UNCP Faculty Corner

Laptops for All Students

This is a discussion of requiring laptops for all students with university assistance.



  1. UNCG had required laptops of all students for the last few years, by combining it with a financial assistance package and tech support and a vendor. Some faculty there have incorporated activities with the laptop in their classes, including activities that took advantage of the wireless network. Recently UNCG dropped the university-wide requirement for all students to own a laptop, because they could no longer provide the financial assistance. The provost there said the university would save more than $700,000 by dropping the program, and after consulting the faculty senate, they decided it wasn’t right to keep the requirement without the aid. Some departments will still require laptops of all their majors, but the university itself will not. Tech support for laptops bought through the program will continue for the next few years.

    I don’t schools should dictate a personal computing choice.

    And I’m not crazy about students using their laptops in class. Currently I allow students to employ their laptops in my lecture courses (while other faculty do not) because I have to assume that students are taking notes. In reality I know for a fact which ones of them are actually surfing the internet via wireless and which ones are completing work for other classes. They think they can multitask–just like the students who sit there texting as if I can’t see them–but they’re NOT able to multitask. And their test grades prove it.

    I think the biggest problem with a laptop requirement on our campus would be theft. There’s a lot of petty theft here. We had a student whose laptop was stolen from the classroom in the summer when the class took a 5-minute break.

    Comment by Jamie Litty — February 10, 2009 @ 11:42 am

  2. This is an interesting “movement” to require laptops for incoming freshmen. Perhaps the private institutions have a different “take”, but recently UNCG has decided to drop the requirement.


    Comment by Ottis Murray — February 6, 2009 @ 12:14 am

  3. Does anyone know of a program offered by one of the computer companies that might make computers, especially laptops, accessible to students?


    Comment by david dran — December 13, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  4. I feel it would make the playing field even for our students if they had the tools most students have. Many companies like apple would almost provide these machines for a very economical if not almost free price tag. So I see no reason why we would not step up to the plate and start a laptop program here. I use the web for so many of their homework/research assignments that it would certainly make my classes have better success. Presently some of my students have problems with the old machines they use. The sites I set up for them are integral to their learning, they reiterate demonstrations and lectures I give along with giving them good springboards for their research.





    These are just a few places I have created as additions to my traditional teaching.

    Comment by Stephen Robison — December 13, 2008 @ 7:44 am

  5. Prior to comming to UNCP I taught as a small college that gave each entering a studnt a laptop, paid for through four years of their computer fee.

    In some classes studnets used them to take notes. This is difficult in science and math as it is tedious to deal with equations and images. I did find they useful in the laboratory where each student had the software to connect to our laboratory interfaces. Collecting and analyzing data in real time proved to be a exceptionally valuable teaching tool. I found that my students were learning more in lab, and began asking the kinds of questions we wish they would ask all of the time.

    You never know how they will be used until you begin. But I can tell you that computers will be used, for the most part, positively.

    Comment by Roland Stout — November 4, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

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