Monday, January 08, 2007

How to be a 'wired' campus

I just spotted this article from PCMagazine about the top 20 wired college campuses across the country. They only polled a few schools, but you can get an idea about what the computer people think is important.

Is it really important that students are given a laptop every 2 years? Does there need to be a computer lab in every building on campus? How wireless should a campus be?

I am not sure any of it is very important. It seems to me to often be,a distraction from the real purposes of education.


S.B. said...

I think it is important to have many accessible computer labs - which we do. They're an important resource for people who don't have their own computers or Internet connections at home. Anything above that is just a luxury.

Anonymous said...

The computer labs are essential, as things exist today. Student services have moved online. Without labs, we'd be worse off than just not having labs, we'd also lose access to services.

e-reserve and titanweb come to mind.

Wireless might not be the best use of time or money, but the cost to deploy it is actually fairly low and everyone is doing it. In a way it just wouldn't make sense not to put in wireless.

lammers said...

Winnie Bloggo wrote:
>>Does there need to be a computer lab in every building on campus? How wireless should a campus be?<<

Y'know, if you'd been here a century ago, you'd probably be arguing that we don't need electric lights in all the buildings, the windows are just fine. If you'd been here 50 years ago, you'd probably be arguing that we don't need a phone in every dorm room, that the row of booths over in the Union is sufficient.

And I thought *I* was a Luddite ...

Lake Winneblogo said...

Lammers is in a bad mood today!

I really want to know where we draw the line with technology and education. Does every new bit of technology actually improve learning on campus?

lammers said...

Winnie Bloggo wrote:

>>Lammers is in a bad mood today!<<

Au contraire, my alleged colleague! You've not seen me in a BAD mood!

>>I really want to know where we draw the line with technology and education.<<

Why would one want to "draw the line"? We draw a line to hold back things that are harmful. Technology, like any tool, is not harmful in and of itself. Only the uses to which it is put can potentially be harmful.

Fifteen years ago, at another institution, I heard administrators saying the exact same thing about e-mail for the staff and a website for the public. Is it really necessary? Do we really need it to do our job? It's just a toy. Etc.

Please identify what harmful things can come from a wireless campus. It has already been pointed out to you that the cost is negligible. Therefore, we do not need to anguish over long about whether it will "improve learning on campus." We simply need to make sure it will not cause problems.

What is it you fear? Is it simply a geezerly crankiness against "the latest thing"? I must confess, I'm not overly enamored of technology, but just because I have no interestr in it doesn't mean I feel a need to impede those who do.

fluff said...

Do students need computers?
Yes. How else would they look things up in google? And the library? There's a tremendous amount of information on line, especially by virtue of the computer being connected to the campus network (due to digital rights management efforts by the journals, repositories, etc that lease the information to the university in many cases.) I think that people not having access to online information would be an amazing impediment relative to the other students. On the other hand though they may spend all their time on facebook or myspace etc.

And they need to take notes on line, compose documents, run programs, write programs...

If you're wondering why there needs to be computer labs when everyone has a laptop try lugging one around all day. Those things are like lead and if you ever lose sight of one, someone will steal it.

Way back when I was a student in the 70's when people not only didn't use computers but didn't even have calculators, the university used to build many large libraries. There was little real reason for it. People rarely looked that those old leftover books.(All the good ones were stolen). The students just wanted to be around other students while they studied. They could've stayed home and read their books there. There was no good reason to have libraries. (And those books were really bad for a person's asthma!).