Whitman School of Management students go mobile
Whitman School of Management students go mobileSeptember 04, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
In addition to the usual array of Syracuse University merchandise that is available for purchase at the University Bookstore, incoming students in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management have a unique opportunity to purchase a customized SU laptop computer.
The first partnership of its kind at the University, the pilot Notebook Computer Purchase Program pairs the Whitman School and the University’s Computing and Media Services (CMS). The customized notebooks will provide students with mobile access to SU’s wired and wireless networks, preinstalled software programs designed to enhance student learning and a pre-configured operating system that, among other things, has been set up to minimize security threats. To make the program a reality, information technology staff members from the Whitman School and CMS collaborated with IBM’s ThinkPad University program to create the customized notebooks, which are available by special order through the SU Bookstore.
“The notebook project has the potential to change the computing culture on campus and opens new windows of opportunity for student learning outside the classroom,” says Andy Covell, director of information technology in the Whitman School. “The notebooks will give students anytime, anywhere access to the University’s high-speed Internet network and will enhance student collaboration on team projects, communication with faculty, access to course materials through Blackboard, online research, and development of skills in using technology for business applications.”
Currently limited to Whitman School students, the notebook program has the potential to be expanded to students from other schools and colleges across the University, according to Covell and Gary McGinnis, director of CMS Client Services.
“Expanding mobile computing opens up an array of exciting opportunities for the University community,” McGinnis says. “For example, CMS is exploring technology options that would enable faculty, staff and students to access specialized software, which is currently available in the public computing labs, through the campus wired and wireless networks. Rather than having to physically go to a computing lab, authorized users would be able to access the software from their Internet connected notebook anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
While the notebooks are not required, Whitman school administrators are strongly recommending that incoming students purchase the computers. Two models are available at a cost of $1,209 and $2,079 respectively. Both models come with the manufacturer’s three-year warranty and an SU “value added” package that includes a 14-foot Ethernet cable, wireless network cards, a notebook security kit and three residential service coupons that can be redeemed for software support services at the CMS Information Center in Hinds Hall. Other features include SU-customized desktop, pre-configured access to University networks, anti-virus software, SU bookmarks and pre-configured access to SU printers. More specific information about the notebooks is available on the Whitman school Web site at www.som.syr.edu/computing/notebook/.
The customizations were developed by Matthew Hiemstra, manager of computing services for the Whitman School, and a team of CMS technicians that includes Steve Leonard, Paula Maxwell and Steve Trojanowski. Hiemstra and Maxwell spent two days at IBM’s facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, working with the company’s computer engineers to develop a prototype SU image that will be incorporated into the computers before they are shipped from the factory.
“Together, CMS and the Whitman School have created customized notebooks that are SU notebooks,” says Covell. “If this pilot project is successful, we hope other schools and colleges will join us.”