Tablets take effect
By Jonathan Allen
The Tartan Online (Radford University)
February 08, 2005
RU faculty have now received their new Tablet computers and can take
advantage of the wireless technology on campus. So far, the transition
from desktop to Tablet computers seems to be working out well for most
of the university’s professors.
Along with the wireless technology has come more than 350 Tablet
computers for the faculty who wanted one. Those who opted to receive a
Tablet received training through seminars and workshops on the
capabilities of these new computers.
“I can use it as my desktop, I can carry it like a laptop, I can stand
in class with it and write notes that show up on the projector,” said
Dr. Angela Stanton of the marketing department.
Every faculty member who wanted to switch to a Tablet computer has been
able to through the university’s Academic Computing office, which also
coordinated the workshops for the new tablets.
“We haven’t had any major problems implementing the Tablets,” said Ed
Oakes, the director of Academic Computing. “The technology works fine
and, as the faculty get used to using them, it should get even better.”
The new tablet computers allow professors to take their computer home
with them. They can also be used in conjunction with the projectors in
classrooms to show notes and presentations that the professor can write
on with an electronic stylus pen. The tablets have the capability to
record and play back audio that goes along with the notes being shown.
In a professor’s office, the tablet can be used as a desktop computer,
and many professors have dual monitors incorporating both the tablet’s
screen as well as a desktop monitor that they can use at the same time.
“I went in a little skeptical until I saw what these things could do,”
said Stanton. “I did a class completely paperless.”
Currently, few students have Tablet computers, but according to
Stanton, when more students have them things will be even easier for
faculty and students.
“Most students without Tablets don’t have some of the software the
Tablets use. That means I sometimes have to convert files to another
format, like PDF, for it to work,” Stanton said.
Although the transition to Tablet computers is going well, some faculty
have elected against the change.
“I was writing a book at the time that the computers came out, and was
so focused on deadlines and things that getting a new computer was just
not important to me at the time,” said Dr. Helen Roybark of the
Accounting, Finance, and Business Law Department.
“Those of us who are really computer savvy love it, and others just
don’t like change or don’t want to have to swap their entire hard drive
over to a new system.” Stanton said. “There are always people [who] sit
back and watch when something new appears,” he added.
Over the past year, RU’s campus has been going wireless, installing the
hardware and access points in every building on campus to allow laptop
computers wireless access to the Internet. That process is now
complete, and RU has become the only campus in Virginia with every
building wirelessly equipped.