Volume 95, Issue 49

Wednesday, November 28, 2001
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Tories receive poor marks

No bus pass for you!

Rye High sets sights on laptop learning

U.S. makes disturbing discovery

Universities look overseas for brainiacs

E. coli leaves officials puzzled

Rye High sets sights on laptop learning

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

A new, compulsory laptop policy at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnic University has information technology students all wired up.

A decision passed by the university's governing body last May designed to force students to lease laptop computers will be put into action next fall, said Ken Grant, director of Ryerson's school of information technology management.

According to Grant, 450 first-year students entering the program in 2002 will be charged between $1,500 and $1,600 on top of their regular tuition fees in exchange for a notebook computer, which students will use during the school year.

Grant said the exact fee has yet to be determined because an agreement with a supplier has not been finalized, though students will incur the same added fee each year of their degree.

The school will be contacting all applicants of the program in January to inform them of the new costs, he added.

"We are changing the way our students learn and one of the tools of this new strategy of teaching and learning promotes the use of laptops," Grant said. "We're making the learning process more core to the way we deliver the program."

Ken Marciniec, VP-finance for Ryerson's Students' Administrative Council said his organization does not view the new policy as a student-friendly development.

"The issue is that the administration decided a referendum was not required to pass their decision," Marciniec said, adding the student body should not have been left out of the decision-making process.

"They say that the $1,600 is a non-tuition related, compulsory ancillary fee and they justify it as such because the university is simply a vendor and will not see any net revenue," Marciniec said.

Dianne Schulman, secretary of Ryerson's Academic Council – a body similar to Western's Senate – said students were consulted about the program.

"There has been extensive collaboration within the ITM department in terms of setting up committees that include both faculty and students," she said.

Similar programs exist at other Canadian universities.

Sherri Woodland, public affairs officer at Acadia University, said Acadia's mandatory laptop initiative, which requires all undergraduate students to lease computers through the university, has been in place since the 1997-98 school year.

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