College Computer Labs May Be Heading For Extinction

In an interesting twist, some colleges may be dumping their computer labs. It seems that since so many new college students are coming to school with their own laptops, that the traditional computer labs may become extinct. In one survey at the University of Virginia only 4 freshman students showed up without a laptop. In this economic downturn, and with colleges trying to tighten their belts, will computer labs go the way of the dodo?

According to an article at ARS it states the following information:

What’s the point of running a university computer lab when all the students bring laptops anyway? That’s a question that schools have been asking themselves as computer ownership rates among incoming freshmen routinely top 90 percent. Schools like the University of Virginia have concluded that the time has come to dismantle the community computer labs and put that money to more productive uses.

According to the school’s Information Technology & Communication department, 3,117 freshmen enrolled in 2007, and 3,113 of them owned their own computer. Nearly all of the machines were laptops, with 72 percent running Windows and 26 percent running Mac OS X (six hardy souls ran Linux).

Compared to a decade ago, the increase in student computing hardware is little short of amazing. In 1997, 74 percent of incoming freshmen owned computers, but only 16 percent of these machines were laptops. The Windows chokehold on operating systems looked complete, appearing on 93.4 percent of all machines and leaving only 6.6 percent for the Mac.  

But what about colleges where the students can’t afford to buy a new lappy? What are they going do? Is closing down computer labs a good choice in these circumstances?

Comments welcome.

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.