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Education Technology

The Changing Face Of Campus Tech 346

SeaDour writes "CNET News has an interesting perspective on the changing face of technology on campus. These days, students are showing more interest in the tech perks that campuses have to offer, and universities are taking notice. Duke University, for example, just gave away free iPods to each of their 1,650 incoming freshman. Penn State offers subsidized access to Napster 2.0 for all students, and many other schools are now considering similar programs with Rhapsody and Cdigix. Perhaps the best offering is wireless internet access, which 90% of campuses now offer in some form. Are we seeing the day when college students make their school of choice not based solely on academics or athletics, but also on tech freebies like these?"
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The Changing Face Of Campus Tech

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  • Freebies ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:23PM (#10173436)

    thousands of dollars a year in school fees is not really "free"
    its about as free as in "buy 1 get 1 free"
    you are paying for it, maybe you should ask questions like
    "why are my school tuition fees being spent on frivilous sundries benefiting 3rd party companies instead of improving my schools educational resources"
  • by Izago909 ( 637084 ) * <tauisgod AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:24PM (#10173440)
    Are we seeing the day when college students make their school of choice not based solely on academics or athletics, but also on tech freebies like these?

    "Freebies" my ass. Do you have any idea what tuition is up to these days? Anyone who thinks that either the students or taxpayers didn't pay for that nifty Napster service or shiny iPod's must not have majored in Econ. The iPod's I don't much care about; at least Apple has a record of being kind to educational institutions and new uses will be devised. To hell with the industry lapdog known as Napster; the only reason the schools purchase it for their students is to get a reprieve from the flood of lawsuits. I guarantee, even if the p2p traffic from the campus doubles, we won't see any new lawsuits.
  • How are they free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:25PM (#10173448) Journal
    How are they free? They cost money and all that will happen is that tuition will go up to cover it. That is why tuition is going up at 7% - 10% per year.
  • Freebies? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Demogoblin ( 249774 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:26PM (#10173450)
    I dont really consider wireless acess a freebie, as that is part of the school's network.

    Even most schools that have these Napster like services make the students pay for music. I wouldn't exactly call that free.

    Good schools will still attract students based on academic reputation, not on freebies.
  • Scholarships? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AtariEric ( 571910 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:26PM (#10173453)
    Wouldn't that money be better off putting up scholarships for peeple who can't afford college? Or are these "freeebies" just a start of the new College Marketeering? Not even colleges seem to be immune to the ubercapitalist drumbeat these days...
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:28PM (#10173463)
    Students already make choices based on things other than academics or athletics now. Size of the campus, feel of the city, things to do, proximity to (or distance from) home, significant others, etc. And yes, they've made it on the basis of technology as well, long ago: when the University of Michigan started wiring its dorms for ethernet in the early to mid 90s, surveys of students showed some picked Michigan over other alternatives, in part, because of the availability of ethernet in the dorms. This increased with the advent of the web, and eventually came to be something students *expected* in most University dorms. (Incidentally, private housing owners are realizing students want this and are adding it in greater frequency to their buildings).

    But it seems to me that these technology items really fall into "academics"; e.g., some schools have better facilities or faculty than another for some particular discipline, and it could be argued that decisions based on that fall under the general guise of "academics", so why not this?
  • by douthat ( 568842 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:28PM (#10173466)
    Are we seeing the day when college students make their school of choice not based solely on academics or athletics, but also on tech freebies like these?"
    This depends on your definition of free. If I were a student at Duke University or Penn State, I would be worried that the school decided to use my hard-earned tuition money to buy things that are not directly associated with learning. Sure, the iPod makes a great portable hard drive, but is the data it is intended to hold somehow better stored on a $300 iPod rather than an inexpensive USB Key? At least the iPod, as a storage device, has some scholastic merit. Penn State subsidising Napster subscriptions using student tuition and fees is absoutely appaling. If I wanted a Napster subscription, I would buy one!

    On a separate note, if Penn State jumped on the iPod bandwagon, it would be not be compatible with its new Napster agreement. Screw that.
  • by r0xah ( 625882 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:36PM (#10173536)
    I believe that these are reasonable expectations for a university. I think that any modern university should have internet access in dorms and more than likely they should have wireless as well. The new little "perks" such as getting a "free" iPod when you go to a school like Duke is not going to influence any intelligent person. You are already paying so much for school, the iPod is more than likely included in the price on top of that. If you look at the iPod as an expense to go to any school you may choose, then it wouldn't change the tuition cost over 4 years in any real way.
  • by Dr Kool, PhD ( 173800 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:37PM (#10173545) Homepage Journal
    Even though I'm a CS major and I really like tech stuff, if my school entered in an agreement to give everyone an iPod or whatever I'd be pissed. There's no such thing as a "free" iPod, you are paying for it with your tuition. What these schools are basically doing is forcing all entering students to buy an iPod which is wrong. What if I don't want an iPod? What if I like Dell's music player better??
  • by a3217055 ( 768293 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:41PM (#10173580)
    What does an iPod have to do with education? The whole problem with this trend is like the free condoms, shavers and breath mints that people get at college. These are nothing but expensive articles being 'pimped out to the students' who have no idea what they are for and start using them and hopefully get them addictded and while they pay off there school bills they can buy 99cent Apple songs. All this is nice, I would love to have all this. But most of all students should have a better education, access to beer and psycadellics and some good college bands. Everything else is noise; a disturbance, college is an experince don't allow other groups ( financially, morally or religously ) motivated groups to sell your experince away. What happens in a religously oriented college you get 100 free religious/christian/islamic/bhuddist songs.... But maybe we should share the large corporate fees gained from these gimmicks to maybe towards other not so well off universites to just have computers with some software so people can learn how to type or learn programmig ... Students would be better off getting PDA's with wireless... But why be so philanthropic. Anyway I just wonder what happens to the poor college students who came to college to make a better life for themselves and their family, and they don't attend the more prestigious universities? These are only my views and I can be wrong, but our lives are empty and we fill it up with music that we buy because we are unable to create anything new.
  • by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:44PM (#10173599) Homepage
    What does an iPod have to do with education?

    They're portable hard drives. What don't they have to with education? I wish my school gave me one for my graphic arts program. Maybe then we wouldn't have been messing around with Zip discs and trying to squeeze 100MB Photoshop files onto a 64MB thumb drive. And yes there are other solutions but an iPod is a nice one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:47PM (#10173613)
    Right, my school has access to i2hub as well, but we also have a total tranfer limit of 5 GB/week. That puts the damper on rampant filesharing. (Plus I wouldn't consider i2hub completely safe from the **AA, considering the pressure they've been putting on schools lately.)

    I definitely chose my college based on its reputation and academics, not its technical infrastructure. Besides, these days a top-notch school has to have _some_ wi-fi, as well as fast internet in the dorms. Though my school rolled out Rhapsody this year (at $2 a month) I don't have any interest in it.

    However, if the school had a transfer limit of 1 GB/week, or had a packetshaper, I might reconsider living in their dorms.
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:59PM (#10173684)

    As tuition prices skyrocket, and salaries decline, the value of a college education drops. It makes sense that campuses will start offering "perks" that appeal to 17 year olds to make them go to their schools.

    I mean, students are paying $120,000 or more for that "free" iPod, but a high school student doesn't understand about student loans or what that money actually represents.
  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:18PM (#10173785) Journal

    It seems that these days universities are corporations themselves. In this darwinistic neoliberal state that America has become, universities are practically preying on the students, like some sort of scamming ripoff joint. What differnce is there between the rapacious check cashing stores and tax refund outlets that prey upon the urban poor, and these fucking universities that set up these kids with tens of thousands of dallars in debt so they can get a BA from some cow college?

    It is SO sad what has happened to this country. When I got out of the Navy in California in 1981, the education counselors at the exit interview told me I could attend university there and pay a pittance in tuition, all while drawing $1100/month to go to school. Back in those days, one could draw unemployment as a student.

    It was all paid for by taxes back in those days--the top tax rate for the rich was like 70% back then.
  • by jm92956n ( 758515 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:22PM (#10173816) Journal
    I'd furthermore be insulted if my school possibly spent my tuition money on lures for people who may not really care about school or take it seriously.

    Did you go to a school without a sports program? They haven't much of a point, other than to draw in prospective students and build the college's name up ("they have such an excellent basketball team that I can't imagine they'd employ professors of poor quality!").

    Nearly every school spends money to attract students; often they'll intentionally misrepresent the school to in one way or another to attract students. Why? Because, like every other institution, they must perpetuate or die. The latter alternative is the less pleasant one.
  • nope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cerenyx ( 250774 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:25PM (#10173841) Journal
    short answer: no.

    far more traditional factors determine choice of university in my i'm-a-first-year-student-in-university opinion. where i come from, its all about the reputation of the university in question, and the weight a degree from the university will carry in your resume.

    between universities of similar 'repute' it then comes down to stuff like school culture, how 'happening' it is, the course-specifics (like whether Law is taught better in institution A or B) etc.

    freebies? nah. these add to the overall first impression of the university (like cufflinks do on a shirt), but do not represent a material factor in decision making.
  • Re:Deeply obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eupheric ( 618980 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @12:03AM (#10174020)
    If academics aren't as important as chicks and parties, then explain the existence of 1) MIT 2)Harvard 3) Caltech.
  • by PeterPumpkin ( 777678 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @12:13AM (#10174072) Journal
    Yeah, if there wasn't for football teams, we wouldn't have slacker degrees like Management (aka "the M-train"). I'm waiting for the day when the next generation of greater height and smaller brain capacity players necessitates the creation of the Shoelace Repair degree, or some such nonsense.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @12:24AM (#10174123) Homepage Journal
    I don't really consider wireless access a freebie, as that is part of the school's network.

    Ditto here in Baton Rouge, TANSTAAFL, what's offered as "free" is pathetic and getting more costly and dumber all the time. LSU has charged a "tech fee" for years that's a significant percentage of the actual tuition. This fee is getting larger and they are now considering a laptop requirement on top of it.

    The money is being spent but it's all controlled tightly and not very flexible. They have more computers than they can shake a stick out, most running Winblows, monitored and wired to your account. Linux is making a showing, and may take off, but you must press "I submit" every time you use one. They also have Internet2, federally funded, and a great local net, even wireless, but all of it is non free and strictly controlled. IT won't let you put so much as a hub onto a line and the wifi requires some goofy client. In short, I do better and feel less monitored elsewhere.

    For all the control, you would think things would run well. Nope. Worms actually shut down their email system this summer and they have banned attachments. The control does little other than inconvenience honest users.

    Napster? I hope LSU is not dumb enough to pay that extortion, but they keep talking like greed heads. A great emphasis has recently been placed on "IP" and they now claim ownership of all student ideas as well as faculty and staff. Well, OK, you can keep your poetry and other work of marginal monetary value because the RIAA or big publishers will get it. Chummy, eh? You rape these, I'll rape those.

    The dumbest thing I think I've heard so far is that the student government is considering a laptop requirement. They think they can hook everyone up to a M$ Active Directory, so Winblows is part of the requirement and neither of my fully functional laptops will do. Yes, this ignores the excellent Paws system run by IBM, but don't all clueless "I want M$ crap" initiatives like that ignore less costly and superior available services? While I can't imagine any network able to hold 50,000 instances of Active directory, I can imagine what will happen when 50,000 wormy laptops hit the net every fall. NOTHING. No email, no class registration, nothing but mass pandemonium and sleepless nights for the campus IT staff.

  • Campus Tech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeffkjo1 ( 663413 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @12:25AM (#10174132) Homepage
    Well, the technology services available on my campus definitely had a major effect on me. I moved off campus. Among other things, certain policies changed from my freshman to sophomore year (without them telling anyone, or updating their posted policies until after students had come in, and a certain someone (myself) asked because what worked freshman year didn't work anymore.)

    Anyway, I moved off campus. In fact, the company that I have internet with right now really stinks... they claim it's high-speed, up to 1.5 mbps, but my last dslreports.com speedtest pulled 22... thats 22 kilobits a second, not bytes.

    If I want 28.8 access, I'll get my DeLorean and move back to 1997. So anyway, I'm about to drop this company and pick up another one. Living off campus is nice, and honestly, after I figured in all of the costs that your 'room&board' on campus doesn't cover (like parking), it was actually LESS expensive to live off-campus.
  • Re:Freebies ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrCash ( 800431 ) <webmaster@[ ]83.org ['apo' in gap]> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @12:30AM (#10174150)
    Your response to this proves my point. Please note spelling grammatical errors as follows in your post:

    I think you're wrong there - spelling, grammar and writing are not getting worse; it's just that the spelling, writing and grammar of the masses is now more public - when things were hand written, or machine typed; there was only one copy, and the professor had it.

    Now that everything exists on the computer, whole essays are uploaded - usually poor ones, for making fun of, or as bad examples. There are still gem essays out there that get 95% with no spelling mistakes, and perfect grammar, but someone who invests 200 hours into every essay they write, most likely, does not upload it onto the internet for the world to see - What you see is the lowest common denominator made public by the miracle of communication.

    Not that I'm trying to nitpick unnecessarily or anything, but your message proves that people think that just because they type things into the computer, that they don't have to worry about proofreading their document, checking basic spelling. People make careless and stupid mistakes! It's really sad!

  • by echeslack ( 618016 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @01:05AM (#10174348) Homepage Journal
    What about students who go largely on financial aid? If the amount of aid stays the same, yet the price increases by $500 (or whatever) for something which many would view as unnecessary, that could really affect the financials for some students, and could be a reason not to attend the university. I can see the iPod being handy, but not necessary (at least yet) in the way computers and network connections have become.
  • by magefile ( 776388 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @06:37AM (#10175508)
    In part, yeah ... but it's also supply and demand. College is no longer only for the intellectually inclined ... it's for everyone who's middle-class or upper-class, and for a lot of poorer kids as well. Thus, colleges are able to stratify, both based on how much you can pay and how smart you are. (A lot of these cheaper schools didn't exist a few decades ago).
  • Re:Buying students (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:04AM (#10175789)
    Of course, college students today are mostly on the public dole in the form of grants, government-insured loans (many of which are defaulted upon, passing cost to the taxpayer)

    Everyone who gets federal loans has to go through entrance councling about what they're getting themselves into. So here's why federal loans are hardly a "go to college for free deal". First, there are only two ways to get out of a federal loan without paying - either die, or become so severely disabled that you're no longer able to function and hold a job. Bancrupcy does not absolve you of federal loans. If you're in default, the government can garnish your wages and your tax return until you're paid off. Additionally, your school will withhold your records if you're in default of your loans, so if you're applying for a new job or a professional license or something, your school will not release your transcript. Schools have a vested interest in making sure their students pay back their federal loans, because if the percecentage of their students who are in default gets too high, the government will stop giving that school's students federal loans. So if you're planning to live off the grid after you graduate, then yes, federal loans are free money.
  • by tlh1005 ( 541240 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:56AM (#10176412)
    All of those "draconian" mesures you mentioned are HIGHLY needed on a college campus. I don't want to imagine +20,000 students moving in and having free reign on the network. Why should we open port x or facilitate you like an ISP would. Universities are in the business of providing education not internet access. It'd make much more sense to attend a school that will give you the best education no matter what and seek the other amenities like liberal net access elsewhere.

    Our department recently had to implement a purge policy for email because students leave all of their junk in the inbox. I've heard bitching about people losing important things? WTF, if it was important why didn't you download it, move it from the inbox to a folder, or send it to an account from a provider in the business of providing you with email..... You had 120 days to do it! People don't maintain their systems like they should, they spam, spread viruses, you name it. I've seen some ridiculous things happening because of kids sitting in a dorm room who think they know everything.

    The MORE liberal the policy, the worse things will be. It'd be nice to rely on common sense etc. but it doesn't work!
  • by zoombat ( 513570 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:53AM (#10176830)
    The new little "perks" such as getting a "free" iPod when you go to a school like Duke is not going to influence any intelligent person.

    Giving away iPods to individual students might be a minor incentive in itself, but what's really significant about this is that by giving them to ALL students changes the environment of the entire school..

    Frankly, though, I think it would me more effective to build the infrastructure to make PDAs extraordinarly useful so that students buy the devices on their own. For example deliver course schedules, syllibus details, campus maps, textbook info, annoucements, class notes and handouts, etc. to PDAs - and make it easy to sync via either wireless connections or IR.

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