter Planning Meetings. The final decision for the laptop requirement needed to be made this semester so that the 2002-2003 printed materials for the academic year would indicate the new requirements for prospective students. It will also give professors an ample amount of time to integrate the use of technology into their courses.
Currently, there are about 800 students in the School of Business who are required to have a laptop, and most students come to campus with computers. Last summer, 800 students bought Dell laptops. One third of them were bought by School of Business freshmen students. Approximately 500 laptops were purchased by other Quinnipiac freshmen.
There are many advantages to the laptop requirement. All students would have a campus-ready computer with all of the software needed, purchased at a good price. This will allow students to have complete configuration to fit with the university support system. They will also be able to keep large files and have access to them at any point, without worrying about losing the file. Students would have a computer at all times, which would alleviate hardships in trying to find access to a computer. Currently, it is often hard to find a free computer during the day.
Laptops will increase students’ knowledge in the practical uses of technology.
“This requirement will help students succeed in classes and develop skills and familiarity with computers for when they graduate,” said Kathleen McCourt, senior vice president for academic affairs. This knowledge will help prepare students for the workplace.
Communication on campus will also increase through laptop usage. Laptops will facilitate communications between professors and students, therefore making it easier to get assignments, updates and work on class projects.
Faculty will be able to use computers in the classroom as a teaching tool, and may even be able use CD-ROM textbooks as a supplement for the course. While every class will not need to use laptops, the technology will be there should faculty choose to exercise the option.
Another benefit of this requirement will be the repairing of a laptop. If students purchase laptops through a university package and something goes wrong, all they will have to do is bring it to the help desk located in Tator Hall.
While repairs are being made, loaner computers will be given to students. All of their files can be downloaded to the loaner until the original laptop is returned, making it easy for students to stay on track. Students who buy computers on their own need to send them away when they are having problems. It is sometimes a couple of weeks before the computer is seen again, creating an inconvenience for students.
Over the past three years, technology has been increasing on campus. In the fall of 2001, approximately 4,000 students were registered for at least one class that used Blackboard, a course delivery software program. Almost 50 percent of the courses offered use Blackboard. Use of technology is anticipated to increase even more over the next year.
“Based on what we have seen, I think that technology will be at a level that will make laptop requirements make sense,” said William Clyde, professor of finance and dean of academic technology. Technology will be used enough within the next year, that if students did not use it they would be limited in classroom learning. “Our goal is for students to have working machines, along with smoothly running programs in the classroom,” said Clyde.