Stay Connected: Bring your Laptop to the COB
Beginning Stages of Laptop Initiative for COB in Full Swing
By Jennifer Bossenbroek, Jill Greeno, Teresa Higgins, Alyssa Poehls, and Amber Zierl
Since the implementation of the laptop initiative for the College of Business in the fall of 2009, students are required to have a laptop regularly available for use in certain courses.
One goal of the laptop initiative was to alleviate congestion of the limited computer lab resources in Schneider Hall.
“We are constantly using more technology in our classes. Too many people needed the technology, and I couldn’t get them in the computer labs when I needed to,” said Dawna Drum, College of Business instructional technology coordinator.
Many courses that require computers daily, such as those in the Information Systems Department, can now hold class in a laptop compatible classroom, keeping the computer labs open for other courses and students. Professors teaching these courses enjoy the fact that they no longer have to plan when they need to be in a lab. The College of Business technology support interns have also found that they have more time to focus on other aspects of their jobs now that the laptop initiative is in place. Eric Bauman, a COB technology support intern, feels that the initiative has resolved some issues they have faced in the past with the laptop carts. These carts, containing 30 laptops, were wheeled to classrooms for student use when computer labs were unavailable. The COB technology support interns were responsible for delivering and maintaining the computers during the class hour.
“Getting rid of the laptop cart means us not having to push it around and only supporting those 30 laptops,” Bauman said.
The minimum laptop requirements will be updated each year to ensure that students’ laptops function properly throughout their undergraduate college career. Drum encourages everyone to take a look at the specific laptop requirements online at http://www.uwec.edu/COB/undergraduate/laptop.htm.
Some students have voiced their concerns that these requirements will pose additional expenses when purchasing a laptop. One student stated, “My overall feeling is that it [the laptop initiative] is another way that less economically privileged students will struggle with college expenses.”
The College of Business has considered these possible extra expenses for students and has worked to provide discount laptop packages through a number of vendors. Scholarships dedicated to providing funds for laptops are also available through the COB. Additional financial help may be obtained through the Financial Aid Office.
The implementation of the laptop initiative has not been without its challenges. The wireless network within the College of Business needed to be upgraded in order to support the increased number of users. Also, many students who had previously purchased laptops needed to upgrade their computers and software to ready their computers for specific courses. Drum is very supportive and willing to help students find ways to purchase discount software. Student volunteers have also been available for assistance in the Schneider Hall lobby during both fall and spring semesters of the 2009-10 school year. These volunteers can help students install software, map computers to the H: and W: drives, connect to the wireless network, and perform basic troubleshooting. Though these issues are very basic, trying to help large volumes of students prepare their computers at the beginning of each semester has kept workers very busy
“We are always learning. I think it is going well,” said Drum. This reflects the ultimate goal of the College of Business laptop initiative, which is to alleviate constraints and improve students’ ability to be responsible for technology. The initiative is still young and continuing to grow, and the College of Business will continue to monitor the progress of the laptop initiative.
For the list of courses requiring laptops, visit www.uwec.edu/COB/undergraduate/laptop_courses.htm, or you may contact Dawna Drum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From left to right: Jennifer Bossenbroek is a junior marketing major from Fond du Lac, WI;
Jill Greeno is a junior human resource management major from Sparta, WI;
Teresa Higgins is a senior marketing analytics major from New Prague, MN;
Alyssa Poehls is a senior business administration major from Cadott, WI; and
Amber Zierl is a senior accounting major from Arkansaw, WI.
They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.