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.


Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.


  1. Jeff says:

    Minimizing the labs may be a far better idea. they are helpful in a lot of cases, and removing them entirely leaves those 4 (heh) without 1 at all.

    I could see a small cluster in the library being left for a long time.

  2. Buffet says:

    Check out “Why The Internet Is Leading Students To Failure” by Bradleybradwell”. Here’s the nuts and bolts of the issue. I received my education via the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. Granted, our great commonwealth usually ranks at or near the bottom of the entire country, when it comes to quality, but, during the entire time I attended, there were NO computers, and we were none the worse for wear. In fact, the only time you’d usually hear the word mentioned would be in a discussion about NASA, or a science fiction story. Take ’em out. They don’t need ’em!

  3. Ron Schenone says:

    Heh Buffet,
    Are you saying that having a computer for students doesn’t make them smarter? LOL

    It makes one wonder how many of those students are actually playing on a social network, or playing a game while in class?

  4. Jeff says:

    I have friends who used VPN and other port forwarding techniques to bypass filters in school to do things they shouldn’t. They spent more time cracking the internet per day for the first month then on school work.

    If anything, having WiFi in school is bad. having a digital notebook is not.

  5. Buffet says:

    Sounds like we’re on the same page. My sentiment isn’t loathing or disdain, nor is my intent to ridicule. This entire generation of college age folk, rather than benefitting from all this marvelous technology that’s so readily available to them, are, from my vantage point, a bunch of illiterate, irresponsible, apathetic nincompoops, hellbent on self gratification, with no thought of the future – theirs or society’s. What’s next? A race of complete sociopaths??

  6. Ron Schenone says:

    Yes, but they can drive and text at the same time !

  7. Buffet says:

    Another fascinating topic for someone such as yourself to do a piece on. Could you? I would simply love to see Lockergnome reader input on this. My question: what is the point of going to all that trouble, when one can simply make a normal telephone call and speak to their party – infinitely quicker and more efficient.

  8. Ron Schenone says:

    Heh Buffet,
    You and I know that. I think I can do an article about texting.

  9. Ron Schenone says:

    I mentioned this to my wife and she is doing an article:

  10. Buffet says:

    Thank you sir.

  11. Ron Schenone says:

    You are welcome.