University Of Texas Colleges Require Students To Have "Apple Laptops"

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How many times have we heard about a school or a university requiring its incoming students to have a Windows laptop? The tables have turned, at least at a couple of colleges at the University of Texas. The Austin American Statesman, the only daily in Austin, is reporting that the colleges of education, fine arts, liberal arts and natural sciences, all colleges within the University of Texas, will be requiring that their students have an iBook or PowerBook. According to the article, the machines will be required to run Mac OS X, Microsoft Office, and other specific software.

Students who have their own Mac laptops are fine, but if they donit, they will have to buy new models. The university is offering a bundled deal on a new 500 MHz iBook for US$1000. The units will include AppleCare, and the required bundled software.

The University of Texas has a long history of being Mac friendly, with many Macs used throughout the campus.

From the Austin American Statesman:

Beginning this fall, the University of Texas will require students entering its teacher preparation programs to have laptops, and if they canit get the right machine, theyill have to buy it from Apple Computer Corp.

The move, which will be formally announced Monday, first will affect about 300 students, mostly juniors and seniors, in the colleges of education, fine arts, liberal arts and natural sciences. Many more eventually will be affected by the new program, which will require students to have a university-approved Apple laptop running specific software.

Apple will sell the baseline laptop for $1,000 to eligible students, including those entering the teaching programs and about 1,700 more enrolled in the College of Education.

Many students, including some who prefer PCs to Apple, are fuming.

"I think itis stupid," said Eunjung Kang, a sophomore studying to be an elementary school teacher. "I donit understand why they would require us to buy something we could do without. And on top of that, why make it an Apple?"

Kang does not own an Apple laptop but now will have to get one before she graduates. Students who own or can borrow a laptop meeting the universityis minimum specifications do not need to get a new one, the university said. Students cannot share the laptops.

Administrators say the laptops are needed to help future teachers become more computer proficient and incorporate technology into their instruction. They said students who cannot afford the computers will be eligible for financial aid to cover the cost.

Apple was chosen because it offered steep discounts for students and agreed to provide technical support and training. The company also has a strong presence in schools, said Larry Abraham, associate dean for teacher education, who backs the idea.

"We needed to have a single platform," Abraham said. "We didnit want our faculty spending a lot of time figuring out what kind of computer someone in the class is using."

Abraham, who acknowledged the laptop requirement could be controversial, said university officials have answers for studentsi concerns and that they ultimately will benefit.

"The exciting thing is weire the first teacher preparation program in the country that is making this as a requirement," he said. "Thatis the place where I see other (schools) will try to follow."

The Apple requirement

  • Model: Apple iBook or PowerBook
  • Operating system: Mac OS X
  • Processor: 500 MHz PowerPC G3
  • RAM: 128 megabytes
  • Hard disk size: 15 gigabytes
  • Connectivity: 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, Apple Airport Cards, 56K internal modem, USB and FireWire ports, external SVGA monitor/ projector output
  • Technical support: AppleCare protection plan
  • Software: Microsoft Office, First-Class, UT student software
  • Cost: $2,500 retail, $1,000 for qualifying students

The article also talks about another college at UT that requires students to have a Windows 2000 laptop, and other issues pertaining to UTis support for computers.

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