AT THE TOP OF THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL
LIS T I S A $2 , OOO-PLUS COMPU TER.
NEXT: CONVINCING EACH OTHER
I T ' S A WORTH WHILE REQUIREMENT.
by Steve Adams ' 71
YOU no doubt remember the term "required reading." You don't absolutely have to go out and buy the book, but blow off the reading
and you damage your chances ofpassing the course.
As with textbooks, no one's checking this fall to see
whether all 3,400 freshmen are packing laptop comput-
ers. But it's listed as "required"-and Carolina is pro-
ceeding along a course that one day soon will be hard
to navigate without one.
The new students arrived on a campus that looks
much as it did a generation ago. But the technicians
have made major changes. In place ofa hodgepodge of
computers used by students, faculty and staff, the Car-
olina Computer Initiative has created an integrated sys-
tem ofcompatible PC-based computers with access to
a fiber-optic network. Most students bought IBM
ThinkPads, outfitted with the features the University
specified. The others, assuming they complied with the
rules, brought computers very much like them.
The plan is to weave information technology into
the everyday academic life ofthe University.And while
a few other schools require personal computers, Marian
Moore, hired in 1997 as the University's first vice chan-
cellor for information technology, believes Carolina
already leads the pack. She says that while SOlne other
campuses may have more gigabytes or more miles of
fiber-optic cable,"no other university understands that
computers are becoming part of the infrastructure."
The laptop requirement is all about possibilities. Junior Ailee Tempest shows us that the
classroom is just the most obvious.