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WINTER 1999
Volume 42, Number 2

IN THIS ISSUE

Stretching the Dollars to Update Technology

'Dear Mom...'

What We Need

Sweating out the Tryouts

Changing Binge Drinking

Health Iowa

Students First Rx

Plenty of Choices

Squandered Opportunities

Parent Times Briefs

Calendar


     

Every family can sympathize. One person wants a new computer; another wants a color printer and software packages. The children yearn for HDTV, games, or surround sound.

The list of technological marvels available is always much larger than the family budget can absorb. And the moment you buy the latest wonder, it becomes out of date as it's surpassed by something much better. The cry goes up again: "I would really like the new (whatever)...."

Multiply that by the 28,000-plus people in The University of Iowa's student "family" and you can see the difficulties facing University budgets -- especially because technological knowledge relates directly to student academic performance and their chances of finding good first jobs upon graduation.

Faced with the problem of staying current without breaking the bank, University of Iowa colleges have come up with interesting solutions. Here are a few of the innovative ideas at work:


TODAY'S COMPUTERS FOR TOMORROW'S WORKERS

The College of Engineering, which depends on state-of-the-art technology to teach its students, decided several years ago to replace 25 percent of its hardware and software each year.

"This means that nothing a student uses is more than four years old," says Doug Eltoft, director of the Iowa Computer-Aided Engineering Network, or ICAEN. "The four-year cycle assures that students learn on systems that are identical to those they'll find when they go to work."

The ICAEN computing environment is integrated into classroom instruction. In engineering students' first year they are introduced to this environment and the professional software tools. First-year students have access to the same resources as faculty and graduate students and 24-hour access to educational resources such as course syllabi, homework assignments, and on-line reference materials. Professional support staff or trained student consultants are available seven days a week.

The college also has a computer classroom filled with up-to-date computing equipment given to the college by Hewlett-Packard.


LAPTOPS OR LABS FOR BUSINESS STUDENTS

The College of Business Administration has approached the challenge of offering students up-to-date technology by offering choices.

The college struck a deal with Dell Computing Corp. this year to allow students to buy laptop computers at considerable discounts. Students could buy for $2,154 a laptop computer worth $2,700 at retail.

Last year the college installed wireless electronic devices in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building. Students check a wireless network card out of the business administration library, insert it in their computers, and access University computer networks from anywhere in the building. This frees up computers in the business laboratory for other students' use.

The laptop purchase program was voluntary. Some business students have desktop computers in their rooms, while others use more than 100 computers in the college's computer laboratory or other labs on campus.


EDUCATION INSTALLS LAPTOP OUTLETS

Jones Commons, a room in the Lindquist Center that acts as a meeting place, study center, and student and faculty lounge, doesn't look particularly "high-tech" to a casual visitor, aside from a few computer terminals. But several inconspicuous outlets around the room enable individuals or groups to plug laptop computers into the University network.

Lindquist Center also has a large computer laboratory for education students. The laptop outlets expand the college's ability to provide technology for students.


LIBERAL ARTS UPDATES COMPUTER FACILITIES

From the outside, Schaeffer Hall, where many undergraduate liberal arts courses are held, shows that it is one of the oldest, most historic buildings on campus. From the inside, however, it is up to date.

Extensive renovations created new spaces for computerized classrooms and computer labs. Combined with other labs and classrooms in individual departments within Liberal Arts, the Schaeffer Hall facilities give students new access to the world outside the historic walls.


ONLINE AT IOWA

All the technology in the world is nothing if students don't know it's there, or don't understand how to operate it.

A new award-winning CD-ROM course called OnLine at Iowa seeks to introduce students to everything that is available to them on campus. It won the 1997 Microsoft award for the best computing program for students.

On the CD, Robert Boynton, professor of political science, uses an animated Cambus to "tour" the various technological facilities on campus, explaining what students can accomplish in each one.

-By Anne Tanner

 

With the swift changes in computer
technology, it's a challenge to keep
student computer laboratories
up to date.

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