The Evolution of Faculty Laptop Programs

I was thinking of sustainability the other day, after reading a post on Kassblog. It crossed my mind that it would be better if a faculty laptop could serve as both a home computer and a school computer. One well-used computer is better than two, right?

The issue, however, is that school-provided laptops can’t really be used for personal media collections, tax software, and side-businesses. Home-owned laptops, however, might be able to serve both roles. About five of our faculty have always bought their own laptops instead of using ones we could provide, because they wanted something more high-end. They seem to do more than fine at our school, and they are good at caring for their own systems with a little help from us.

What if we had a program that would provide an annual grant of around $250 to $300 to faculty who bought and maintained their own laptops, and purchased Office and other basic software they needed for school work? This program would be optional of course, and maybe only a few would choose it each year. In the end, however, they might benefit from having more choice and responsibility, and there’d no longer be the conflict of personal “stuff” on school computers. It would also mean their spouses and kids at home could use the computers more freely, as long as they were maintained and cared for.

I’m early in the stages of this idea– could be a disaster if poor quality machines were bought, and there could be some “hard lessons” when hard drives fill up with personal pictures. Living through these issues might make them stronger and more informed users, however. If Edline becomes more of a content management system for us, it would ease the concerns about the storage of and access to the materials.

Just an idea– a melding of personal and work, unification to one machine, choice and responsibility.

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