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Release: Immediate

Business students use newer, faster computers purchased from computer fee funds

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When University of Iowa business students returned to classes this week, they found new or upgraded high-speed computers in their classrooms and labs.

A total of 102 Gateway computers with 266 MHz processors were purchased with the $119 per semester computing fee that business students pay over and above the University's $51 fee, totalling $170. The supplemented computer fee was first collected this summer.

This summer supplemental computer fees paid for 82 computers that were installed in business classrooms, and another 20 that were installed in the Instructional Technology Center (ITC) in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building, according to Warren Boe, director of computing services at the College of Business Administration. In addition, 34 new computers were installed in the ITC, using funds collected from the $51 computing fee collected from all UI students.

"The new computers help students do their work quickly and spend less time in the lab. This should reduce waiting times," Boe said. "The added capacity means there are more computers for students to work on."

Business students can also use the computers in the two computing classrooms adjacent to the ITC when classes are not in session, he added.

The ITC faces heavy demand from business students who share the ITC with non-business students. Because general computer fees help to fund the ITC, any student can use the ITC, according to Lucy Luxenburg, ITC lab coordinator for the business school. The general computer fee covers software site licenses, as well as lab monitor and staff salaries, she said.

Consideration to giving business students priority access to the ITC in the Pappajohn building will be made by a leadership council of business students, according to Lola Lopes, associate dean for undergraduate programs for the College of Business Administration. The council also will make recommendations to College of Business Administration officials on how the business computing fees should be spent. The first council meeting is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 28. Under a priority access system, either certain machines would be reserved for business students or access would be restricted to nonbusiness students at the most heavily used times of day.

Boe commented that the new classroom computers would allow faculty and students to put together sophisticated Power Point presentations that include audio, video and Internet links.

The new Gateway computers replaced Macintosh and 486/33 computers with memory upgrades, Boe said. Some of the old 486 computers will be used at stand-up stations in the ITC where students check e-mail, freeing up sit-down stations where students work on class assignments. Four e-mail stations are in place and several more are planned.

The business computing fees also paid for a new file server, a high-speed printer in the ITC and 100 MB Zip drives that allow students to store large amounts of data on Zip disks.

Business students like the new computers and are eager to use them, according to Henry Wang, an ITC lab monitor. "They feel that they have their own new computers," he said.

The Iowa Board of Regents approved the $170/semester computer fee for business students in October after considerable input from UI students, faculty and administration. This is the same computer fee charged to engineering students. Tuition and fees for a business degree at U of I remain the lowest in the Big 10 Conference.