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.

Introduction

Our research started with background on the Clemson University Laptop Program, including how laptop programs were implemented in other schools and how the program was brought to Clemson. The English 102 class, including our short-term group, researched the background of the stakeholders of the University. The class as a whole researched who constituted the administrative team of the program, where the funding for the program originated, and what is foreseen to be the future of the program. What answers could not be found or inferred from this research were compiled by the class and used while we interviewed the stakeholders.

After these interviews, the class decided on the tracks that were going to be followed in the research of the program. The entire class settled on four tracks of research. Our specific group, the short-term group, investigated the short-term effects (positive and negative) and short-term costs of the laptop program. Some optimistic effects of the program that the short-term group examined were smaller class sizes, more integration of technology in classes, having a personal portable personal computer, being able to add better visualizations in teaching, (and other effects on pedagogy), and having computer technicians to report to when technical problems arise. Some negative short-term effects besides cost of the program include technology becoming a distraction in the learning environment and possibly that learning without integrated technology could be a more effective method.

Some of the short-term costs that the short-term group studied were the costs of the computers themselves, and the costs of equipment needed to implement the program many hidden costs. The hidden costs include upgrades, insurance, and theft or loss of the computer. All of this information, combined with the research of the other groups, will be organized and analyzed to make a well informed decision as to how beneficial, or non beneficial, The Laptop Program is to Clemson University and all of the students that participate in it, or whom possibly will.

Methods

The research conducted by the Short Term Group began with the interviews of several of the stakeholders of the program. The group’s method of researching and getting information from the stakeholders involved straight research and interviews. These stakeholders interviewed were two crucial developers of the program Dr. Bernadette Longo and Dr. Elisa K. Sparks, the Program Manager Laurie Sherrod, and the Dean of Arts, Architecture, and Humanities, Ms. Janice Schach. The questions for each stakeholder were based on their previous involvement with computers or their involvement in initiating other upcoming programs. From the information gathered in these interviews, the group decided to divide the research into three main categories: actual costs, hidden costs, and the overall benefits of the program. This research was conducted individually, and then collaborated in order to gather as much information as possible.

The majority of the factual research for the short-term costs and benefits of the Clemson University Laptop Program was conducted on the Internet, namely the program’s own website. The researchers in the group found valuable information on grants and funding the university and other organizations have provided for the program at this site. The information gathered on the internet also included the cost of the actual computers for each of the students in the 2000 Program. This price was compared to the cost of a comparable machine purchased elsewhere. More information, such as the cost of the "Smart Classrooms," (classrooms renovated to provide internet and power connection), and teacher training, was also included in the on-line research.

In order to get a grasp of the public’s opinion of the costs of the program the group created a survey which was distributed to students currently enrolled in the program. Although some produced simple "yes" or "no" answers, the majority of the survey was intended to induce answers with more substance and meaning.

The group’s opinion was that personal answers would yield a deeper understanding of the public’s overall impression of the program and its immediate usefulness. Therefore, the group’s survey consisted mainly of non-pointed, yet carefully crafted questions that probed each student’s opinion. The surveys presented a broad perspective of the opinions and conceptions held by the nucleus of the program, the laptop students.

Results/Discussions

The data retrieved from the research done on the short-term effects of the laptop program at Clemson can basically be split into three major sections; actual costs, hidden costs, and other effects. A closer look at the numbers and information reveals much about the effectiveness and practically of the laptop program, as well as the attitudes toward it.

The actual short-term costs of the Laptop Program were traced as far back as 1997. During this year the Department of Mathematical Sciences received approximately a $49,000 Provost Innovation Grant. This money was appropriated for laptops for six professors and two "Smart Classrooms."

In December of that same year, Provost Rogers funded a three-year pilot laptop program with an annual budget of $150,000. This budget principally covers the salary of the program director, purchase of laptops and software for faculty participants, and the summer support for other faculty needs, primarily training and course development. The university has committed and estimated $450,000 to further support the program (clemsonnews.clemson.edu). This money was intended to provide network support, student and faculty hardware and software support, faculty development such as getting the teachers interested in the program and successfully training them, and the necessary scheduling and developing of courses.

The actual cost to the student to be in the program was best summarized by the quoted price of the project machine. Since the university required the same machine for all students and offered it at the lowest price, this cost is considered to be accurate for every member of the program. The price the university offered in 1998 was $2,463 plus any shipping and handling charges.

The program machine was a Dell Latitude CPi with a 233 MHz Pentium II processor, 64 MB of RAM, 12.1" screen, 3.2 GB hard drive, modem and Ethernet card. The software package included Microsoft Windows 95 and Microsoft Office 97 Standard. For 2000, the base price was $2,276. The machine was a Dell Latitude CPt with a 500 MHz Celeron Processor, 128 MB of RAM, 14.1" screen, 6GB hard drive, modem, Ethernet card, MS Windows 2000, and MS Office 2000 Standard.

Simple calculations put the total cost of The Laptop Program at approximately half a million dollars. This number was quite shocking to the group, considering the growth of the program and the present lack of funding for the future, since the Innovation Grant ends after this year.

As the laptop program intends to grow, more classrooms, teachers, and support facilities will be necessary to accommodate the increase in participants. Obviously more funding will be required as well, but no apparent source has been identified. The other option would be that the laptop program comes to an end. The fact that all of this money, besides what the students paid, plus the cost of remodeling and work done to Martin Hall, (the home of the laptop classes) was spent on merely 150 students was also quite alarming. The benefits of the program must strongly be considered before the program is continued further with such high costs.

Many of the hidden costs of this program cannot converge to a specific monetary value. This means that we have to look at what the tendency of this data proves to us. We found that most of the facts related to loss or theft would deal with insurance and loss of intellectual property. The loss or theft of a machine like ours cannot be replaced on a cost of machine basis. First of all, many people get insurance policies on their laptops. This was a number that could not easily be found out. After consulting three major insurance agencies, it was apparent that homeowners insurance covered the theft of a laptop. An agreement must be made between the laptop owner and their insurance company, where a deductible is set and a maximum repayment for loss is established. This varies depending on the owner’s needs and the insurer’s rates and policies. Depending on deductibles and the level of insurance already being provided, adding a laptop to the policy may range between $40 and $115 per year. Deductibles are usually between $250 and $1000.

Although the money invested in these computers is very significant, large amounts of data held on the hard drives could be irreplaceable. This could include papers, programs, and other important files. Sometimes, this information can never be reacquired. There are however, many ways available to avoid the loss of data. One way is to make back-ups by means of disks or other conventional means of data coverage. The University itself implements the other main way. Each student is given 50 megabytes of space on network drives that they can put information on. But backing up big files makes this 50 MB run out quite rapidly.

These two ways can help offset the hidden costs of loss or theft. This is strictly based on the owner’s actions though. Another theft aspect is the ratio of non-laptop students to those who have one. We have a very limited number of people in the program; only 1.5% of all students at Clemson. On the other hand, at Wake Forrest, every student in the University has the laptop. In a personal interview the Wake Forest students replied that there is no need to worry about theft. They told us that every student has the exact computer that they have, therefore there would be much less incentive for theft. Of course, we know that theft can still happen for other reasons than not having a computer. Money can be a factor in this. Looking at it, we do see that the chances are far less for theft in this situation.

Other areas of hidden costs include upgrades and accessories. Many people felt like they needed more items on their computer than what the required computer was. Some people have bought external CD burners for extra storage of data. One of these was found for $225. Other areas include upgraded memory, or hard drives. Some people chose to do this. Though the base 128 MB RAM seems quite sufficient, some opted for increased speed and performance. Also, 6 GB of hard disk does really not seem enough space for all the programs and files that might possibly be needed. However, this was not something that affected each individual buyer; it was a hidden cost. Printers could be purchased separately also. A low line printer can be bought for $75 - $100.

Another item that was suggested for the laptop students were book bags and a cable to lock up your computer. A cable could be bought for as low as $25 and the book bags averaged about $55 by Jansport. There were many other book bags available.

Students also had to buy an Ethernet cable to connect them to the network on campus. This was a requirement. However, this was not listed in the price of the computer. You could get these anywhere, the bookstore, or even local computer store. A $200 deposit made by all laptop students to Clemson University mostly covered the software. This provided us with the essential software. Any software needed above and beyond this is incorporated into the hidden costs. This information was very useful. We found many areas that we, as current students of the laptop program, had not even looked into. When examined, the hidden costs are quite significant, and can be part of the decision process on the program. Here is a table of the approximate hidden costs that a prospective student would potentially encounter:

Additional Items: Cost:

CD Burner $225
Software Bundle $200
Printer $100
Book bag $55
Cable Lock $25
Ethernet Cable $5
Total: $610

This table shows a summary of costs. These costs can be expected to vary, but this should allow for an analysis on the idea of hidden costs. These hidden costs total $610. Although, compared to the entire budget of the laptop program, this amount does not seem significant, but they are significant to the applicant to the program. Although, these costs are more directly related to the personal level of the laptop program, they have to be evaluated by the people who are thinking of being in the program as well as the stakeholders. The stakeholders still need to make sure that the hidden costs would not defer students from applying for a position in the program.

The other short-term effects of the laptop program besides costs may give us better insight into whether this program is truly worthwhile and worth the funds. In our interview with Dr. Longo, who is an English teacher of a laptop section herself, we found that she obviously has definite perceptions about the short-term effects of the laptop program. She feels that since over 80% of students are entering Clemson University with computers already, the transition to a laptop will come easily the majority of students that choose to enroll in the program. The program itself will aid in the transition, mainly due to the fact that the laptop program greatly decreases the size of classes and turns classes that have the possibility of being large lecture halls into a closer knit learning environment with great student teacher interaction. This interaction basically enables the students take charge of their own learning.

In our interview with the dean of AAH, Janice C. Schach, we discovered that she feels that the laptop program could excite students about learning, which in the short term would most likely enhance their performance in classes, or at least interest. The dean went on to explain that the laptop style of teaching is based in pedagogy. Technology supports a pedagogy that uses a computer to enhance learning. Dean Schach eventually sees the university going completely wired, so it is important now to initiate a base of strong technology to build on in the future.

In the survey we conducted, four survey questions did not have strictly yes or no answers. (A copy of the survey can be found in the appendix at the end of this document.)

The first question, "What would you estimate a top of the line laptop would cost?" is almost self-explanatory. The answers range from $2,000 up to $10,000. The mode answer was $3,500, and the mean was $4270. The next question, "Should faculty members be paid extra to teach laptop sections? If so, how much?" was split almost in half. Extra pay for faculty teaching laptop sections would encourage more professors to go through the training and put the time in to do so, but in turn serves as yet another added cost to this already expensive program.

57% of people surveyed believe that teachers should not be paid more. Of the 43% of students who do believe that teachers should be paid more as an incentive to teach laptop sections, most are in concurrence that the teachers should only be paid more if their specific class required more planning and work because of the laptops, or if new software needs to be learned in order to teach it to the class.

Another question was, "After the innovation grant ends, (after this year), who should make up the difference in funding?" 69% of students believe that the university should make up the difference. If this program does prove to be effective and worthy of university funds, then this would be a simple answer to the cost problem. But the university needs those funds for many other things, and if the program does not merit university funding, then it would be unreasonable to ask for it. Another 28% don’t know where the funding should come from, and the other 3% believe that it should be taken care of by the laptop students themselves, since they are the ones benefiting from the program. This does seem unreasonable, because the program costs entirely too much to be funded by a mere 250 students. Our last open ended question was, "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?" 14% percent believe that the costs outweigh the benefits. The other 86% reason that the long term effects of the program will be very helpful in the workplace, and that the short term effects such as more interest in learning and communication skills can be utilized now. (See full results in the Appendix)

From the results of the yes/no section of the survey, it is apparent that all students would prefer to have smaller classes when possible, because they believe it will make their learning environment more concentrated. Of these students, 91% of them believe that the integration of technology in this concentrated learning environment will be more conducive to their learning and benefit their education in the long run. When asked the question concerning incorporating laptops and software into classrooms, 87% believed that it would enhance their teachers’ pedagogy. This shows that the students are willing to try new methods of learning because they believe it will benefit them more than it could hurt them. This idea is very appealing to students if they know that there will be a help desk to assist them with any computer related problems (100% answered yes).

Though the majority of students do favor the use of technology and laptops in the learning environment, the 42% believe that the technology could become a distraction in the classroom. Considering that, the students still believe that that these innovations can replace traditional teaching methods. Furthermore, the students believe that the additional costs of a laptop are outweighed by the additional benefits in the classroom. In conclusion however, the students want these benefits but do not realize the costs of running the program.

Conclusion

The short-term costs of the Clemson University Laptop Program vary widely from the actual cost of the machines for the students to the development, support, and continuation of the program. This ranges from "Smart Classrooms" to teacher training and administrative to software support. Presently, the Innovation Grant, which totals $450,000 for three years, covers the majority of these and numerous other expenditures, but will terminate at the end of this year. After reviewing and compiling the survey results, it is apparent to our team that the majority of the students involved are in favor of the laptop program and integrating technology in the classroom, but are not in favor of any increased costs a program such as this might produce. Instead, they feel that the university should pick up any of these costs after the grant ends; however, it does not seem apparent to these people that the school picking up such costs would increase tuition, another financial increase the people would not like to see.

The question still stands: Who will provide the necessary funding for the program after this year? Regardless of where the funding will come from in the future, the research that has been gathered has led the Short Term Research Group to conclude that the overall costs to continue the program are quite extensive, yet necessary. It is not possible, however, to judge the overall merit of the program after only evaluating the short-term costs of the laptop program. This will only be possible after all research groups present their research analysis.

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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.

Introduction

The Pilot Laptop Program at Clemson University is at a critical point in its lifespan. Many decisions concerning the direction of the program are currently facing those involved in its administration, funding, and development. Information concerning the long-term vitality of the program may be valuable to this process. Because of this, the chief goals of this research team have been focused on examining the future benefits of the program to the University, investigating the paths that other such programs have taken, researching the projected costs of the program, and comparing the program to the technology of the future.

Since there are no programs of the like that have enough history to carry any absolute comparisons to that of our own, much of the research has been based on projections and, therefore, promise no certain outcomes. Because of the scope of our research, the Long Term Costs and Benefits team found it necessary to conduct its exploration with the use of surveys, Internet sources, and interviews. The purpose of this research is to provide as neutral and accurate presentation of our findings as possible in order to aid the Stakeholders of the Pilot Laptop program in their evaluation of the longevity and usefulness of the program.

Methods

During the first portion of research, all members of the class research groups conducted in-class interviews with the new Arts, Architecture, and Humanities dean, Janice Schach, English professors Dr. Elise Sparks, Dr. Bernadette Longo, and College of Engineering and AAH Laptop Coordinator Laurie Sherrod. After completing the interviews, the team met at Cooper Library and broke down the notes from the interviews to concentrate on the long-term costs and benefits of the program. After revising these notes, the research team compiled a list of specific benefits, costs, and hurdles for the long-term outlook of the program.

Next, the research group split into parts to examine particular items concerning the long-term evolution of the Laptop Program. However, after some problems initially, each individual redefined his research goals. Justin Haas concentrated on the long-term monetary, space, time and physiological (such as the emotional strain generated by not attaining a high-quality job because of the lack of technical skills) costs of the program. Seth Carroll looked at how the program would benefit Clemson in the future by keeping it competitive with other Universities and providing employers with a properly trained staff base. Mark Stewart examined how technological advances such as the advent of 2nd generation "laptops" and wireless networks would affect the capital expenses of the Colleges involved and the future of the program. Jeremy Christie looked into the projected future of the program such as who would have access and how it would benefit these people on an employability standpoint.

While conducting the individual research, the group met together to compose a survey of current laptop students. Wanting to prompt a response, the group decided to make the survey short and open-ended. Following the revision of some individual ideas, the survey was mailed out to all the students involved in the Laptop Program. Once all replies had returned, the group extracted what information was relevant to our research purposes.

Jeremy Christie put together a simplistic, straightforward survey posing the questions that were most important to his research and sent it to colleagues in industry, to get their views on the programs benefits and costs.

After all individual research was done, the team met to combine ideas and information. Each person was then responsible for writing a small, informal report of their findings. These findings were then drafted to form the final research paper.

Data/Results

To examine the need for a continued progression toward technological and information based advancements at Clemson University (i.e. the Pilot Laptop Program), it is necessary to monitor trends Information Technology and to examine their relevance to the evolution of the pedagogy at Clemson University. Since such trends that directly speak of the success of Laptop Programs have not been in existence long enough to provide any certain conclusions, observance of trends in a related area, like information-based jobs, can provide insight into the probable advantages of information and technology based programs on the university level. "Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now", a combined study of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, explains the growth of information-based jobs in the workforce over the last 195 years (Figure 1 below). Figure 1 (Par. 5)

Widely accepted historical data suggests these trends: the agrarian society of the early to mid 1800’s, whose workers livelihoods depended on cash crops (such as tobacco, cotton, rice, and indigo) gave way to the Industrial Revolution, whose workers livelihoods hinged on the production of consumer goods and manufactured products, which is, in turn, giving way to the IT (Information Technology) jobs of tomorrow, whose employees livelihoods rest upon the creation of e-commerce and information distribution.

The investigation into the long-term costs and benefits of the Pilot Laptop Program is directly related to this drive toward an IT job market, which not only affects the engineers and scientists of tomorrow, but the writers and the historians as well because they will be required to provide this information in electronic form. Undeniably, certain costs (both monetary and expansionary) must be weighed in the consideration of the value of implementing a long-standing program. According to the study "The Costs of Incorporating Technology into Education," by Brian M. Tissue of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the costs of implementing such a program are:

Monetary:

Capital cost of computer and network hardware and software.
Installation cost, including classroom and laboratory renovation.
Hardware and software upgrades.

Support personnel for hardware and software installation, repair, and maintenance.
Support personnel and facilities for training and support of users (instructors and students).

Space:

Space converted to computer labs takes the place of classroom or laboratory space. Classrooms or laboratories that add computers or space for computers can accommodate fewer students.

Time:

Increased instructor time to remain knowledgeable of advances in information technology.

Increased instructor time to provide high-tech communication or resources that are redundant with existing low-tech activities.
Technology instruction replaces science instruction (classroom or laboratory time).
Learning technology replaces learning science (student study time)" (par 17-24).
Tissue is saying that the costs go beyond the monetary resources, that they include space for facilities and time to build space, time to train faculty, hire administration, and redesign the pedagogy.

What benefits, then, are present to balance the costs proposed by Mr. Tissue? In several interviews with those closely associated to the program, many of these benefits were outlined. According to Dr. Bernadette Longo, Assistant Professor in Clemson University’s English Department and member of the Notebook Pilot Program Committee and Dr. Elisa Sparks, Clemson University Professor of English, the introduction of technology into the classroom causes an explosion of new teaching methods and an evolution of the pedagogies. In addition, Dr. Longo is proposing the introduction of IT teaching (online communication of students and faculty, online homework, online quizzes, online research, and computer assisted learning software), in the form of the Laptop Program creates an interactive learning environment between teachers and students. Janice Schach Clemson University’s Dean of the Arts, Architecture, and Humanities College also envisions an "across-the-board experience, where all students are actively involved in the learning environment."

A key example of this concept is the campus-wide laptop program initiated by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina started in 1997. Wake Forest includes the price of the laptop in the tuition of the students, replaces it after two years, and the machine becomes the property of the student immediately after graduation ( par 1). An important part of the , is a laptop community called STARS (Student Technology Advisors). This program involves intimate student/faculty interaction where students have "one-on-one partnership to explore the use of technology in teaching and research" (More about:, par 1.)

The results from Jeremy Christie’s Survey showed that the employees and employers in the workforce that were sampled, felt that the project was a positive addition to the University and was well worth the cost on taxpayers and students alike. This group also felt that any deficiencies developed in the oral tradition of communication, wasn’t the fault of the use of technology in the classroom but the failure of the liberal arts class such as English, History, and other humanities to adequately teach these skills.

Discussion

Education correspondent for ABC News, Bill Blakemore, summed up the dilemma of modern education when he said:
In the information age, the human beings that industry needs are those who can do their own thinking, get actively involved, work in teams, and be innovative, not merely industrious. The problem is, the factory model school, which doesn’t encourage those qualities, is still with us and needs to be replaced with a new kind of schooling that does (Reinventing Education, par 4).

Blakemore’s "new kind of schooling" could easily be found in the Clemson University Laptop Program, a program that teaches students to "…own what they learn" (Sparks). In the Reinventing Education study, the new age of information is introduced as something that requires people to think for a living rather than perform manual labor. This evolution of the job market forces the educational system to create innovators, critical thinkers, communicators, and go-getters (, par 8).

The opportunity, as broached by many, is in the way technology can open doors. For instance, students who previously disliked English, now enjoy the classes due to their affinity for the laptops in front of them. The laptops allow for an interaction and sense of community among the students and faculty alike. In addition, they allow Liberal Arts students exposure to technological growth, while fostering an appreciation of the Arts in students of the sciences and math (Sparks and Longo). This attitude was shared by Dr. John A. Dossey of Illinois State University in a speech on transforming schools to meet the needs of modern society:

Technology itself is not the curriculum. Technology is a key that opens opportunities for students to learn in the classroom. It is a way in which we can bridge what in the past have been large gorges that have separated students from opportunity. (Reinventing Education, par 16)
And the learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. Michigan State University professors have recently advocated a radical change in the teaching methods of universities to "…reformulate teaching methods to encourage continued learning after graduation (Interactive Learning, par 3). This is to be accomplished by the use of "…different teaching techniques…" (Interactive Learning, par 5), "…more classroom interaction…" (Interactive Learning, par 6)., and "Using technology…" (Interactive Learning, par 8).

However, there are many obstacles to overcome en route to this information evolution. From problems with the machines themselves, to lack of administration, improvements and renovation will have to be made across the board. Not only are the logistics of the program in question, but its place in the university. Even if the program continues, will it be campus-wide, a separate college, or integrated into one or more colleges that already exist all of these questions must be answered to determine the future of the program (Sherrod). Unfortunately, there is no real evidence from other programs, because none exist, to answer these questions. Therefore, the decision to move forward or not will be made with these uncertainties.

Conclusion

When considering these long-term effects, costs, benefits, and other details of the laptop program’s effect on the college of art architecture and humanities, one must take several things into account. Before making a final decision as to the future of the Clemson University Laptop Program, these positive and negative aspects of the program must be evaluated. After a close evaluation of all the long-term effects of the program, it appears that the program is a step in the right direction for Clemson University and should be continued. This conclusion is based on several ideas that were found through research. Obviously, when cutting-edge technology is involved, there are inevitable costs that come. Several costs were found during research. Some of these costs were tangible, while others were intangible. In the case of costs, it often happened that the hidden costs turned out to be more valuable than those that were not. Costs included such things as money for hardware and software, but also the loss of normal education and loss of time. These costs and several others make up the negative aspects of the laptop program. However, as our research showed, there is a tremendous amount of benefit that comes with the use of more technology in the classroom. Whether it be a simple thing like enjoying a class more, or being better prepared to work in today’s world, the laptop program offers an immense amount of benefits.

When weighing negative aspects against benefits of the program, the benefits far outweigh any costs that the program may entail. However, the decision to continue the program is not going to be an easy one.

The program’s pilot status and lack of support by some faculty makes it a large risk to continue. Because there is no tangible proof that point to the success of the program, it is difficult to gain support from some people. While our research supports the program it is merely an educated guess at best at what the outcome of the program will be. That stated, and realizing the risk involved, the laptop program should be continued. This conclusion is based on the idea that it is necessary to take risk to make great gains. Clemson University owes this chance to its students so that they can be more prepared to succeed in life. If this institution truly is one of the best colleges in the country, than its students should be given every chance to succeed. In the long run, the laptop program has a promising future as to how it can help students to succeed.

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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.

The data gathered from the student-survey effort (N=49) indicates the following findings:

• 77% of students completing this survey reported that the Laptop Program had a positive effect on their learning experiences at Clemson University. However, 35% of the first-year students completing this survey believed that the laptop program had a negative effect on their learning experiences at Clemson.

• 57% of the students responding to this survey felt that the laptop courses had some effect on their oral communication skills. Similarly, 67% of students responding felt the laptop courses had some effect on their written communication skills.

• Students completing this survey felt that classes in the Laptop Program had afforded them more contact with teachers (75%), more access to materials (81%), and more contact with other students (71%) than had their non-laptop classes.

• Students responding to this survey reported using their laptops to access the Internet (57%), WebCt (85%), and the CLE (57%); as well as to complete hands-on work in class (77%) homework (83%), tests and quizzes (75%). Students (81%) also indicated that their teachers used laptops for demonstrations.

• 36% of students responding to the survey felt that the Laptop Program had resulted in a positive change in their grades. In addition, 45% of students responding felt more confident about their grades in Laptop courses than in non-laptop courses.

• Of the students responding to this survey, 35% thought the technical support for the laptop program met their needs "all of the time" or "sometimes."

The information gathered from interviews with faculty members (N=3) indicates the following findings:

• Two out of three faculty interviewed for this project reported, "greatly enjoying" the laptop program.

• Two out of three faculty interviewed for this project reported that participating in the Laptop Program increased their effectiveness as teachers, supported more effective contact with students, allowed for more focus on course context, changed the way they structured their courses, slowed the pace of their classes, and allowed them to continue their use of student groups.

• All three faculty interviewed for this project agreed that the Laptop Program had resulted in more work for faculty- in part, because it required some alteration of their homework assignments and class presentations.

• Despite the additional work, two of the three, however, faculty interviewed for this project agreed that the Clemson Laptop Program had resulted in a better quality education for students and better teaching practices.

• All three faculty interviewed for this survey reported that the Laptop Program allowed access to better teaching materials and promoted better assignments.

• Two out of the three teachers interviewed said they would like to see "more professional development," both for students and faculty in the Laptop Program.

Background Information

The Clemson Laptop Program now in it’s third year of operation, began in February of 1997, when five faculty and staff from Clemson University attended an IBM Fly-In presentation on the use of information and technology in higher education at Wake Forest University. In the spring of 1997, Provost Rogers appointed a committee, which met to discuss information technology projects then being considered for implementation at Clemson. A few months later, the committee suggested a establishing pilot laptop program in the College of Engineering and Science (CES) and a university- wide Faculty Development Center. The Associate Dean of CES, Dr. Stephen Melsheimer, immediately formed a pilot laptop program committee, and this committee submitted a proposal to Provost Rogers in August of 1997. Dr. Melsheimer was notified, in December of 1997, that Provost Rogers would grant $75,000 for the new Laptop Program and expected the CES to match their donation. Martin Hall was modified to incorporate the Laptop Program with new furniture, specifically desktops that had special accommodations such as power and Ethernet ports. The first laptop program began in 1998, immediately after the college had finished modifications to support a pilot Laptop Program.
During the summer of 1998, a letter outlining the program was sent out to all students planning to enroll in CES for the 1998-1999 school year. The program’s goals included the following:

• increasing the students’ retention of information

• increasing CES’s retention rate of students from year to year

• improving students’ written communication skills

• improving students’ oral communication skills

• improving students’ electronic communication skills

• improving cooperative skills

• improving team-building skills

• improving asynchronous collaboration skills

The Laptop Program founders hoped that by trying to improve the overall educational experiences that Clemson offered its students in the Laptop Program, the quantity and quality of students in the program and applicants to the program would improve. In 1998, 100 students joined the pilot Laptop Program, and 125 new first-year students enrolled the following year. In 2000, the Laptop Program was opened to those in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities (AAH) also, increasing the enrollment of first-year students in the pilot Laptop Program to 175. After three years of the pilot Laptop Program, administrators are assessing it impact and identifying possible areas of improvement.

Now that the Clemson Laptop Program has been up and running for three years, program administrators are also considering possibilities for expansion: among these are the possibilities of bringing additional students into the Laptop Program, developing a laptop college modeled after the Calhoun Honors College, starting or extending Clemson’s wireless infrastructure, and/or doing more integrating with computers in higher level engineering courses. The results from our class inquiry project may help with the future planning for Clemson’s Laptop Program; hence, this semester is an appropriate time for our class to conduct an inquiry project on this effort.

Several factors have limited our findings in this project. First, we had limited time to design and have students complete a survey about the Laptop Program. In addition, the survey's length--six pages--may have discouraged more students from responding to it. Students in the Laptop Program have limited time for additional tasks outside their regular routine, and in addition to this survey on the Laptop Program, they had also been asked to complete several others. Second, we were not successful in persuading students to comment more fully on their answers or allowing us to interview them–both techniques might have provided us a more robust explanation of the data. Third, the population that did respond to our survey is self-selected. For instance, we did not succeed in getting responses from students who had dropped out of the laptop program. The perspectives of these students might have told us a great deal. Fourth, our 19.3% return rate (49 students out of 245) limits the extent to which we can generalize findings from our data to the larger laptop population.

Our survey data should be interpreted with caution. Only 18% of the total student laptop population (46 out of 245 students) returned completed surveys; thus, our findings are based on the responses and opinions of that relatively small percentage of students willing to complete and return surveys. The findings do not represent the opinions of the students who participated in the laptop program but failed to complete the surveys for our class project. Follow up interviews with students might yield additional findings, but students are often busy and reluctant to give up the time required for such interviews.

Carrying Out the Inquiry Project

Our inquiry project consisted of five main stages: taking care of background preparations, preparing the survey, surveying students and interviewing faculty, analyzing data, and writing the final report.
As background preparation for the project, the entire class did research on the background of the Laptop Program. First, we researched biographical information about the three original pioneers who established of the program: Dr. Stephen Melsheimer (Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering and Science), Dr. William Moss (Professor of Mathematical Science), and Ms. Laurie Sherrod (Manager of Clemson University’s Pilot Laptop Program). After class members had researched the backgrounds of these people, each administrator came to class on a separate day, and we interviewed them. Each individual told us about their involvement in the Laptop Program and gave us some questions that they had about the Program itself. To the best of our ability, we included their questions in the survey that we complied in the next three weeks. We also prepared for the project by determining the groups that we needed to form in order to answer our inquiry question. Eight teams were formed in all: 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. (Appendix A) Each student was placed in the group where he or she could best be used. Then we created a class Gantt chart (Appendix B) to indicate who would do what, when, and in what order. This timetable helped keep each group on schedule with the other teams.

The first group to begin work on preparing the survey was the Survey Team. With input from the class, this team compiled a list of the most important questions to include in the survey. To avoid leading questions, the team tried to use neutral language in the questions and to offer respondents both positive and negative choices for answers. We also included a "comments" section for each question so that respondents could place their own thoughts. After the survey was complete, the Computer Resource Team made the survey user friendly by placing it into Excel so that respondents could easily select their answers by clicking on them. To test the survey’s effectiveness, the Survey Team sent it out to six people identified as likely candidates by class members. We pilot tested the survey to see how respondents might interpret the questions. After the pilot-tested surveys had been returned, we made final revisions to the survey. The survey was then ready to be sent to the Interview Teams.

While the Survey Team was refining the questionnaire, the Sampling Team was compiling a list of all students in the Laptop Program with the help of Ms. Sherrod. Using the names given to them by Ms. Sherrod, the Sampling Team located the email address and phone number of each student. Then they separated this list into three groups: first-year students, sophomores, and juniors. After the final list was compiled, it was divided evenly among of the members of the Student Interview Team.

During the stage of conducting the surveys, each member of the Student Interview Team took the email address of each of their assigned students and sent them a copy of the survey. By sending each student a copy of the survey, we hoped to establish personal contacts with individuals. A total of 245 surveys were sent out. The Interview Teams waited one week for the completed surveys to be returned. Approximately 95% of the total surveys eventually returned were collected during this time. Then the teams attempted to call the students and ask for interviews. Most students refused interviews and said they would rather fill out the survey by email and return it. Not a single student consented to an interview and very few who promised to return the completed surveys actually did. A total of 49 completed surveys were finally received (17 from first-year students, 16 from sophomores, and 16 from juniors), representing 19.3% of the surveys originally sent out.

We approached faculty in another manner. The Faculty Interview Team identified six faculty members who were involved in the Laptop Program. The team tried to conduct interviews with all the teachers, however, the teacher’s limited office hours and the student’s busy schedules prevented this.

Only three of the six faculty members were interviewed. After all faculty interviews and student surveys were completed, the information was sent to the analysis team.
At the same time that the Interview Teams were completing their tasks, the Digital Photography Team was busy taking pictures with digital cameras. These pictures were then sent by email to a member of the Writing Team. These pictures have been used to enhance the look of the web page made by the Writing Team. The only difficulty for the Digital Photography Team was finding good situations in which to take pictures of students using their laptops.

During the Analysis Stage, the Analysis Team received all the information from the Interview Teams. First, the Analysis Team reviewed each survey and did a compiling of all the raw numbers. After the raw numbers were compiled, the team calculated the percentage of each type of response for each question. Then the Analysis Team looked for patterns in the data. The Analysis Team’s task took longer than anticipated because they had difficulty scheduling team meetings and getting data from all the teams on time and in an organized manner.

After the Analysis Team had completed all their work, the information was sent to the Writing Team and the Writing Stage began.

The Writing Team was in charge of submitting a final report on the class inquiry project’s findings. The Writing Team was given an outline by the professor of what to include in the final report. Each member took certain sections of the outline and completed them as soon as the material became available from the various teams.

The Writing Team had only a short time within which to write the report and had to contend with the interruption of Thanksgiving Break. After all the information was collected, compiled, and typed into a report, the Writing team placed all the information onto a web page.
Survey and Interview Results
The data from the completed student surveys can be found in Appendix C.
The comments from the faculty interviews can be found in Appendix D.

Analysis

Readers should note that not all the students enrolled in the Clemson Laptop Program, or those who have previously participated in the program, answered our survey. Surveys were sent out to the 275 students in the CES Laptop Program and 49 students (19.3%) returned surveys, three of these were incomplete. Similarly, we conducted interviews with only three faculty members teaching in the Laptop Program. Thus, our data reflects a limited number of responses. Few students responding to the survey took the time to explain why they answered as they did. For these reasons, as a class, we have tried to be cautious about the conclusions we draw from our data. The findings that follow represent our analysis of the data from our class inquiry project.

Benefits to Students

The majority of students completing this survey reported doing their homework on their laptops (82% of first-year students, 75% of sophomores, and 94% of juniors) and using the laptops to take tests and quizzes (53% of first-year students, 81% of sophomores, and 94% of juniors).

Students completing the survey reported using their laptops to access the Internet (53% of first-year students, 63% of sophomores, 63% of juniors), WebCT (71% of first-year students, 88% of sophomores, 100% of juniors), and CLE (59% of first-year students, 56% of sophomores, 56% of juniors). Students completing this survey also indicated using their laptops for both hands-on work in class (71% of first-year students, 69% of sophomores and 94% juniors) and indicated that their teachers used laptops for demonstrations (65% of first-year students, 81% of sophomores and 100% of juniors).

18% of the students responding to this survey (6% of first-year students, 25% sophomore, and 25% juniors) felt that the Laptop Program had a "great effect" and 34% (18% of first-year, 31% of sophomores, and 56% of juniors) thought that the laptop courses had a "small effect" on their oral communication skills. Similarly, 32% of students responding felt the Laptop Program had a "great effect" (12% of first-year, 44% sophomores, and 44% juniors) and 34% felt the Laptop Program has had a "small effect" (41% of first-year students, 31% sophomores, and 31% juniors) on their written communication skills.

A majority of students completing this survey felt that the Laptop Program had afforded them more contact with teachers (59% of first-year students, 81% of sophomores, and 88% of juniors), more access to materials (76% of first-year, 88% sophomores, and 81% of juniors), more contact with other students (65% of first-years, 63% of sophomores, and 88% of juniors), and better team-building skills (59% of first-year students, 69% of sophomores, and 81% of juniors) than non-laptop classes.

77% of students completing this survey (65% of first-year students, 81% of sophomores and 88% of juniors) reported that the Laptop Program had a positive effect on their learning experiences at Clemson.

Of the students responding to this survey, 32% thought technical support for the Laptop Program met their needs "all of the time" (24% of first-years, 31% of sophomores, and 44% of juniors).

36% of the students responding to the survey (6% of first-year students, 44% of sophomores, and 56% of juniors) felt that the Laptop Program had resulted in a positive change in their grades. In addition, 45% of the students responding (29% of first-year students, 44% of sophomores, and 63% of juniors) felt more confident about their grades in laptop courses than in non-laptop courses.

Problems for Students

38% of the students responding to the survey (24% of first-years, 50% of sophomores, and 44% of juniors) said that the technical support for the Laptop Program has met their needs only "some of the time."

24% of first-year students responding to the survey believed they had less access to materials in their laptop courses than in their non-laptop courses. 6% of first-year students responding to the survey thought they had less contact with other students in their laptop classes than in their non-laptop classes.

35% of the first-year students responding believe the laptops to have had a "negative effect" on their learning experience, while 13% of the juniors and 6% of the sophomores surveyed believe the Laptop Program had no effect on their learning experience at Clemson.

Although 36% of students responding to the survey felt that they retained more information in their laptop classes than their non-laptop classes, 55% of students reported either that they retained less information or that they were unsure about the amount of information they retained.

Benefits Perceived by Faculty

Two out of three faculty members interviewed for this project reported "greatly enjoying" the Laptop Program, while a third faculty member reported "moderately enjoying" participation in this program.
Two out of three teachers interviewed for this project felt that the Laptop Program supported more effective contact with students and allowed for "more focus on course content."

All three faculty members interviewed for this project agreed that the Laptop Program helped provide access to "better teaching materials" and promote "better assignments." Two out of three teachers interviewed reported that the laptop courses provided a "better education" and "better teaching practices."

Two of the three teachers interviewed felt that the Laptop Program had increased their effectiveness as teachers, slowed the pace of their classes, and allowed them to continue the use of student groups. One teacher noted "Certain topics can be covered faster giving me time to go into more depth on other topics. I have a lot more flexibility in the organization of the course." Another teacher noted, "My teaching effectiveness has increased enormously through the Laptop Program… I am now less competent as a teacher of traditional classes unless I take the time to integrate what I’ve learned in laptop teaching into the traditional classes–and that is harder than re-visioning myself as a teacher in laptop classes because traditional classes have so many constraints."

Problems for Faculty

All three teachers interviewed agreed that the Laptop Program had resulted in more work for faculty.

Two out of three faculty interviewed for this project felt that the Laptop Program demanded "more preparation" of teachers and caused "more problems."

Two of the three teachers interviewed said that they would like to see "more professional development," both for students and for faculty. For example, the professor who responded in this way added, "I wish the students had easier access to scanners, video cameras, and all the necessary peripherals and software to digitize video, CD burners, color printers, etc."

One of the faculty interviewed indicated that the Laptop Program needed to provide "more technical support."

Recommendations and Conclusions:
Continuing and Expanding the Clemson Laptop Program

• We recommend that the Clemson Laptop Program be continued as it provides an advantageous educational environment for both teachers and students.

• We recommend that the Clemson Laptop Program be expanded to all departments and colleges within Clemson University on a trial basis. Student participation in these trials should be voluntary.

• We recommend that the Clemson Laptop Program remain a voluntary program in the College of Engineering and Science.

• We recommend that there be a wider range of laptop courses—and more sections of these courses—offered each term, both in CES and in all college and departments supporting the Laptop Program. More specifically, we recommend that a wider range of laptop courses be developed for CES majors, especially at the upper-division level.

Improving the Clemson Laptop Program

• We recommend that the University establish a "Laptop Laboratory." This facility should be designed to provide faculty easier and more ready access to course materials and technical support for their laptop courses. It should also be designed to provide students a place in which to gain familiarity with hardware and software that would enhance their learning experiences in laptop classes. In this facility, further research could be conducted on the effectiveness of the Laptop Program.

• We recommend increased technical support and professional development opportunities for Laptop Program faculty. These efforts should help faculty solve problems they encounter with their laptops and become familiar with rapidly changing laptop hardware and software.

• We recommend increased technical support and professional development opportunities for students enrolled in the Laptop Program. These efforts should help students solve problems they encounter with their laptops and become familiar with rapidly changing laptop hardware and software.

• To support increased professional development and technical assistance we recommend adding additional technical staff to the Laptop Program.

• We recommend that the Clemson Laptop Program explore the possibility of using wireless technology and that such technology be implemented in as many buildings as possible on the Clemson campus. We also recommend that the Laptop Program explore the possibility of providing current laptop students the option of purchasing with new wireless laptops.

• We recommend that faculty teaching in the laptop program be encouraged to use laptops more often—and in more diverse ways—in their courses.

• We recommend that additional efforts be made to advertise the Laptop Program widely—both to students within Clemson and to incoming students—in an effort to recruit individuals interested in enrolling in this program.

• We recommend that Clemson recruit faculty who have extensive understanding of computer-based learning environments and that these faculty be encouraged to participate in the Clemson Laptop Program.

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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 students’ progress.

One such advantage is the increased communication among students, promoted by the use of laptop computers. Through email and online discussions boards, students are not only more comfortable with sharing their thoughts and ideas, but are also more inclined to listen to their fellow peers. In the classroom, when implemented correctly, computers can also create a student-centered classroom, enabling the students to become actively involved in the lectures and not just objects being lectured to. This is a necessity for young, impetuous adolescents who have not yet been able to lengthen their attention span. It is also beneficial because students learn more from doing than by listening, and computers provide a hands-on tool that allow students to do rather than just listen.

Some teachers have remarked that students are less inclined to pay attention when they have a computer in front of them. This may be true in some cases; however, it is an initial problem that can be remedied with experience. Once professors become comfortable with using the laptops they can begin to experiment and try new methods of teaching with them. To learn is to grow as they say, and computers provide numerous ways in which to educate. It will just take time and patience to discover which of those numerous possibilities work best for students. As students ourselves, we are not blind to the difficulties teaching can entail, and we understand that the responsibility of becoming educated does not fall solely on the professors’ shoulders. That is why we are willing to work collaboratively with the faculty and staff to create a teaching style that benefits both teacher and student.

Posted by Chris at 03:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bibliography by Chapter: Chapter 2

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

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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.


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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

The following attachment is a survey. As a member of Dr Christine Boese's English 102 class, I'm undergoing a research study about the Pilot Laptop Program to ensure its longevity. By completing this survey you'll be aiding the research that will be presented to the Stakeholders. You do not have to complete the following survey, however, if you do you will be giving your permission to be included in the survey for this grand project. Your help will be a great assistance.

Thanks,

Christa Benton

P.S.

If you are willing to aid our class in this project, could you please email the completed survey to me by Oct.20 @ 5:00.

Please answer the following questions concisely as possible.

What attracted you into joining the Laptop Program?

What advantages do you see in the Laptop Program?

What problems have you found in the Laptop Program?

Do you find the Laptop Program’s teaching methods to be a challenge prior to the traditional methods used before?

Do you think that the role of the teacher will permanently change from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side in the years to come?

Thank You. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Posted by Damon at 02:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 teacher’s 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!

Posted by Damon at 02:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 Boese’s 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.

Answer the following as concisely as possible:

How effective do you feel your participation in the laptop program will be in getting you a better job?

What changes would you make for the future of the laptop program? 

Should there be a Laptop Program in 20 years?

What challenges does the program face?

Thanks for your participation


Survey sent to businesspeople:


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am writing you this letter on behalf of my English 102 class. We are conducting a research project, in hopes of answering the question, "What effects if any has the Clemson Laptop Program had on students and teachers in the AAH and CES colleges." My specific group is in charge of investigating the long-term effects of such a program, its benefits and costs. Below are a few questions that I would appreciate you taking the time to answer, if you reply to this message you are giving me permission to include this data in my research report when it is published.

The laptop program allows the students to become familiar with word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets, and other software often used by businesses. Do you think this is advantageous?

The program gives the students a familiarity with laptop units. Do you see this as an advantage?

The program costs about $2500 for the initial start-up and approximately, $200 dollars a year for the students to keep up with the ever change technology. Is this cost to the students justified by the benefits?

The capital investment for the college, to wire its classrooms and supply teachers with the technology and training needed, is approximately $30,000 a year for staff members to run the program; $23,000 to equip one moderate size laptop class room, $40,000 for program costs such as spare parts, loaner machines, and software for 48-50 students. The costs come to roughly $100,000 for running the program for one year for 48-50 students. Remembering that some of these funds come from your tax money, state supported school, are the costs wore the benefits?

Some critics state that the expanded use of e-mail and other forms of digital and electronic communication, are weakening the personal skills of students, and making it hard for them to communicate face-to-face with people. Do you see this as a real concern?

Are there any benefits or costs of such a program that you feel are note worthy?

Posted by Damon at 02:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Inquiry Project Teams: English 101

Survey Team

Shipp Daniel

Mary Beth Wagner

Tim Boyer

Matt Baker

Allen Biggers

Computer Resource Team

Bryan Gaidanowicz

Sampling Team

Matt Baker

Student Interview Team

Matt Mill

Arthur Yon

Nick Nestal

James Matsinger

Amy Howell

Lindsay Houck

Brent Coston

Faculty Interview Team

Shipp Daniel

Tim Boyer

Matt Baker

Digital Photography Team

Thomas Johnston

Matt Baker

Analysis Team

John Nickels

Jen Hlavenka

Bryan Gaidanowicz

Thomas Johnston

Writing Team

Laura Brunson

Shanika Smalls

Grace Gibson

Posted by Damon at 02:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Posted by Damon at 02:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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
 

Question #2            
 
How would you compare your laptop classes with your non-laptop classes?            
A
I learn More
4
24%
10
63%
11
69%
 
I lean Less
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
I don't know
13
76%
6
38%
3
19%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
B
I have more contact with teachers
10
59%
13
81%
14
88%
 
I have less contact with teachers
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
I don't know
7
41%
3
19%
1
6%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
C
I have more access to materials
13
76%
14
88%
13
81%
 
I have less access to materials
4
24%
0
0%
0
0%
 
I don't know
0
0%
2
13%
0
0%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
3
19%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
D
I have more contact with other students
11
65%
10
63%
14
88%
 
I have less contact with other students
1
6%
0
0%
0
0%
 
I don't know
5
29%
5
31%
1
6%
 
No response
0
0%
1
6%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
E
I have improved my team building skills
10
59%
11
69%
13
81%
 
I have not improved my team building skills
2
12%
1
6%
1
6%
 
I don't know
5
29%
4
25%
1
6%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
F
I retain more information
5
29%
7
44%
6
38%
 
I retain less information
9
53%
0
0%
1
6%
 
I don't know
0
0%
9
56%
8
50%
 
No response
3
18%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
G
I feel more confident about my grades
5
29%
7
44%
10
63%
 
I feel less confident about my grades
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
I don't know
9
53%
9
56%
4
25%
 
No response
3
18%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #3            
 
Overall, in your laptop classes, to what extent are the laptops and/or software incorporated into the curriculum?            
A
Never used
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Seldom used
0
0%
2
13%
0
0%
 
Sometimes used
9
53%
7
44%
5
31%
 
Almost always used
6
35%
6
38%
9
56%
 
Always used
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Other
0
0%
1
6%
1
6%
 
No response
2
12%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
 
If laptops and/or software are incorporated into the curriculum in your classes, please explain how they are used.            
B
Homework
14
82%
12
75%
15
94%
 
Test/quizzes
9
53%
13
81%
15
94%
 
Internet demonstration
9
53%
10
63%
10
63%
 
Web CT
12
71%
14
88%
16
100%
 
CLE
10
59%
9
56%
9
56%
 
Student hands-on use for classwork
12
71%
11
69%
15
94%
 
Demonstration by teacher
11
65%
13
81%
16
100%
 
Other
0
0%
2
13%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #4            
 
Which computer skills did you have upon entering Clemson?            
 
Word processing
16
94%
16
100%
15
94%
 
Web-based research
11
65%
14
88%
12
75%
 
Designing web pages
5
29%
5
31%
6
38%
 
E-mail
11
65%
13
81%
14
88%
 
Presentation programs
6
35%
11
69%
9
56%
 
None
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Other
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #5            
 
Which of your following skills have been enhanced/gained by the laptop program?            
 
Word processing
9
53%
11
69%
7
44%
 
Web-based research
7
41%
11
69%
12
75%
 
Designing web pages
10
59%
13
81%
13
81%
 
E-mail
8
47%
8
50%
9
56%
 
Presentation programs
0
0%
13
81%
14
88%
 
None
3
18%
4
25%
1
6%
 
Other
0
0%
1
6%
2
13%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #6            
 
Please rate your opinion on the change in your grades as a result of the laptop program?            
 
Positive change
1
6%
7
44%
9
56%
 
Negative change
1
6%
1
6%
0
0%
 
No change
2
12%
7
44%
5
31%
 
I'm a first year student. I don't know yet.
13
76%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Other
0
0%
1
6%
2
13%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #7            
 
How would you rate the technical support available for you and your computer at Clemson?            
 
Meets my needs all of the time
4
24%
5
31%
7
44%
 
Meets my needs some of the time
4
24%
8
50%
7
44%
 
Never meets my needs
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
I haven't needed any technical support
9
53%
3
19%
2
13%
 
Other
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #8            
 
What effect, if any, has the laptop program had on your oral communication skills?            
 
Great effect
1
6%
4
25%
4
25%
 
Small effect
3
18%
5
31%
9
56%
 
No effect
9
53%
4
25%
2
13%
 
I don't know
4
24%
3
19%
1
6%
 
Other
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #9            
 
What effect, if any, has the laptop program had on your written communication skills? (This includes all forms of writing both on and off the computer.)            
 
Great effect
2
12%
7
44%
7
44%
 
Small effect
7
41%
5
31%
5
31%
 
No effect
3
18%
3
19%
2
13%
 
I don't know
2
12%
1
6%
2
13%
 
Other
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
No response
3
18%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #10            
 
Did the presence of the laptop program at Clemson University have any effect on your decision, or your parents’ decision, for you to attend this university?            
 
Yes
2
12%
2
13%
3
19%
 
No
15
88%
13
81%
13
81%
 
I don't know
0
0%
1
6%
0
0%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               
 
Question #11            
 
How did the cost of the laptop program effect the decision?            
 
Had a positive effect on my decision
1
6%
7
44%
2
13%
 
Had a negative effect on my decision
6
35%
0
0%
2
13%
 
I don't know
9
53%
6
38%
5
31%
 
Other
1
6%
3
19%
6
38%
 
No response
0
0%
0
0%
1
6%
 
Total:
17  
16  
16  
               
               

Posted by Damon at 02:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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: I’m 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.

The laptop program has affected your teaching by which of the following?

Response: I would say "more work for me," "less work for the students," "more preparation," "less effective contact with students," "more classroom problems overall," "more interesting teaching assignments," and "better assignments.

If you could change one thing about the laptop program, what would it be?

Response: I would have to say "more professional development."

Comment: I did not feel I had enough time to prepare for the class before it started. Needed development earlier than the week before classes.

In your laptop classes, to what extent are the laptops and/or software incorporated into your curriculum?

Response: I would probably say "almost always used."

Comment: I would say four out of five lectures use the laptops.

In your opinion, does the laptop program increase or decrease your effectiveness as a teacher?

Response: It does neither.

Do you feel that the laptop program is advantageous or detrimental to the students in it? Why or why not?

Response: I feel it is an advantage in that they get to see different aspects of a class that a traditional class may not see. In my class, they get to work problems using Excel, not just with pencil and paper, as do most other classes.

Has the integration of laptop altered the structure of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes, it is much more laid back and less structured.

Has the integration of laptop altered the content of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: I cover the same concepts, we just get to see computer applications of them.

Has the integration of laptops altered the assignments/homework for your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes, they have book assignments and computer assignments.

Has the integration of laptop altered your class presentations in any way? Please explain.

Response: No - there are no presentations in this class.

Has the integration of laptops altered your use of student groups in any way? Please explain.

Response: No - not much group work.

Do you feel that the students are getting the same quality of education as those students in regular classes? Why or why not?

Response: Yes - they just might get a little extra material.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the laptop program?

Response: "I think the laptop program gives students an opportunity to use skills and tools that they will be asked to use later in life."

Faculty Interview B

1. How would you rate your experience teaching the laptop classes?

Response: Greatly Enjoyable

Comment: Having students who all have laptops (and having one myself) has made possible some assignments that I would never have considered when I taught traditional classes. We aren’t confined to the classroom physically or virtually. My creativity is let loose without the traditional constraints and I feel free to explore, experiment, and even fail.

2. How has the Laptop program has affected your teaching by: (check all that apply)

Response: . More work for me, more work for students, more preparation, more effective contact with students, more focus on class content, more classroom problems overall, more interesting teaching material, better education, better assignments, and better classroom practices.

3. If you could change one thing about the laptop program, what would it be?

Response: More professional development

Comment: Professional development is available but I’ve not had time to participate like I need to. I wish the students had easier access to scanners, video cameras and all the necessary peripherals and software to digitize video, CD burners, color printers, etc.

4. In your laptop classes, to what extent are the laptops and/or software incorporated into your curriculum?

Response: Always used

Comment: I can’t think of a day when we didn’t use the laptops for something.

What effect, if any, do you think the laptop program had on your to retain what you teach?

Response: My laptop students, at a minimum, are more engaged in what we are doing. I have no quantitative research to say that they learn or retain more than traditional students, but students tend to remember work that engaged them. The laptops have allowed me to create more assignments that engage the students at a deeper level. They are actively learning everyday in class, late at night in electronic discussions, over the weekend through email. My students rarely miss class. Who would want to miss class when we have so much fun together?

In your opinion, does the laptop program increase or decrease your effectiveness as a teacher? Please explain.

Response: My teaching effectiveness has increased enormously through the laptop program. The first year required me to spend a great deal of quality time reevaluating my teaching. I had to change almost everything — from my own code of behavior with students to my assignments, from presentation of course content to where we met. I am confident that I am an effective teacher. I am now less competent as a teacher of traditional classes unless I take the time to integrate what I’ve learned in laptop teaching into the traditional classes — and that is harder than re-visioning myself as a teacher in laptop classes because traditional classes have so many constraints.

Do you feel the laptop program is advantageous or detrimental to the students in it? Why?

Response: I think the laptop students have a huge advantage over non-laptop students. Laptop students have more contact with me and with one another; they have a community; they learn when, how, and why to use state-of-the-art technology; they see that the technology is a means to the end they desire — a form of communication that aids in completion of valuable work; they will know how to use technology to do their professional work.

Has the integration of laptops altered the structure of your classes in any way? Please explain

Response: Yes, the structure of my class has changed. Sometimes we build a PowerPoint presentation together based on our reading and then share that file for studying. Sometimes students teach the class. Sometimes we meet outdoors or downtown. My classes are more flexible now because if don’t finish what I had planned, we get on the bulletin board and keep going after class — that night or over the weekend.

Has the integration of laptops altered the content of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes, in English courses I had to spend some time teaching Web page design and creation which I do not have to do in speech courses. I also have to spend a little time with first-year students teaching them how to use WebCT and the CLE. PowerPoint is so easy that I have not had to spend much time on how to use it, but rather on what features are appropriate, how to design a visually appealing slide show, etc. I don’t think the time, though, is spent unwisely. I compare it to someone teaching a child to write with pencil and paper. You first have to show the student how to hold the pencil and to make marks on the paper. Then you can worry about spelling, sentence structure, etc. But what would be the point of teaching someone to write without the proper tools?

Has the integration of laptops altered the assignments/homework for your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes, as I said earlier, my assignments are very different now. Students do everything electronically in speech. Their outlines and PowerPoints are turned in to electronically. Their peer evaluations are done electronically. I can’t think of anything they’ve turned in on paper. In English classes, though, I did ask for papers over two pages to be printed and turned in as hardcopy.

Has the integration of laptops altered the pace of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: In some ways, the laptop program is responsible for my slower pace. Because of the freedom the laptops bring, I’ve built in more authentic projects, group projects, cross-discipline projects and those take more time than an individual project.

Has the integration of laptops altered your class presentations in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes, the multimedia projector is always on in my classes. Either the students or I am using the equipment to present electronically

Has the integration of laptops altered your use of student groups in any way? Please explain

Response: Yes, I use group projects in all the courses I teach every semester. I did some group work before I started teaching in the laptop program, but now it is easier for the students to stay in contact with each other and with clients.

Do you feel the students are getting the same quality of education as those students in regular classes? Why or why not?

Response: I think they are getting a better education because they are learning more about electronic communication — which will be necessary in their professional lives. Some people say that we are putting too much emphasis on the technology. One person from the CHE asked my students that question during their presentation last fall. My students practically jumped from their seats to tell her in no uncertain terms that they had to know the material better than the traditional students because they were responsible for creating a Website for all the traditional students to use. They clearly believe that they are learning more through authentic projects that are often only possible because of the available technology

Faculty Interview C

1. How many have you taught in the laptop program?

Response: Four years.

2. What laptop classes have you taught in the past?

Response: I have taught MTHSC 208 and H208.

3. And what are you currently teaching?

Response: MTHSC 208 and H208

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

Response: Greatly enjoyable.

Comment: I started the program along with Dean Melsheimer. I have enjoyed seeing this program develop from my first visit to another laptop program in the spring of 1996 until now. I have developed an entirely new way of teaching which promotes active learning.

5. The laptop program has affected your teaching by which of the following?

Response: I would say "more work for me," "more preparation," "more effective contact with students," "more focus on class content," "more interesting teaching assignments," "better education," "better assignments," and " better classroom practices."

5 If you could change one thing about the laptop program, what would it be?

Response: I would have to say "more technical support."

Comment: None

6. In your laptop classes, to what extent are the laptops and/or software incorporated into your curriculum?

Response: I would say "almost always used."

Comment: Either I am going over a Maple worksheet that the students have downloaded and are annotating or the students are solving problems using Maple. We have our laptops on all the time.

7. In your opinion, does the laptop program increase or decrease your effectiveness as a teacher?

Response: Increase. Certain topics can be cover faster giving me time to go into more depth on other topics. I have a lot more flexibility in the organization of the course.

8. Do you feel that the laptop program is advantageous or detrimental to the students in it? Why or why not?

Response: Advantageous. Laptop courses tend to contain more active learning experiences. Research shows that this is important. Laptop classes tend to have more cooperative learning experiences. Research also show that this is important and employers are looking for students with team experiences. Mobile computing is a fact of life in our society today. Laptop students are ahead of the game in that regard.

9. Has the integration of laptop altered the structure of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Totally. I give short mini-lectures and then turn to problems solving. I try not to be a talking head.

10. Has the integration of laptop altered the content of your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes. Certain topics can be covered more quickly allowing me to added content depth to other topics.

11. Has the integration of laptops altered the assignments/homework for your classes in any way? Please explain.

Response: Student turn in homework electronically and grades are reported electronically.

12. Has the integration of laptop altered your class presentations in any way? Please explain.

Response: Yes. I don’t lecture anymore. I use short mini-lectures together with class activities.

13. Has the integration of laptops altered your use of student groups in any way? Please explain.

Response: I used teams before we had a laptop program. The laptop gives the students another communication tool which supports team work.

14. Do you feel that the students are getting the same quality of education as those students in regular classes? Why or why not?

Response: Laptop students are getting a better quality education. They are being exposed to nontraditional methods of teaching which pushes them.

15. Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the laptop program?

Response: This year Clemson network services has embraced wireless networking. This will allow us to expand our program without the worry about lack of wired classrooms.

See also http://people.clemson.edu/~cselfe/ENGL101103/finalreport.html

Posted by Damon at 02:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clemson English 102

(Honors & Non-Honors Combined)

Assistant Professor: Dr Christine Boese
Clemson University

Students

Matthew Ables
Christa Benton
Jim Breitmeier
Seth Carroll
Jeremy Christie
Matthew Ciuca
Victoria Garner
Clarice Green
Justin Haas
Joseph Hecker
Anne Hosey
James Mullinix
Mark Stewart
Lawrence Watson
Cristy White
Robert Yates
Thomas Zubrzycki

Posted by Damon at 01:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clemson English 101

Visiting Professor: Dr Cynthia Selfe
Michigan Technological University

Students

Matthew Baker
Allen Biggers
Timothy Boyer
Laura Brunson
Brent Costen
Shipp Daniel
Bryan Gaidanowicz
Grace Gibson
Jenn Jlavenka
Lindsay Houck
Amy Howell
Thomas Johnson
James Metsinger
Metthew Mill
Nick Nickels
Brett Peterson
Shanika Smalls
Mary Beth Wagner
Arthur Yon

Posted by Damon at 01:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack