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Laptops Required for Freshmen

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the seems-like-a-good-idea-to-me dept.


An anonymous reader writes "Indiana State University will become the first public university in the state to require all students to have notebook computers, beginning with incoming freshmen in fall 2007. Guess which laptop is the preferred one..." I started bringing laptops to class around my Junior year. I'm unconvinced that they helped me with my grades.

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that's super... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826716)

Great. Now more people can watch anime during class.


Right O (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826723)

Frist Proste :)

First Post (0, Redundant)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826725)

Maybe if you used the laptop instead of just bringing it to class :-p

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826779)

I agree - all this push for "technology" in the classroom is bullshit, especially when people talk about K-12.

Even in college it is mostly pointless - very few classes require a whole lot of note taking, and if they require so much note taking, then you're hardly likely to learn anything, and it would be better to switch class.

Also - laptops can be very annoying if you are typing loudly.

Re:First Post (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826892)

I don't believe the schools are wanting the students to have laptops so much for the task of taking notes, but so that the schools cand distribute class materials electronically rather than on paper. Your books, "handouts" and assignments will be in electronic formats.

Re:First Post (1)

corngrower (738661) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826922)

I'm sure many of those freshmen will be resting their heads on those think pads during first hour calculus.

lol shit on me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826726)



helps mobile users automatically? (-1, Flamebait)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826729)

ThinkPads help simplify the network connectivity process through ThinkVantage Access Connections 4.1, which helps mobile users set up and automatically switch from one available network connection to the next.

That's very nice that your Stinkpads need help to do that. My Powerbook does automatically it without any help.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826799)

My Powerbook does automatically it without any help

Does spell it check automatically also?

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

illtron (722358) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826800)

Gotta agree. There's still WAY too much voodoo involved with switching from networks and even just changing any network settings on a PC. These things weren't bad under OS 9 (When Windows still needed a restart for basic stuff like this), but I can't see it getting much better than how OS X and my Macs do it. I've never had to find a fucking driver or figure out which card I was trying to use.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826867)

Interesting. My powerbook won't remember my home network connection details after I connect it to a diffent secure network. My dell has no problems at all...

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826982)

Check the box marked "Remember this password etc. in the keychain" when you log on.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

brufleth (534234) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826965)

"I've never had to find a fucking driver or figure out which card I was trying to use." Under a few different windows OS: neither have I. I don't know what voodoo you are referencing. Could you please give examples? Thank You.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826825)

Your powerbook doesn't require any software (help) to use a wireless network? What magical box is this?

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826837)

Thinkpads have been my favourite laptops for the past 5 years. They are rock solid, easy to maintain and have all the fun tools you need to stay connected. Plus the titanium inner chasis makes them solid without any of the creaking or flex I find on ALL other laptops, including my ibooks. 5 hour battery time and the best keyboard around makes them perfect. Nice try fanboy, but you ain't teh shit.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826887)

Yes, but they look like plastic dipped concrete slabs. Hell, even Dull have dropped their chunky black plastic-fantastic range and offer something a little more visually appealing than a spray painted brick.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826981)

I don't know about you but I'll take functionality over aesthetics any day. Anyway, I quite *like* the simple black brick look, but I think that's just me :)

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826853)

That's very nice that your Stinkpads need help to do that. My Powerbook does automatically it without any help.

Jesus, talk about smug. That's great if you, as a college freshman, could afford an overpriced Apple. Maybe you should have some pity on us poor, working class people. Hell, I've been out of school for 10 years, and I still can't afford an Apple.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826930)

Because you think Thinkpads are cheap? What world do you live in?

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (2, Insightful)

brufleth (534234) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826896)

Err, yes PowerBooks switch networks automatically just like the Thinkpad does. You still have to enter the network keys and any other required information to set things up. After that the prefered network gets used. I've configured wireless networking on both of the systems in question. There really isn't anything magical or special about either. Thus I have to label your statement as pointless Mac Fanboy Babble.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

GenKreton (884088) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826921)

"That's very nice that your Stinkpads need help to do that. My Powerbook does automatically it without any help."

Wander by my dorm room sometime. Park outside and use my connection for a few minutes and I can really show you why that's a bad idea :D

A computer should never ever ever ever ever ever connect to a network without the users authorization. In a wired network that authorization is often just plugging the cable in. In a wireless network there has to be some level of user authorization at the OS or you will eventually have your computer broken into, data sniffed out, and any other countless possibilities.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

DarkVader (121278) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826999)

Mac OS X asks your permission before it joins an unsecure network.

Re:helps mobile users automatically? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826977)

That's very nice that your Stinkpads need help to do that.

Your rhetorical expertise stuns me. Your ability to argue a rational case without resorting to childish insults is truly exemplary.

My Powerbook does automatically it without any help.

Whoa, you mean it magically works out which of the several wireless networks in range is the one you want to connect to, and telepathically plucks any passwords or keys you need from the administrator's brain?! I knew Apple hardware had supernatural capabilities, but this is incredible!

By the way, if your laptop is automatically connecting to any network it finds without asking, you could accidentally be committing computer trespass and theft of service. You need to make sure you aren't using people's internet connections without permission. I suggest you check up on that.

I woudnt mind one (1)

coolCoder (954135) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826730)

If I can google during a test :)

Wow. What's next (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826732)

This must be stopped now. If this continues, then they may start telling students where to live, or what books to buy.

Re:Wow. What's next (0)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826755)

Or, god forbid, what to eat

Re:Wow. What's next (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826764)

Just think what will happen when they start telling the freshmen what classes they have to take! The horror!

Re:Wow. What's next (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826803)

This must be stopped now. If this continues, then they may start telling students where to live, or what books to buy.

On the bright side, students will most likley pay less for their laptop than they will for their books.

FileTrading 101 (1)

robpoe (578975) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826735)

So they can share music, movies, pr0n, all wirelessly?

Or so they can sit in class and play online games while the prof is droning on and on?

Why is this necessary?

Re:FileTrading 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826966)

I think the point is not to necessarily take it to class, but rather that each student will have access to a computer that can be used for assignments, and be taken anywhere on campus to do work.

A university here in Canada has tried the same thing with some success starting in 1996. They wired the entire campus, and gave the students the tools to make the most of it. Here is a link for info. []

Macs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826740)

What if I want a Mac? Do they require you have a ThinkPad? Do they pay for it? Seems retarded. I've always seen ThinkPads as...junk.

New thing? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826743)

I'm not quite sure why this article is a big deal? As far as I know a number of schools have been requiring laptops for years. I know UNC-Chapel Hill has for maybe 5 years now (while its neighbor Duke gives incoming freshman ipods)


Re:New thing? (0)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826784)

well as long as the boys keep them on their desks and not their laps. I know there called laptops but..."whats that burning smell...smells like burnt nuts!"

Re:New thing? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826810)

Yeah "gives" away "free" iPods. Nevermind that those iPods are paid for many, many times over by the student's fees and tuition. :-)

Re:New thing? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826929)

Do they require it for the whole university or just for certain colleges or programs within the university?

Re:New thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826938)

This trend is disturbing - I cannot imagine a single subject matter that could require a laptop for any reason; people can manage with a notebook, a pencil and an eraser.

Just about any information that the teacher needs to convey during the lesson can be done via his/her laptop and a projector. If the students really need to utilize a computer, then there should be a room full of [cheap] desktops where classes can take place as required, and shared by multiple sections.

However, I prefer to do any require computer-work as "homework", since, from experience, whenever computers are present in the classroom, the whole hours goes to waste.

Why guess? (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826745)

You're required to have a thunkpad.

Breaking News (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826749)

And in breaking news, laptop computer theft suddenly surpasses bicycle theft at the university. Details at eleven.

Thinkpad... pffft (1, Interesting)

illtron (722358) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826751)

I won't deny that Thinkpads are nice PC laptops, but it sounds like they're really pushing them on the students. They shouldn't give just one recommendation. They should be offering a set of basic system requirements that student laptops should meet or exceed in order to get them through four or five years of college, and give Mac, Linux and Windows recommendations, along with other software they should have. Something like this can only be attributed to the fact that IU must have gotten a sweetheart deal from Lenovo to push their stuff on the students.

Or maybe... (1)

blorg (726186) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826788)

...they want to standardise the hardware/software configuration so they can support it?

Re:Or maybe... (1)

illtron (722358) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826829)

Big fucking deal. They're the students' laptops, and I don't really see why it's the school's responsibility to support the students' computes. Besides, if their techs can't get a printer or a wireless network running on OS X then maybe they should seek employment elsewhere.

Re:Or maybe... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826952)

They're the students' laptops, and I don't really see why it's the school's responsibility to support the students' computes.

If the university is requiring them, then it IS their job to support them. Also, I know that at least at my school (UNC-CH), we supported everything that students or faculty had (within reason). If all of a sudden we had to start supporting a lot of Linux boxes, we just couldn't do it (with the manpower and budget). Apple was a stretch, but we had a few Apple people that could tackle those, and luckily there weren't too many students with those (public school with lots of students who could barely afford a PC, never mind an Apple).

Re:Thinkpad... pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826873)

Not IU (Indiana University), ISU (Indiana State University.

Re:Thinkpad... pffft (2, Insightful)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826915)

My guess is that there's probably a deal in there somewhere (as you mentioned, Lenovo) that takes advantage of the ignorance of parents who are basically footing the bill anyhow. I imagine that either mom or dad will say, "The school recommends a ThinkPad, and that's what were getting you. I don't want my little Nancy/Johnny to be behind any of the other students because we got them a computer that might not work. What's that honey? You say you like your Powerbook better? Nonsense, this new computer will work MUCH better, it says so right here in the information."

Or perhaps you have a student who doesn't currently have a laptop. What are they thinking? "Dude, yeah I'm getting a laptop. What kind? Hell if I know. All I know is that I've gotta have it for class, and the folks are payin' for it. I'm totally going to download porn while I'm in class. Yeah, sweet huh! High-Five, dude!"

Helpdesk (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826923)

Recommendations and requirements are there to make the university IT department's life easier. They can at least have disk images handy for Windows maintenance tasks--you know, format and reinstalls!--and not worry too much about breaking things.

Frankly, I'm disappointed. Wake me up when a university begins to require that all students at least dual-boot into a standard university Linux or BSD distribution, and that they be using the "preferred" OS when connected to the university network. That'll take a bite out of the malware drones, for sure.

About thinkpads (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826752)

Thinkpads may be more expensive than your run of the mill Best Buy laptop but you're paying for quality. The school has probably tested several manufacturers and found that thinkpads will cause the least support headache. Sadly, trends in laptops seem to favor cheap over durable.

Re:About thinkpads (1)

jinxidoru (743428) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826841)

No, actually they probably received some special deals from IBM to make ThinkPad the official laptop. That's good business for IBM. Also, am I the only person that wishes the ThinkPad would update its design. I can't stand how IBM laptops look. I'm quite sure the design has not changed since the early 90's.

Re:About thinkpads (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826927)

IBM doesn't make ThinkPads anymore. Lenovo does. When you think ThinkPad, think Lenovo. Hmm... That sounds pretty catchy. Too bad I can't trademark that :)

Re:About thinkpads (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826956)

thinkpads are now made by Lenovo... and no, I wouldn't change a thing about them. I've worked with several different brands of notebooks and the only one I'd actually pay money for is a ThinkPad.

Re:About thinkpads (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826842)

quality that is not made by IBM... lenovo sent me an invite to a thinkpad university symposium at a nearby college (i work in another college). YOU HAVE TO PAY TO LISTEN TO THEM TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT LENOVO AND THINKPADS ARE! what's up with that? shouldn't lenovo be footing the bill for the event since it's just a marketing event? that's great that the college is going to talk about their laptop program, but it's lenovo inviting people to attend. i think that's the worst PR move they could possibly make.

for this reason alone, i will not buy a thinkpad.

Preferred Laptops - so what? (1)

MankyD (567984) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826754)

Guess which laptop is the preferred one..
They've used Thinkpads at RPI [] for some time and they are great machines. The school, however, does not require you to keep the default OS/software package. You simply find yourself in trouble when your assignment requires MatLab and you don't have it installed anymore - though generally you can just borrow a friend's.

There is nothing wrong with suggesting a laptop with a good support track record, lots of academic/scientific software available, and and wide user base. As long as they don't punish people for reconfiguring their machines (which I highly doubt they will.)

Re:Preferred Laptops - so what? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826811)

My school used a super secret 40-bit WEP key, that they would take your laptop and enter themselves.

Yeah, I had linux on my laptop and I didn't give the techy a root account to play with.

That was fun.

A bit of social engineering later (and a strong reminder that student tech fees pay his salary) and I ended up with the WEP key which at the time was something like b4d45552 or something like that (something like bigbadboss or whatever).

I seriously hate admins of schools they're the most useless technologically inept people ever. Which was funny given the program I was in was for techies (e.g. software/hardware developers).


Re:Preferred Laptops - so what? (1)

Zeveck (821824) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826891)

In my time at RPI I knew many, many students who had constant problems with their Thinkpads, the RPI help desk, and with the IBM repair shop. It seemed that some years the Thinkpad was pretty good, and that other years it was replete with problems.

two words "vendor lockin" (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826757)

It'll be another "let's use all proprietary windows intel only tools" scam.

I only got my laptop in the second half of my program and frankly aside from giving me something to do during class (e.g. read slashdot) it didn't help. I did most of my lab work at home and very little on the laptop at school.

Now if this uni went the way of OSS and used proper open source networking resources then I may be in favour of it...

But knowing most unis they're just a money pit so who do you think they'll align with.


Thinkpad's are a good choice (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826758)

Although the article reads like one big advertisment, I've always liked the thinkpads. I bought mine while the line was still under IBM. Does anyone have experience with Levano??

Re:Thinkpad's are a good choice (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826934)

I purchased a T-43 recently from Lenovo. I found the sales guy I worked with fantastic. I started out on their web-site, but had questions. So I used their 'in-web-site-chat' thingy to contact them about questions. After a bit the guy offered to call me to further resolve my issues. No pressure, no upselling, nothing. He even spoke perfect English (no accent at all, probably American from what I could tell).

Laptop was shipped in a timely fashion and other than being caught up in 'customs' for a bit longer than it should have arrived in good condition.

Distractions (1)

maddvibe (70786) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826759)

I did not have a laptop for the first 3 years of college and did very well. Once I did get one, I because very distracted! Free wireless in class was just too tempting to get on IRC,AIM, or whatever and chat it up with friends. I probably would have got more out of those classes had I not had a laptop. :)

Re:Distractions (1)

swb (14022) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826862)

Us old farts never had laptops and frankly I wouldn't want one. Laptops invite too many distractions and even if you focus 100% on note taking, there's often too much of a temptation to get involved in spellchecking or formatting.

A good friend of mine is a college professor and he is forbidden from banning them from class (he did so as long as possible until the department head said he no longer could). In his experience, the kids with laptops instead of paper notebooks and pens generally get worse grades and are less engaged in class (he picks them specifically when asking questions of the class, and easily spots those who aren't paying attention). When asking for voluntary responses from the class, he generally choses paper note takers since they tend to be more engaged in the class and provide more interesting commentary.

Another benefit of paper notebooks is they don't break (physically or software-wise) and I could keep an entire year's in my bag for less weight than a laptop.

Guess which laptop is the preferred one...? (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826763)

Thinkpad. Not a bad choice for a Windows/Linux laptop.

Once Windows emulation is working well, though, I think a MacBook (Pro or not) would be a better choice. Fewer security issues, better GUI and applications, and it runs more software. Apple is sure looking good these days... :-)

MacBooks might even be less expensive!

Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826766)

I know someone is going to bring up the topic of laptops being easy to steal and stuff, but at my school [] , all students are required to register their MAC address before they are able to connect to the network. Your MAC address is then assigned to a hostname based on your user ID (example:, so it is relatively easy to track down stolen laptops.

iPods and cameras, on the other hand, are a different story.

Re:Theft (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826863)

Any decent laptop thief would turn wireless off until they got off campus with it...

Astounding (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826767)

Through Access Connections, students and faculty will be able to seamlessly move from classes to dorm rooms

Through the ancient and hallowed technology known as 'feet', students and faculty will be able to seamlessly move from classes to dorm rooms


Laptops Definetly Contribute To Worse Grades! (1)

kungfuSiR (753429) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826773)

I currently attend University and in every single lecture I attend there are at least 30 people with laptops. Those 30 people spend most of their lecture on MSN, checking their email, or playing games instead of actually paying attention. Although not every single one of them does this, you can definetly see a pattern that those with laptops/wifi access are more likely to goof off during lectures. What's really that wrong with paper and pen anyway? If it ain't broke don't fix it

Why a Laptop? (1)

ckotchey (184135) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826774)

Ok, I guess I'm finally getting into the "old-fogie" age of 37, and it's pointless to get into the whole "I graduated from college with a Computer Science degree, and I never even owned a PC!" argument, but I at least have to wonder what's the big deal with having a laptop?
Surely I, even in my old age, can understand the need for a computer of some kind at home or in the dorm to do whatever needs to be done during the course of a semester, but for what reason would I want or need to lug a laptop around campus all day? And if I don't have to be portable, then why would I need a laptop? Why is a desktop unacceptable?

Educate this old dog!

Re:Why a Laptop? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826925)

The reason is so that you can bring in the laptop to class. Being an old fogie, you may have a lunchbox computer lying around that you could use instead but I think a desktop would be a bit unwieldy. Personally, I didn't see computers being used any better than a chalkboard could be in the college classes I took. They were usually used so that the prof could be lazy and just present a slideshow instead of actually lecturing. I guess it's better than the lazy profs who just showed notes on an overhead.

Laptops needed tools? (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826777)

I think Laptops could really help students be productive- they could check email, work on projects and post on Slashdot during what would otherwise be wasted class time.

Wha? (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826780)

This is ridiculous! Do they really expect people to not play quake or read /. during class. Also, expect lessons to be punctutated with that annoying 'DING!' alert box noise every few minutes. I just don't understand; they ban cellphones because they're disruptive, but now -require- laptops... wtf?

I'm not convinced (1)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826783)

I've never owned a notebook, but at the beginning of my first year of college I bought a Dell Axim + foldable keyboard to take notes on in class. Unfortunately, though, I just ended up loading it up with emulators and playing Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda through entire lectures. I can't imagine that it would be any different for any other college student, though I don't have a large enough sample size to be sure (at the college that I go to, most people still use paper and pencils.)

Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Re:I'm not convinced (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826865)

No, I've had a very different experience. Here at UNC-Chapel Hill, incoming freshmen have been required to buy or own laptops for six years. I work in the Undergraduate Library and I took a class recently (great perk) and I was the *only* student (out of 60) in the class taking notes with pen and paper. Many also had iPods with microphones and were recording the lecture.

Wrong decesion, made by the wrong people (1)

massivefoot (922746) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826787)

Will the university be paying for these laptops if students aren't able to afford them?

Also, the decision that all students require laptops is baffling. I'm a maths with physics undergraduate and I manage perfectly well with a desktop, and to be honest, I don't think it would affect my work much if I had to do without it.

Will They be required to bring it with them? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826790)

Will they be required to bring it with them to class? Will it have to have WiFi and a P4/G5 processor. Will it have to run windows? What happens when it gets stolen? Do you get kicked out until you buy a new one?

free publicity (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826791)

Anyone else think the whole article read as little more than a free advertisment for Lenovo & Thinkpads?

well... (1)

brickballs (839527) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826794)

its not so much that the laptops help with learning.. they just tend to make class more fun.

Frost Prose (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826795)

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain. Half the world is composed of those who have something to say but can't; the other half is of those who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. Do not follow where the path may lead... Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

the good and the bad (1)

SlickCow (196542) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826796)

In general this seems like a bad idea. Laptops in class are usually distracting to both students who are and aren't using them. I hate hearing clicking all around me while in class and I usually see people on AIM or reading slashdot instead of listening to the lecture.

But yesterday I saw something that made me feel a little better about laptops in classes. I was in a class on distributed programming and sitting next to a guy with a laptop. The professor mentioned something about how a protocol with 64 bit something was good for 2^32 uses before it reused numbers with some peer. The guy next to me raised his hand and asked why 2^32, and the professor mentioned the birthday paradox [] . As class proceeded, the guy looked up the birthday paradox on google. Of course, this made him miss the next part of the lecture...

Fuck DELL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826797)

and I haven't even read the article.

Re:Fuck DELL (1)

Corbets (169101) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826882)

Then reading the article might be good advice, given that it's Lenovo they've chosen, not Dell.

Remember its just a tool... (4, Insightful)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826802)

Requiring a laptop will not help a student get better grades. Far too often people don't realize that a computer is just a tool which enables you to do something else more efficient. It is not the end all solution to every problem. Unless the computer is needed in the class or you suck at hand-writing notes there is no need for it (and no, IM the cute girl one row over doesn't count as a need). I've had quite a few college classes and I am willing to say less than 5% need a laptop as a course requirement. This seems more like the school is saying we are on the cutting edge because every student uses a laptop. Big whip, show me where this is definately improving grades, quality of work or anything else.

a degree (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826806)

Now you can get a degree in Solitare!

It might be useful if all of your class books were available in a searchable format. And it would be good if you could get access to the notes given in class, as some teachers write too fast, and immediately erase after writing.

Education (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826807)

An anonymous reader writes "Indiana State University will become the first public university in the state to require all students to have notebook computers, beginning with incoming freshmen in fall 2007. Guess which laptop is the preferred one..." I started bringing laptops to class around my Junior year. I'm unconvinced that they helped me with my grades.

Bring/take, PowerBook/Chinese rebranded ThinkPad, notebook/laptop

Its all the same.

BTW, don't a number of universities require notebooks already? I know my local state funded one does.

preferrred? mac of course !! (1)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826813)

no need to worry about viruses, adware, spyware, malware...

as user-friendly as Windows, as secure as BSD Unix.

Re:preferrred? mac of course !! (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826973)

But then they would have had to change the school's nick from ISU to iState....

Bad move? (1)

mctk (840035) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826816)

I had my own computer at college. It totally helped me with my education. I learned all about Gordon Freeman, Tony Hawk, and p2p file-sharing...

Big Deal (1)

Ken Hall (40554) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826851)

My son goes to Centennary College in NJ, and they hand out laptops to all incoming students before the first day of class. He happened to get a Thinkpad, but his friend got an HP. The whole place is wired/unwired. Don't know if it helps their learning, but it does seem to make it easier to swap email and do reports in a consistent (M$) manner.

Please stop distracting me ... (0)

murdie (197627) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826852)

... I'm trying to listen to the lecturer.

Centered (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826858)

The widespread use of laptop technology will leverage the power of mobile computing to provide campuswide access through the university's extensive wireless network, said Susan Powers, professor of curriculum, instruction and media technology and chairwoman of ISU's notebook implementation committee.

"The notebook initiative gives us an opportunity to use technology to support learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered and community-centered learning environments. It is a window of opportunity for true innovation. Lenovo ThinkPad will be an excellent partner in our strategies to expand the learning environment of ISU," Powers said.

Is it just me, or does this quote sound like it was generated by this [] ?

Laptops don't help in lectures, but... (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826860)

Laptops don't help in lectures. I've not seen one professor who has ever asked me to bring one to a lecture, and hearing the tap-tap-tap of someone not even looking up from their screen must be distracting. People with laptops, even with best intentions, have their attention split two ways, and it doesn't work. If you want to absorb what you're being told in lectures, pen and paper, or better, pre-printed lecture notes and annotating them helps you stay focused on the lecturer.

What the uni really wants is for students without computers to not have an excuse to dodge certain things. Most universities force you to check your email and so forth, and I know a lot of departments (even classical ones such as History) that will only accept typed essays. Campus IT provisions usually vary quite widely, in both their scale and availability. Students without computers are definitely disadvantaged, if my campus computer suite shuts at 9PM, I'm going to be SOL.

The laptop is just because it's easier to fit into dorms, and lug from home to uni and back again. I know my uni has been recommending laptops over desktops for years, soley for the ease of transport aspect.

Laptops In School (1)

Zeveck (821824) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826868)

Requiring laptops could be seen as a necessary step to create a consistent learning environment. When you have a school such that many or most of the students have and would rather be doing work on their own computers it can be difficult to create a class structure that is balanced. On one hand, if you just require students to do the work using software only available on campus computers then those many students with their own hardware have to come to their work on campus ANYWAYS or else have to purchase the software. On the other, if students are permitted to use laptops in class and the professor has done things to support this such as making class notes available online then those without laptops are at a distinct disadvantage.

But the software can often be much too expensive. Some universities solve this by participating in the MSDN Academic Alliance, but of course that only helps with Microsoft software, and does not include Office.

Another way to go is to require everybody get all the software so that the school can a volume discount and the cost can be spread across the student body. But to require students to get the software you need to require that they have a computer it can run on. If you're going to require computers anyways it is tempting to require laptops because of their versatility. And yes, universities requiring a particular brand smacks of inside interests, but it has the legitimate benefit of giving professors and TAs a relatively consistent base to work with and makes it more likely they'll be able to trouble-shoot problems.

All that said - I did not particularly like what requiring laptops did to my undergraduate university. It stripped away a lot of the feeling of community students got from working in campus labs, and basically pushed the campus from a Unix campus to a Windows campus. In the time I was there I watched the Computer Science program go from training computer scientists to training Microsoft Drones. It also is not clear to me that having a laptop did anything particularly useful in contributing to my education that a desktop wouldn't have.

Hard Disk vs. Paper (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826875)

The notebook initiative gives us an opportunity to use technology to support learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered and community-centered learning environments. It is a window of opportunity for true innovation.

---The above statement really doesn't tell us anything IMHO.

The problem is that there is a potential to suddenly lose all of your work on a laptop, whereas if you had written it all down, you would still have instant access to it on paper.
I never had a laptop in college and just wrote everything down. Not only did it help me learn to listen to the instructor, but it also helped me to take better notes overall.
Laptops provide too many other features (IM, internet, email, games, etc.) that could potentially be very distracting to the average student.

That being said, the Lenovo was a good choice for the model.

shi7? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826881)

they're gone Mac Real p8oblems that

And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826889)

IBM execs have recently moved to lighting their Stogey's with thousand dollar bills instead of the common hundred ordinarily used.

ISU is NOT first. (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826899)

Northern Michigan University has been requiring laptops since 2000 and there are other universities that have required them before that.

I'll admit that the laptops at NMU are leased and students must lease a laptop as opposed to having their own, but the way in which the OP is written, it is misleading.

Sorry, fuck Enova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14826902)

and I haven't even read the article! I guess I was to quick to judge DELL's involvement in this conspiracy to corrupt our youth.

it's not about your grades (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826907)

I started bringing laptops to class around my Junior year. I'm unconvinced that they helped me with my grades.

Laptops aren't supposed to "help you with your grades". Taking a hard math class isn't going to "help you with your grades" either. The purpose of university is that you learn things. Not even useful or practical things in general, but the kinds of things that you need in order to be a scholar. Computer use is in that category. And, incidentally, it happens to be even useful and practical.

Why? (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826928)

According to this study (Google html [] ), students who use laptops change their study habits:
  • Student outcomes include:
    • Laptop students spend more time engaging in collaborative work than non-laptop students
    • Laptop students participate in more project-based instruction
    • Laptops lead to more student writing and to writing of higher quality
    • Laptops increase access to information and improve research analysis skills
    • Laptop students become collaborators (interact with each other about their work)
    • Laptop students direct their own learning
    • Laptop students report a greater reliance on active learning strategies
    • Laptop students readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking
    • Laptop students consistently show deeper and more flexible uses of technology
    • Laptop students spend more time doing homework on computers

Some of that is ok, and some of it I'd say is actually negative, but none of it strikes me as justification for demanding that all students have laptops. What is their real motivation for requiring laptops?

I think it's a lot of herd behavior. Everybody's going digital, so it must be good.

Or perhaps I'm a luddite and just don't know it.

Maybe the reason... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826931)

Maybe the reason for ThinkPads (am I the only one who dislikes CamelCase?) is that they typically don't have the mid- to high-end graphics cards needed to play modern games?

If it'll run Mathematica it'll run Solitaire, a SNES emulator, etc., just fine -- but if all of a sudden you have a bunch of students with Radeon X700's in class, expect to see ssid's named "AdHocForUT2004DuringPHYS101" in lecture halls.

More Barriers to entry for the poor? (1)

deeLo57 (641046) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826935)

Back in the day of 486's my school wanted me to pay $80 for an "Approved" NIC to connect to the school's network.

I couldn't afford it, I went dumpster diving, found an external Hayes 28.8
after 30 minutes of using a little war dialing program
I found a connection to the network
I learned more about computers and networking that year just out of pure curiosity and a desire to NOT
pay the $80....

now they've jacked up the price to an entire laptop...
why do universities put up more barriers to entry for those whom don't have mommy and daddy's checkbook?

Major hurdles (1)

netdemonboberb (314045) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826944)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has required laptops since 1999, and schools who are looking to follow suit should follow the lessons learned from RPI and other schools who already have long-standing laptop requirements. Some things to keep in mind:
1) Even if lab classes are notebook-only, the school will need a few desktop systems in the lab for students who are having problems with their laptops.
2) Software licensing was a huge issue at RPI, with much of the engineering department, for instance, was paying for programs they didn't use because they were for other majors. Make sure that licensing is done at the lowest level possible. Also, having the students using open source programs like Openoffice for document types as a convention could eventually ween the school off expensive licensing programs.
3) Replacement programs... I was forced to get my second lappy off Ebay b/c we didn't have a very good replacement program. It should be expected that each student will be going through at last 1 laptop upgrade while they are at school.
4) Hardware packages... We all had the same 1-size-fits-all choice, so when I got my first lappy, I had to upgrade my ram and hard drive within a year. I recommend offering two packages, one the basic for most students, and a better hardware package for the students who want/need more.

Notebooks more a practical concern (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#14826961)

I can see an arguement from a practical standpoint for requiring notebooks, but this is not the angle taken most places. Given that most courses and communications are at least partly online, without ready access to a computer you're placed at a disadvantage, nevermind the ability to network with peers.

From an educational angle - at least in engineering - I'm not sure about the value. Engineering basics haven't changed in 100 years, and the advanced topics usually require specialty lab hardware, software, or some combination thereof.

One thing I wished was available was all my textbooks in PDF format, not some DRM crippleware crap. Lugging around a lot of books is NOT fun. My solution to this was to scan relevant chapters and take them with me in an image format for the road. This isn't going to happen until the basic textbooks are open.. I'm not sure why you need a new edition of a intro calc text every few years. Other, than of course the obvious.

The other, more nefarious side of me wonders if these notebooks are actually new, or are off-lease returns from corporations.

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