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UHMC laptop initiative offers graduation incentive

By Staff | Aug 19, 2010

KAHULUI — With the dual goals of having students at the forefront in using technology and providing incentives for students to achieve their academic goals, University of Hawaii Maui College is creating new programs to have every student online with a laptop or netbook.

A follow-up to the pilot Netbook Project for selected programs during the 2009-10 school year, UHMC is implementing classroom Web access for all students that will include a Help Desk at UHMC Computing Services to set up students’ laptops or netbooks for use in the classroom.

More UHMC programs will be recommending — if not requiring — a laptop, netbook or similar portable computer for students to access presentations, materials and assignments.    

Students continuing in the original Netbook Project programs will continue to use the Dell Netbooks provided in the pilot program.

New this year is a Laptop Graduation Incentive for all UHMC students who purchase a laptop or netbook for class work in the coming school year.

They will be eligible for a partial reimbursement for the cost of their computers when they successfully complete their courses. 

A graduate receiving a Certificate of Achievement in a one-year program will be eligible for a $200 payment. A graduate receiving an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree will be eligible for a $400 reimbursement.  

The graduation incentive will apply to a portable computer purchased after July 1 and will require students to verify the purchase with a receipt and the computer.

The graduation incentive is an option for all students who purchase a laptop or netbook with basic capabilities such as word processing, spreadsheet/database, Internet access and playing media. They are free to select a brand and model that suits their educational needs best and meet class and program specifications.

For UHMC students, Dell will continue to provide discounted Netbooks configured to basic UHMC requirements for coursework. Dell is providing Latitude business-class models that meet minimum requirements, but some classes may require additional specific software.

The two Dell purchase options are discounted from base prices and include a three-year professional warranty that would normally add $208 to the base price.

UHMC students who already have or are purchasing other laptop or netbook models should check with their instructors and program regarding requirements for specialized software.  Students can receive assistance from Computing Services at Ka`a`ike 220, which will provide technical assistance on setting up or inputting necessary software.

“UH Maui College is finding ways to expand student access to the Web and to provide classroom environments that build on the opportunities for enhanced learning provided by the Internet,” UHMC Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto said.

The Laptop Graduation Incentive is supported by a $1.5 million grant from an anonymous donor whose goal is to equip every student with 21st Century tools for learning — a computer and Internet access.

“This generous donation is making it possible for UHMC faculty to implement innovative instructional applications that incorporate networking software with curriculum developments and instructional materials,” Sakamoto said.

During the past year, he explained, UHMC introduced a computer-assisted math program, “MyMathLab,” which is being incorporated into the UHMC Laptop Initiative to allow UHMC students to utilize this learning tool when they are off campus. 

MyMathLab is a self-paced program designed to improve student retention and performance in mathematics.

Information about this and other computer and software purchase options can be found at www.maui.hawaii.edu/student/computers.php. Students, as well as UHMC faculty and staff, can take advantage of the Dell offer through the site.