IU School of Informatics forces laptop adoption

24 01 2010

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.

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2 responses

4 02 2010
imp

At the meeting, the dean stated unequivocally that this measure was being adopted in the face of giant university mandated budget cuts, which in turn have resulted from the state cuts to the university.

Laptops are easily double and often triple the cost of their desktop hardware analogs.

Everyone understands the plight of the department, and the university, but to say “oh, the students who can’t afford this can take out another student loan” (and likely, have to do it again in three years for the freshmen), is not really an ideal solution. And that is what we’re talking about, in terms of “financial aid” available. There has just recently been a scholarship advertised to get laptops vaio from sony. Unfortunately, it is a five student scholarship open to the whole university (both campuses, it seems), which IMO is unreasonably competitive

18 02 2010
MeCaudle

I have to agree with this. The only reason I was able to get my laptop now was because of financial aid and I won’t go into the fight I had to go through with my mom just convince her to let me do it.

This intuitive sounds a little forced to me considering that in the end it feels like a school that is supposed to teach new media/digital classes can’t even afford its own supplies which to me is laughable. They say they’re moving into the future with this but to me it just sounds like another way to make things inconvenient for the students. We already have to deal with tuition, books, horrible parking…can’t we get a break for once or better yet, couldn’t they have chosen a better time to do this when everyone isn’t struggling already?

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