Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Bring Your Own Device
Wise and worldly readers, have you seen a campus move away from labs and go with bring-your-own-device? If so, did you (or it) learn some hard-won lessons you’d be willing to share?
If a laptop could be had for the price of a semester's worth of books, And those books would be free online,MIT would work well. I suspect a clever use of student technology fees could significantly subsidize computer purchases... Perhaps a student could be eligible to buy one every so many credits?
Many studies have shown hybrid courses are the best way to learn.. So, partially online courses.. so, if every student had a computer, the school could move toward hybrid courses as the default delivery.. Keeping completely face to face courses only where necessary for other reasons (Art studio courses, for example..).
I will comment on your concern whether "we could get the wifi backbone to a consistent level of performance". How well do you filter different parts of the network? Ours was not planned with any vision that streaming movies to phones over the student access to WiFi or facutly offices could overwhelm the professor streaming video to a classroom computer. How much moves around entirely inside, and how much is in the cloud in another state, and how much has little to do with school?
By the way, there is a bit of a gap between reading an OER text on your phone or tablet and writing a term paper on your phone or tablet! My own informal surveys show that most students have a computer at home, even if it is not networked because they are not gamers and have what they need via a phone. They sneaker net (flash drive) the paper to campus for revision and printing.
Our wifi infrastructure appears to work well enough for this.
Alleviates the 'peak demand' issue for the computer lad...
Eh, but that fleet of semi-official chromebooks (or whatever) doesn't maintain itself. Someone has to be there for the students when there are issues, and to re-image the machines when they come back. And if it's truly BYOD, where there can be a wide range of different devices, support requirements can easily go up, not down.
That's not to say the other advantages don't win, but a set of fairly homogeneous, IT-controlled lab machines is *way* easier to deal with through automation than a bunch of laptops not entirely in ITs control.
As noted above, we also have open tables where students use their laptops. Our only mistake was not having power at every table! Don't forget power if you move to a bring-your-own model!
You're really not so old, DD. I brought my portable manual typewriter to college, but when it was time to finish the term paper I often used the "typewriter lab" in the school's 24-hour library in the wee hours of the morning. You could rent an electric typewriter for 25 cents an hour.
I no longer rely on our wifi and internet access, as in addition to being unreliable it also gets incredibly …s…l…o…w… when lots of students are watching videos. Which is a lot of the time — the library computers are used more for watching videos than they are for work, and even when they are working many students stream a music video (on youtube) in the background so they have music over their earphones.
Also, have you thought of power? Adding extra plugs is expensive; dealing with injuries from people tripping over extension cords can also be costly.