On campus? Then you're most likely online
Schools embracing computer technologySeptember 10, 1998
Web posted at: 10:21 a.m. EDT (1421 GMT)
From Correspondent Marsha Walton
(CNN) -- With computers playing such a large role in today's society, some colleges and universities in the United States are working hard to keep pace with changing technology while giving their students footing for the future.
More and more students say computer access is crucial to getting a good education.
"If you need to type a report late at night, or if there are long lines for computers near finals, everyone rushes to them, so it's better to have your own computer," Eric Krivitsky, a University of Georgia freshman, told CNN. ( 94 K/8 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
A few hours away from UGA, Clemson University provides a "port for every pillow."
The public school in South Carolina strives to accommodate students who wish to bring their own computers to school.
Clemson also launched a campus computing network, which school officials call a virtual laptop.
The network gives students and faculty access to data and documents on central computers. But the network is configured to give each computer screen the look of a personal desktop.
"A student can walk into any one of the (computer) labs, (identify) themselves to the network ... and the network says, 'John Smith, I know you, I know what your computer looks like,' and builds that student's PC," explained Chris Duckenfield, vice provost at Clemson University. ( 196 K/17 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Teachers can create Web pages for their classes, and students can find assignments, updates, even grades online.
At Wake Forest University, a private school in neighboring North Carolina, incoming freshmen get an IBM laptop as part of their tuition. The students can trade them in for newer models in their junior year.
Wake Forest students say the approach is on education's cutting edge.
"It's the beginning of a national trend," said university official Jay Dominick. "Universities are trying to take hold of the computer revolution and use it for academic purposes rather than just cope without any strategic plan." ( 128 K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Wake Forest officials say the technology-friendly atmosphere attracts students to the university. Teachers and students communicate frequently through e-mail, and educators are encouraged not to rely on paper.
The reliance on technology sometimes leads to a role reversal among students and teachers.
Amanda Epstein, a music major, spent last year in a program that pairs computer savvy Wake Forest students with professors to help the teachers integrate technology into their classrooms.
Epstein taught music professor Pat Dixon how to add interactive elements to her home page.
Wake Forest's embrace of technology has not threatened its staff. The university has even added faculty to keep undergraduate classes small.
And for moms and dads who may still have doubts about the benefits of a plugged-in education, consider this: with e-mail, parents and college students are just a mouse click apart.
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