June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.62.1 - 14.62.11
A Model for the Planning, Marketing and Implementation of a Departmental Laptop Initiative Abstract
Students of today are immersed in the culture of mobile technology and the laptop has become a center of connectivity to their world around them, and its use a fundamental means of social and academic success. This wide-use of mobile technology among students has presented a favorable opportunity to employ a laptop program into the undergraduate curriculum.
Until recently, the notion of a mandatory laptop program has been limited due to the high price of hardware and software packages. Laptops have long been considered a preferred portable workstation solution, but the cost was prohibitive, especially to students. Due to advances in manufacturing, technology and competition among vendors the financial burden of purchasing and maintaining a laptop has dramatically decreased. Therefore, after years of discussion, the opportunity to implement a laptop program is now viable.
This paper will discuss the model used by the authors to create a laptop initiative for all undergraduate students in the Department of Design and Communication Technology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. This paper will focus upon the marketing plan and implementation of the first mandatory laptop endeavor of the School of Engineering Technology. Discussion will include the benefits and rewards of such a program to the institution and student, the planning and assessment of the initiative.
The Need for a Laptop Program: Background for Implementing Success
Organized laptop programs in higher education date as far back as 1988 when Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, began providing notebook computers (paid for from tuition) to all incoming freshmen. Now more than 50 post-secondary institutions worldwide require at least some of their students to use laptops1. In the case of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the need for a laptop program came from a perfect alignment of potential student technological growth, a dropping price point for the hardware, and a need to circumvent the previous model of school funded lab equipment which consistently fell behind industry in relevance and standard hardware requirements.
Several studies suggest educational benefits related to laptop use. Specific benefits noted include increased student motivation2, a shift toward more student-centered classroom environments3, and better school attendance than students not using laptops4. At IUPUI, or any institution of higher learning, one can point to an ongoing need for both student motivation and better attendance in the classroom. One serious effect of the outmoded technology in the labs was revealed when students voiced a concern for the quality of instruction via semester ending student evaluations that were highly critical of the lack of laboratory technology. Attendance and student utilization of these labs dropped considerably once it was discovered that the equipment could no longer keep pace with current software needs. For this particular graphics program, the state of technology in the computer labs was crucial for the success of the core curriculum. The
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