An email sent out by the IU School of Informatics Executive Associate Dean, Anthony Faiola, made the announcement that the School at IUPUI will be removing the computers from IT355 and IT 257 and making it mandatory for Informatics students to own their own laptops.
On the surface, this seems like a bad idea and would discriminate against students who cannot afford a laptop. If you are an Informatics or Media Arts & Sciences student however, you will need a computer at some point and it will probably be freshman year, at the latest. A modern, powerful computer simply is not an option in the fields that School of Informatics graduates are likely to enter post graduation. With laptop computers becoming as powerful as comparable desktops and battery life moving past six hours per charge, it would seem a natural choice to buy a computer that could be easily transported between home, work, school, and wherever else a New Media or Informatics undergraduate student would go.
As for the cost, this can be covered by financial aid. Again, this is still a worthy investment for any technology-related major to make. The financial aid is simply there to help cover some of the expense, just like with tuition.
The rationale stated for this change on the School of Informatics Laptop Initiative page is that this will allow the school to better maintain specialty, high-end equipment in a few Informatics computer classrooms. Whether there is some other explanation or reason for this change that has not been announced officially is the subject of speculation only. However, since the iMacs that will be removed were installed and purchased in 2008, it is possible that there are other reasons for this change.
It will be interesting to see how this program goes over. Students may also attend one of two open student forums scheduled on January 28th from 5:30-7 PM in the Faculty/Staff Lounge on the 1st floor of the IT building, and on January 29th from 2-3 PM in IT 252.