Minimum Computing Requirements
Reviewing your minimum computer specifications that your IT organization will publish to advise next year’s students takes on a little more importance for us since next year will be our first where we do not provide our entering undergraduates with a laptop. So out of tradition we start with defining the minimum PC and Apple computer along with recommended operating systems. The added influence is that it must be able to to run the core software such as MS Office (mostly Word and Excel) and for us the browser influence required for Moodle and our PeopleSoft portal. As for Browsers I was surprised to witness discussion of Internet Explorer for its problems rather then as a requirement. We wanted to bless Chrome but settled on FireFox again as the recommended browser.
My team of EdTech and computer technicians also entertained my questions about the relevancy of this type of computing specification. As in, why are we still so concerned about this. Well, it appears that the real motivation was focused on our adult learners. They have the narrowest margin for hassle, they need standards and structure. Whereas I think our concern for the undergrads is driven by our need to accommodate the faculty. Hmmm, common thread there “adult” with narrowest margin for hassle and the need for standards. So my team was not ready to allow me to rock the boat by relaxing the requirements to allow freedom of choice and possible opportunity for different modes of Teaching & Learning. But I think they see it down the road.
I got back into teaching this year with a course for Business majors titled “Information Services”. I bring this up because my experience with these undergrads confirms my belief that we need to loosen our control. They do not need structure but they will do what we tell them. I am only a month into the course but it has been eye opening mostly because for what these students do not know. So we have focused heavily on the Internet and Web influence on business today. I’m also pushing that they understand what Information Services really represents typically in the world of Enterprise Business Solutions. I will have to write a more extensive post for my reflections on teaching this course later in the semester.