Living With Technology: Dorm Tech
Over the weekend, we helped our daughter settle into her dorm room at a large public university.
As this is our first child to “leave the nest” we were very concerned that she had everything she needs in order to be successful.
While my wife ensured she had all of the right items for her academics, health and comfort, I was left with the responsibility of ensuring all of her technology was in place.
As my daughter is sharing a room with a roommate, we offered to provide the tech for both girls.
Then I started asking around as far as what the university suggests and allows as well as what my friends who have had college students have learned from their experiences.
First of all, my daughter has a smartphone, which is probably the most important item for her survival.
Next is her laptop computer. I was thinking that she’d need a router and WiFi set up in her room. Nope. The university provides campus-wide WiFi. Sweet.
How about a printer in her room? Opinions varied on this. Students are given a printing allocation each semester. I was also told that students rarely print assignments anymore. They may do them on their computer, but either email the project or send a link to their teacher to “hand it in.” That being said, we did opt for a small inkjet printer that also scans and copies, since that can come in handy.
We had to connect the printer to the laptop via a USB cable instead of using the university’s WiFi network. There are a lot of security issues when putting tens of thousands of students onto a network, so while I don’t like the idea, I understand why the university has the rule. A USB cable connection it is.
The university does allow routers in dorm rooms where the students have a game console, television or other device that needs to be connected to the Internet. But the university disables the WiFi capabilities and does not allow students to share routers with other students. Again, this is a security precaution.
Other aspects of the university experience are all new to me, but understandable.
Access to most buildings is done by a personal identification card that is issued to each student.
In addition, very little cash is used on campus. The personal identification cards each student has serves as a pre-paid debit card as well as keeps track of their meal plan at the various eating locations around campus.
If the personal identification card is lost, a quick call to the proper college campus can disable it and ensure any monies on it are not lost.
In addition, students can log on and find their balance of each account and a transaction history. For students 18 or older, sharing this information with their parents is up to them.
While difficult to drop off our daughter at her university, we’ve had 18 years to plan for it. Between my wife and myself, she’s outfitted with everything she needs for college life. Now we get to sit back and watch our daughter grow even more.
Mark Mathias is a 35+ year information technology executive, a resident of Westport, Connecticut. His columns can be read on the Internet at http://blog.mathias.org. He can be contacted at email@example.com.