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Assessment Of The Student's Design And Problem Solving Experience Utilizing Notebook Computers And A Wireless Environment

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.221.1 - 6.221.8

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Stuart Steele

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Assessment of the Student’s Design & Problem Solving Experience Utilizing Notebook Computers and a Wireless Environment

Stuart Steele Polytechnic University Brooklyn, NY


The purpose of this paper is to discuss how students utilizing notebook computers and a wireless environment can improve their design experience in engineering and technology based courses including computer science and project courses. Issues affecting both notebook use and wireless operation will be presented. Teaching models will be explored in order to emphasize the problem solving and design experience. Both lecture and laboratory settings will be addressed. The impact of mobile computing with notebooks is reviewed from the viewpoint of team efforts and remote activity. Results from two courses in the Fall of 2000-2001 school year at Polytechnic University will be shown, where notebook computers are now required and many classrooms, labs and campus areas utilize wireless operation. Covered are freshman and upper level courses.

I. Introduction

Recently there has been a great interest and desire to make notebook (laptop) computers available for students at many universities. This is to provide a mobile type computing approach for better communication between faculty and staff and to improve the learning experience in the classroom. The advent of wireless technology and the recent 11 MHZ standard has allowed wireless technology to be added to the notebook computer for classroom and outside work. This is in addition to the present computer laboratories existing currently.

Polytechnic University has been upgrading its wired environment over the last few years and in 1999 the school was ranked number 75 in the "100 most wired" schools due to the extensive amount of new computing capability. In addition to a high speed wired environment the advent of mobile computing using notebook computers and wireless work areas and classrooms is changing the culture at the University. Effective September 2000 all entering freshman are required to obtain a notebook computer. This computer is supplied by the university and the student pays fees on a semester basis for its use, eventually owning the machine. This year the computer was an IBM ThinkPad T-series computer. This machine has a 700 Mhz clock, 128Mb of memory, a 12GB hard drive and a CD/DVD in addition to normal interfaces and a wireless card. The software is quite extensive and includes Labview, Common Space, MatLab, AutoCAD Lite and a full Microsoft Suite including development tools. In addition to these changes the total undergraduate program (all four years) at Polytechnic University has been revised as

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Steele, S. (2001, June), Assessment Of The Student's Design And Problem Solving Experience Utilizing Notebook Computers And A Wireless Environment Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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