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Warwick Ponders Lap-Top Revolution

Students at the University of Warwick could be forced to have lap-top computers before being accepted onto courses.

The radical shake-up of IT provision could lead to all first year students being required to have access to the machines by the start of the 2003 academic year.

The suggestion, which is being put out to consultation among staff and students, is part of a series of proposals in an “e-strategy”.

An e-procurement system is also being suggested to help make savings on the university’s annual £80 million purchasing bill. Students could get cheap discounts through bulk buying by the university.

The proposals also include installing un-metered connection to the internet from all student bedroom on campus by 2001-02.

University spokesman Peter Dunn said some students would be given help to make sure they were not put in a “digitial divide” because they could not afford computers.

He said:

“A survey revealed that 70 per cent of students who registered at Warwick in 2000 had access to a computer of their own and a further 25 per cent were considering buying one.

“However Warwick believes that it could, and should, ensure that 100 per cent of its students should have access to a lap top and there should be no digital divide.

“Those 95 per cent already able and willing to acquire such technology in support of their studies will obviously benefit from the savings on hardware costs that the university would negotiate with suppliers who would be keen to offer attractive and cost-effective purchase or lease schemes.

“However those unable to afford to acquire the technology by themselves would benefit even more as Warwick will move to eradicate the current digital divide that already exists by making provision to ensure those students who cannot afford to spend the sums are given the assistance they need to have access to their own lap top.”

There could be a new e-learning Development Unit to promote and encourage the use of new technology in teaching across every department of the university.

Plans are also being considered for the construction of a student portal as a gateway to student web resources.

This would allow personalised links to be developed to areas of university administration such as registering for courses and accommodation.

Increased access to electronic library resources and e-learning materials are also planned, and the library would be given a larger budget to subscribe to more electronic resources for use by staff and students.

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CWN / Education / University of Warwick / 7 Feb 01
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