AL Cloud provides perks for everyone

Chris Daugaard

Chris Daugaard

Last week’s “Collegian” had a great article on a new campus technology plan, called the AL Cloud (AL stands for Active Learning, not that guy that lives down your street). From that article, you could learn the basics behind this plan to overhaul technology on campus at SDSU. I’m excited about it, really excited, and I’ll tell you why.

1. It’s not the Mobile Computing Initiative.

This plan is a SDSU-centered plan. It was designed to work best for our campus and for our students, not a statewide, one-size-fits-all solution. SDSU’s students come from many diverse areas of study, and our technology needs to vary greatly. SDSU is not a one-size-fits-all type of university.

2. It’s “device-neutral”.

There’s no part in the plan that includes mention of a “mandatory laptop”. This plan will let you bring whatever device that is able to access the material your class may use. For example, let’s say that you are to review a YouTube video or read a Wikipedia article. Both of these tasks can be accomplished quite well using an iPod Touch. If you would rather use that, go ahead. If you want to use a HP Laptop, BlackBerry, PDA or Macbook, go ahead. This plan gets away from the required machine and instead lets students bring their diverse array of devices because that’s what today’s world requires. How many of your jobs require Gateway Tablet PCs? I’d bet none.

3. It expands wireless access, like, REALLY expands it.

This plan would bring over 600 new wireless access points onto our campus. That would more than double, possibly even triple, the number we have now. Think about that: triple the wireless all across campus. Now that’s the wireless we’ve been asking for!

4. It lets academic departments be flexible.

This plan will allow your degree program to design technology use that’s best for your degree, not someone else’s. This plan was designed with flexibility in mind, not mandates. It creates the technology environment on our campus that we expect in our classrooms, and allows professors to use technology that fits in their curriculum, not technology that’s forced upon them.

5. It is pro-active, planning for the future.

Here at SDSU, our technology has been playing catch-up for a long time. We have been trying to stay current, not getting ahead. Mandatory laptop plans were forward thinking 5 years ago. I do more with my cell phone today than I did with any laptop 5 years ago. The real learning happens as we use the information we gain. Learning doesn’t depend on everyone having the same, mandated laptop. A proactive approach IS creating an environment where information can be accessed from anywhere, with any number of devices, to create an enriched learning environment.

The bottom line is that SDSU needs a technology facelift. Sure we’ll still need to do some web site work, and sure, we need to have more resources available to professors. But in the end, this plan accomplishes much, and it will go a long way to bring SDSU to the forefront of campus technology.