Contributed by Courtney Hime ’09, ITAP Communication Consultant
As spring approaches, it’s time for the Laptop Advisory Committee to make the final decisions about the new models of laptop for the incoming class of 2012. Mike Moore, director of the Laptop Advisory Committee said they are in the process of finalizing the negotiations with Dell and will begin to create the image (compilation of software) for next year’s model.
Every year the image writers work with Dell to ensure that all the necessary software is installed onto student computers, while at the same time making sure to keep the personalized experience of getting a new computer intact.
Since the laptop initiative began, the basic image of the computer hasn’t changed. Each model – or software package for Apple users – consists of the core operating system, the Microsoft Office suite, Macromedia suite and antivirus software. The incoming class of 2011, for the first time, also received the GroupWise e-mail client on their computers. Novell (network software) isn’t installed with the image, however, because students cannot connect to the network unless they are on campus. There is, however, a huge campaign to install Novell when students arrive on campus.
Last spring, the Laptop Advisory Commitee was faced with the decision of whether or not to upgrade to Office 2007 from Office 2003. Office 2003 is unable to read Office 2007 .docx files, so if they decided to upgrade campus, transferring files could, and would likely, prove to be a challenge. Ultimately the committee decided ro move forward to get campus oriented to the new software, a decision Carol Smith, Associate CIO for Instructional and Learning Services said she was happy with in the long run.
Smith said the Office 2008 upgrade for Apple users should be available to Mac users before the end of the semester. The team is finishing up the testing phase, but the plan is to have software upgrades ready for campus before students leave in May.
The team is now faced with the dilemma of whether or not to embrace Microsoft Windows Vista for next year’s image. Smith said they haven’t made a decision yet of whether or not to upgrade, but will be finalizing that as they finalize the image.