Students Reaping Benefits of Technology Fee
|Students at the Information Technology
Center, Lehman College.
Wireless networks, new student e-mail accounts, expanded web-based services, computer kiosks, expanded computer center and cyber café hours and new subscriptions to electronic journals are just part of the technology revolution sweeping throughout the University with new Student Activity funds designated for enhancing computer services.
Last February, the Board of Trustees established a technology fee of $75 per semester for full-time students and $37.50 per semester for part-time students beginning this fall. The estimated $22.5 million in
revenues from this fee is retained by the colleges. Each has drafted ambitious plans in keeping with the Boards
mandate that all spending be
in "support of the University's core academic mission."
The program is already off
to a quick start. Students found new computersmany with stickers noting that purchase
was paid directly from the technology fee--and services awaiting them on many campuses in September.
|Students go wireless at Queens College.
At Hunter College, a team set up SNet (for Student Network Services), a comprehensive set of technology accesses and services. This includes computer kiosks
scattered around campus offering access to students e-mail and the web. The Hunter group also set up a web site http://snet.hunter.cuny.edu that offers access all services: e-mail, online courses, a calendar, a helpdesk, a faculty and staff directory and a student web server. Students can also add or drop courses, check grades and find information about scholarships, employment and health advice. By the end of the year, students will be able to access their Hunter e-mail through their cell phones.
The Rosenthal Library was allotted $80,000 of the $792,000 collected so far by Queens College to begin a laptop loan program. The school bought 241 new computers and opened a new computer lab to support new courses in the graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Another lab is planned to jointly serve the Anthropology and Linguistics and Communications Disorders programs. The college is also expanding its wireless network.
Brooklyn College is creating a
campus video communications system, which will provide student news,
academic and campus events information and announcements in screens around campus. Brooklyn also purchased 225 new PCs (with more planned for the Spring semester) and spent $100,000 on subscriptions to electronic journals and reference sources.
The College of Staten Island is installing wireless access points in all academic buildings, and will start lending wireless access cards for use with students' own laptop computers. (This supplements a program that allows students to borrow and use wireless laptops in the library.) Another college program will work to develop students' technology skills, and will also address such issues as academic integrity, plagiarism, intellectual property rights and accuracy.
In addition to spending $600,000 replacing outdated computers and starting a four-year replacement cycle for its hardware, Queensborough Community College "will be a wireless campus by the end of this year," said Bruce Naples, director of the school's academic computing center. Queensborough also allotted $96,000 to pay student interns. "One is working as a videographer, another turned out to be a very good programmer," Naples said.
"The technology fee casts the students as consumers of technology provided by the college, noted Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Louise Mirrer.
Senior Vice Chancellor Allan Dobrin stressed that each campus will keep every dollar of the fee paid by its students.
Brian Cohen, University chief information officer, noted that the program carried less obvious benefits such as a centralized purchase of new computers had saved 28 percent over the discount normally offered nonprofit buyers.
"The University is investing in technology in a big way for a couple of reasons," Cohen said. "One, its the right way to go. Two, the students want it."
On this there is much agreement. "This is a very exciting time for us because what we are doing on campus will benefit everyone," said Queens College President James L. Muyskens. Muyskens knows a thing or two about instructional technology, having created the University of Georgia's Gwinnett University Center, one of the nation's first bricks-and-clicks campuses. "Our students have grown up with computers and are very sophisticated and comfortable with technology. They want the flexibility to learn by all possible means and this is what we will give them."