May 08, 2003

Preface

The Clemson University Laptop Program was originally started three years ago (1998) as a Pilot program as part of an evolution of teaching methods. Though the program has been in existence for these three years, it still exists in a Pilot state. Because of this, an investigation of the Laptop Program was conducted, and that investigation's findings have become the subject of this research.

Clemson University English 101 and 102, 102-H classes conducted the task of researching the laptop program to aid the stakeholders in their determining of the vitality of the program. Though this investigation was not conducted by professional researchers per se, the researchers gained their credibility on this subject by their intensive work concentration on this subject throughout the Fall 2000 semester. In addition, the research was conducted by those with an inside perspective on the curriculum, being part of the Pilot program themselves.

From the beginning, this research has been designed to aid the Clemson University Pilot Laptop Program's stakeholders to provide them with a different, and potentially helpful, perspective of the program's existence. It was intended to be an unbiased, open-ended evaluation of the program. Though it is understood that there are many areas for consideration in the determining of the continuation of the program, it is our goal to present this paper to help the stakeholders with their decision.

This research is not meant to be the end of a process, but rather the beginning of one. We hope the ideas and insight gained from this venture will open the doors in a quest for the future of Clemson University's marriage to the Information Technology of the future. This research paper is not an attempt to predict the future, rather it is intended to serve as a tool for the benefit of those examining this future, and for the benefit of those affecting it.

Without the help of Dr. Christine Boese, Dr. Cynthia L. Selfe, Dean Janice Schach, Dr. Bernadette Longo, Dr. Elisa Sparks, Laurie Sherrod, concerned Laptop Students, and the Cooper Library; this project would never have made it off the ground. For this reason, deepest gratitude is expressed for their willingness, helpfulness, and desire to contribute to this research. They have been the drive behind this undertaking.

The research of the Pilot Laptop Program is not complete, and there are many facets to it beside the one presented here. Because this research is about the future of the program, it will be up to those in this future to act based on this information as well as other research to determine the best path for Clemson University.

The Authors

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Chapter 1: Introduction: Studying Laptop Technology at Clemson University

From IBM to Macintosh, the race to produce faster, more efficient computers has become one of the nationís largest enterprises, and has spurred the country into a new computer era. Among those on the forefront of using computer technology are college universities, including Clemson University. Through a pilot program at Clemson, known as the Laptop Program, students carry a laptop computer with them to their classes. It is hoped that the use of computers will promote learning by improving communication between students and professors, and creating a more student-centered learning environment; however, since this method of teaching is so new, there are few studies on its effectiveness. To determine how the computers affect student learning here at Clemson University, several laptop English classes conducted an independent research study.

How is the Pilot Laptop Program affecting Clemson University? English 101, and English 102 with regular and honors combined spent an entire semester on an extended research project to attempt to answer this question. English 102 divided into four separate groups so as to get more specific answers to the different aspects of this study. Each group investigated histories, conducted interviews, collected surveys, evaluated classes, and brainstormed in order to come to their own conclusions regarding the worth of the Laptop Program. English 101 explored the Engineering Laptop Program, the one that has been around the longest, in depth, closely examining and testing claims made about laptop pedagogies. Each chapter in this book discusses the different aspects and effects of the program, the contributions of each research group.

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Chapter 2: From Gun-toting to Computer-Toting: The Changing Culture of Clemson University

By Matthew Ables, Jim Breitmeier, Anne Hosey, James Mullinnix

Abstract

Clemson University has a long history of staying at the forefront of the technological race as electronics of all kinds have advanced. This tradition has had many effects on the culture of the University. The Pilot Laptop Program is one of the most recent steps in the effort to keep up with the times. This program will most assuredly have various affects on the culture of Clemson University. Through interviews, surveys, ethnographical methods of participant observation, and analysis of information, our group has considered the consequences of this program and has presented the positive and negative effects that may come about as a result of this Laptop program so that the reader can see how this program is changing Clemson Universityís culture.

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Chapter 3: Teaching Tech and Loving Learning: Theory and Practice in the Clemson University Laptop Program

By Christa Benton, Vikki Garner, Clarice Green, Joe Hecker, Cristy White

Abstract:

In the current information age, technology has been in the foreground of education. Teachers on many levels, from elementary through postdoctoral, have found the use of technology helpful in creating and implementing lesson plans. The use of laptops at the university level has gained much support in recent years and is now a well sought-after tool in teaching. Hundreds of colleges and universities have begun to utilize laptops in departments ranging from the most liberal of arts to the most technical of the sciences. The growth of laptops in the classrooms has developed hand-in-hand with electronic classrooms, studios of learning that provide students network access and teachers with electronic teaching devices such as digital projectors. Since such a radical change in teaching styles is relatively new, the implications are not yet known. This report on teaching and learning styles on the university level is intended to provide insight as to the advantages and disadvantages of a laptop program from the point of view of both teachers and students.

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February 03, 2003

Chapter 4: Conducting Cost/Benefits Analyses: Short-term Effects of the Laptop Program

By Robert Yates , Thomas Zubrzycki, Reed Watson, Matt Ciuca

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to analyze the impact and effectiveness of the laptop program in the college of Arts, Architecture, and Humanities at Clemson University. This project was introduced to the English 102 class, and research began immediately. After this main research, the class split into four sub-groups. Each of the four small groups concentrated on specific issues of the laptop program including: short-term benefits and costs, long-term benefits and cots, the Clemson University culture, and the teaching and learning styles. The short-term group after researching found that most students felt that in lieu of the costs and combined with benefits, the program was worth continuing. The one main question left open was from where this funding will come.

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Chapter 5: Our Crystal Ball: Long-term Effects of the Laptop Program

By Mark Stewart, Justin Haas, Jeremy Christie, and Seth Carroll

Abstract

This study explores the long-term cost and benefits for the current Clemson University's laptop program and its students in the college of Architecture, Arts and Humanities for the next 15 to 20 years. The goal is to objectively inform the stakeholders of the program about its expected long-term effects on Clemson University, specifically the economic costs of the programs continuation versus the cost of not continuing the program. Some costs are obvious such as the cost of using wiring classrooms, but most long-term costs are not as clearly defined as the short-term costs. These hard to define costs are the ones incurred if the laptop program is not continued, such as lower paying jobs for graduates that are not technically apt. The rising costs of the program are mirrored by the rising costs in all areas of education.

The benefits are even harder to judge monetarily. Higher freshmen retention rates and average test scores and class rank of applicants are becoming apparent due to laptop-based programs.

The research for the long-term costs and benefits of the Clemson University Pilot Laptop Program was conducted by Mark Stewart, Justin Haas, Jeremy Christie, and Seth Carroll. Research was conducted, through a survey of Laptop students, at the Cooper Library, on the Internet and through interviews of various individuals that have direct connections to the Laptop Program.

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Chapter 6: English 101 Laptop Inquiry Project: College of Engineering and Science

By the Students of Dr. Cynthia Selfe's English 101 Class

Executive Summary

In the Fall semester of 2000, students in English 101-103 conducted a classroom inquiry project designed to answer the following question:

What effects, if any, has the Clemson Laptop Program had on students and faculty in the College of Engineering and Science (CES)?

As a part of this project, class members designed and sent out a survey to the 275 students enrolled in the CES Laptop Program and interviewed three faculty members teaching in this program. To carry out this inquiry project, students in English 101-103 formed eight different teams: a Survey team, a Computer Resource Team, a Sampling Team, a Student Interview Team, a Faculty Interview Team, a Digital Photography Team, an Analysis Team, and a Writing Team.

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Chapter 7: Conclusion: Insiders as Knowledge-Makers: What We Learned

After our analysis of the Laptop program at Clemson University, it is apparent that, like many new programs, there are initial problems; however, the benefits found are believed to countervail and exceed those problems. First, it is understood that the cost to integrate the program permanently into the college would be high and that the source of such income is still uncertain, but the students are confident in its administration and know that such funding could be found and negotiated if they were inclined to do so.

We also understand that some professors may be hesitant to try this new teaching style, especially when its benefits are still uncertain. But in an era where computers are becoming the gateway of the future, it seems necessary for the generations of tomorrow be computer literate. And nothing provides a greater center for this than the classroom.

The fears or uncertainty that many faculty and staff may also have about the benefits of the program may be calmed when students say that the program does indeed promote learning. It may not be a type of knowledge easily measured by a standard test; however, observation can reveal the studentsí progress.

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Bibliography by Chapter: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: From Gun-Toting to Computer-Toting: The Changing Culture of Clemson University

Ellers, Joseph. Getting to Know Clemson University is Quite an Education. Columbia: The R.L. Bryan Company, 1987.

Fetterman, David M. "Ethnography Step by Step". Applied Social
Research Methods Volume 17. London: Sage Publications, 1989.

Littlejohn, Mary Katherine. Tales of Tigertown. Clemson, 1979.

McKale, Donald, ed. and Jerome Reel Jr, ed. Tradition; A History of the
Presidency at Clemson University. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1988.

Scaffer, Alan. Visions; Clemson's Yesteryears. Louisville: Harmony House
Publishers, 1990.

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Bibliography by Chapter: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Teaching Tech and Loving Learning: Theory and Practice in the Clemson University Laptop Program.


Benton, Christa A. "Laptop Survey." Email to Laptop Professors.
18 October 2000. Campus Planning and Facility Design "Laptop Classroom Program" http://www.rensselaer.edu/dept/cpfd/Laptop_Classroom.htm.


Dell. "Laptops in the Classrooms Conference". University of
Central Florida College of Engineering and Division of Continuing Education.
20 January 2000 <http://www.engr.ucf.edu/laptops/index.htm>.



Experimental Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1984.


Frieran Literacy in North America. The Community Based Education Movement 20 Jun 95 Thomas Heaney. National-Louis University. 22 Oct 2000 <http://www.nl.edu/ace/Resources/Documents/FreireIssues.html>

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Bibliography by Chapter: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Our Crystal Ball: Long-term Effects of the Laptop Program.

Amos, Rebekah. Interactive Learning Is More Complete Learning, Study Finds.
8 Oct. 1999. The State News, Michigan State University. 22 Oct 2000. <http://www.studentadvantage.com/article/0,1075,c4i8t398-a16787,00.html>.


Branham, Michael Christopher. Email to Seth Carroll. 17 Oct 2000.


Canton, Donald R.. 21 August, 1998. The Laptop Campus. Interim Academic
Dean, Washington County Technical College. 22 Oct 2000 <http://www.mtcs.net/inovate6.htm>.


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Appendices by Chapter: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Teaching Tech and Loving Learning: Theory and Practice in the Clemson University Laptop Program The Survey

10/18/2000

Subjects: AAH Laptop Faculty

Burns, James

Kanet, Priscilla

Mack, Pamela

Stasiukaitis, Beth

Weaver, Barbara

Burns, James

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Appendices by Chapter: Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Conducting Cost/Benefits Analyses: Short-term Effects of the Laptop Program

Short Term Benefits of the Laptop Program Survey

Are you in favor of smaller class sizes and concentrated learning environments?

Do you believe that more integration of technology in the classroom would benefit students in their effectiveness in finding and holding a job after their education?

Do you believe there is a definite advantage in having a portable computer?

Do you think that laptops in the classroom would enhance the effectiveness of the teacherís pedagogy?

Would you enjoy a special support desk to solve technical problems and provide loaner laptops?

Do you believe that working online while in class could become a significant distraction to ones learning?

Do you think that innovations with technology in class can successfully replace traditional teaching methods?

Does the cost of a laptop computer balance the benefits of having a personal portable pc?

What would you estimate a top of the line laptop would cost?

Do you feel that almost 500 thousand dollars is too much money to be spent on a program with under 200 students?

Should faculty members be paid extra to teach laptop sections? If so, how much?

After the innovation grant ends, (after this year), who should make up the difference in funding?

With such a high cost to the University, what do you see as the benefits being? Do these benefits justify the costs of the program.

Please send replies to Cusurvey@yahoo.com

Thank You!

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Appendices by Chapter: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Our Crystal Ball: Long-term Effects of the Laptop Program

Survey sent to students:

Dear Laptop Student,

The following is a survey being conducted for a research study by Dr Christine Boeseís English 102 class.† By completing this survey you will be aiding the research that will be presented to the Stakeholders of the Pilot Laptop Program, and possibly ensuring its longevity.† You DO NOT have to complete the following survey.† However, if you do choose to participate, you will be giving your permission to be included in the survey by replying to this email.† If you do not want to be included DO NOT reply.

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Appendices By Chapter: Chapter 6: APPENDIX A: Teams and Members

Inquiry Project Teams: English 101

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Appendices By Chapter: Chapter 6: APPENDIX B: Gaant Chart for Scheduling Inquiry-Project Tasks

Gaant Chart for Scheduling Inquiry-Project Tasks

Too large for inclusion in online files

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Appendices by Chapter: Chapter 6: APPENDIX C: Student-Survey Data

First Year
Sophomores
Juniors

Question #1 † † † † † †

What effect has the laptop program had on your learning experience thus far at Clemson? † † † † † †

Positive effect
11
65%
13
81%
14
88%

Negative effect
6
35%
0
0%
0
0%

No effect
0
0%
1
6%
2
13%

Other
0
0%
2
13%
0
0%

No response
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%

Total:
17 †
16 †
16

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Appendices by Chapter: Chapter 6: APPENDIX D: Faculty-Survey Data

Faculty Interview A

How much computer experience do you have?

Response: I would say that I have fairly good experience.

So would you say "medium" experience?

Response: Yes, that sums it up well.

What laptop classes have you taught in the past?

Response: Iím teaching my first laptop class now.

And what are you currently teaching?

Response: Mathematical Science 101

How would you rate your experience teaching in the laptop classes?

Response: Moderately enjoyable.

Comment: There are a few frustrations, but overall I have enjoyed teaching in the laptop program.

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Clemson English 102

(Honors & Non-Honors Combined)

Assistant Professor: Dr Christine Boese
Clemson University

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Clemson English 101

Visiting Professor: Dr Cynthia Selfe
Michigan Technological University

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