Laptop initiative comes with tech support for students

August 23 2006

Indiana State University's inaugural class of Laptop Award recipients can be found around campus sporting their prize - a business-grade Lenovo Thinkpad.

New for the 2006-07 school year, the ISU Laptop Award is available to incoming freshmen with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average (based upon a 4.0 scale). To be eligible for the award, students must also earn an Indiana Core 40 diploma or its equivalent, be admitted to Indiana State by March 1 and enroll in a minimum of 12 semester hours of classes at ISU. Out-of-state students are also eligible for the award.

Richard Toomey, ISU director of admissions, said the reaction from parents and students has been positive.

"They are thrilled to have this scholarship offering," he said. "It will be a huge asset to students in their academic progress."

Kayla Alexander, a special education major from Terre Haute, said she felt privileged to be one of the first 705 students to receive the award.

"I already knew I wanted to go to ISU, so this was an added bonus," she said.

"This is a great reward for people who try so hard with academics," added Calvin Gomillia, a music education major from Indianapolis, who said the laptop experience will come in handy when he enters the teaching field.

"I'll have the skills that I need to go out in the real world," Gomillia said, adding he plans to take advantage of the training offered by the Office of Information Technology.

To support the influx of laptops on campus, Information Technology is unveiling services to support the computing needs of students and faculty members, said Yancy Phillips, director of user services.

The Computer Store, located in the Student Computing Services building, has a variety of computer accessories, such as cables, locks and cases, in addition to an array of iPods, Apple Mac-based laptops and USB drives. Students interested in purchasing a Lenovo Thinkpad may also view them at the store before going online to place their order.

A new Computer Support Center, also located in the Student Computing Services building, has technicians available who are able to repair on-site any hardware or software issues that the Thinkpads may develop. Phillips said the center is very student-friendly.

"Students can come in about anytime, including some hours on Saturdays and Sundays," he said. "We want to make this experience as positive for the students as possible, and that's just one way we'll do it."

ISU's wireless network is also undergoing changes. Most noticeable is the expansion of wireless access to students' rooms in newly renovated Burford Hall, giving students the freedom to collaborate with classmates.

Phillips said OIT will be enhancing the wireless capabilities on campus during the coming year in preparation for even more student laptops.

Indiana State will become the first public university in the state to require all students to have laptop computers, beginning with incoming freshmen in fall 2007.

The strides in technology at Indiana State spell success for students now and in the future.

"Students will have access to the technology, resources and technical experience to make sure they are not only successful in their time here, but long after they graduate from Indiana State," Toomey said.

Computer help moves into residence halls

To make computer help even more accessible to students, a team of 10 Residential Computer Consultants, or RCCs, has been assembled and is servicing the residence halls.

The students selected to be RCCs went through a rigorous interview process and software test, said Kathryn Elson, Microcomputer/Network consultant and RCC supervisor.

The RCCs are equipped with Lenovo laptops; two-way radios, so they can communicate with each other quickly and provide tech support to each other; two blue camouflage T-shirts that they wear opening weekend and throughout the year for special events; and thumb drives full of software tools to help the students set up their computers.

Elson said the RCCs will assist residential students by:
- introducing them to ISU's technology resources
- installing software to help students connect to the ISU network
- troubleshooting student network connection issues
- removing Spyware and viruses; installing McAfee antivirus
- assisting them with CCA (Cisco CleanAccess)
- assisting with general computing questions
- referring students to the Computer Support Center (CSC) for additional assistance

"Until Labor Day, the RCCs will be going to the residence halls by ticket request in teams," Elson said. "After Labor Day, they will help the students by having service locations available for them to bring their computers to."

The hours of their service locations will be available after Labor Day at: http://www.indstate.edu/rcc/

Contact: Richard Toomey, director of admissions, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2510 or rtoomey@isugw.indstate and Yancy Phillips, director of user services, ISU Office of Information Technology, (812) 237-2100 or y-phillips@indstate.edu

Writers: Paula Meyer, media relations coordinator, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu and Katie Spanuello, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University, (812)237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

More than 700 freshmen have a new tool for learning - a Lenovo Thinkpad computer - thanks ISU's inaugural Laptop Award. New for 2006-07, the Laptop Award recognizes incoming students with a 3.0 high school grade point average or higher (on a 4.0 scale). The laptop comes with tech support from the university.

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