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Trinity University Ranked in Top 10 List of 'Most Unwired College Campuses'

 

SAN ANTONIO - Students perched on the steps of Miller Fountain at Trinity University can check their e-mail or homework assignments without moving an inch, thanks to a wireless Internet network that has placed Trinity in the Top 10 "Most Unwired Campuses" list compiled by Intel Corp.

 

Trinity students also can complete term papers while sitting next to the Magic Stones outside the Elizabeth Huth Coates Library or book a flight home from the balcony of their residence hall - all without plugging in their laptop personal computers (PCs). Professors can use tablet PCs to aid instruction, often roaming up and down aisles of classrooms like a talk-show host, interacting with students while transmitting data to projectors. Even campus safety officers - traveling in patrol cars or on bikes - can dial up information on their laptops.

 

"People are using the wireless Internet all over the place!" said Charles White, vice president for information resources and administrative affairs at Trinity, adding, "I don't think we could be any less wired."

 

In its second survey of colleges, Intel discovered that laptop PCs have become an indispensable part of student life, much like pen, paper, and typewriters were to their parents. The survey, conducted with the Center for Digital Education, examined schools with more than 1,000 students, calculating how much of each campus was covered by wireless, the number of undergraduate students, and the computer-to-student ratio. Trinity, with 2,756 students this fall, was listed as No. 10 in the rankings.

 

"Across the country, wireless campus networks are dramatically changing the way students, faculty, and staff learn and work," said Richard Beckwith, an ethnographer with Intel's research group, in a statement.

 

Wireless coverage extends across the Trinity campus to most buildings and to many outdoor areas, including some athletic fields. A map depicting coverage areas is online at www.trinity.edu/its/wireless/coverage.asp.  Use of the University's wireless network requires a Trinity user account.

 

Dr. White says more students are using the wireless Internet than the wired Internet. More than just surfing the 'Net, students and professors are using their wireless connections for blogging, pod casting, and a variety of other Internet-based communications. "There are way more laptops among students than desktop computers," he adds. "They don't want to be plugged in."

 

Several students noted that most laptops come with a wireless card for Internet use, making it a "no-brainer" to bypass fixed electrical outlets and data ports in classrooms, the library, or residence halls.

 

"One day, the wired network may disappear at Trinity, but that day is not here yet," Dr. White says. "We are way ahead of others in this regard. While its difficult to differentiate one school from the other in the Top 10 (Intel list), it's gratifying and very exciting to have somebody recognize what you've thought all along."

 

Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., was the top-ranked school on the Intel list. Rounding out the list are: Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich. (No. 2); University of Akron, Akron, Ohio (No. 3); Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. (No. 4); Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh (No. 5.): Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Mass. (No. 6); St. John's University, New York (No. 7); Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (No. 8); and Bryant University, Smithfield, R.I. (No. 9).

 

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