There has been a lot of change within pharmacy education over the past 15 years as schools and colleges of pharmacy, either independently or collaboratively with their institution, have invested in the use of technology for the processes of teaching, learning and assessment. One of the changes brought with the evolving technology is the onset of laptop initiatives. Theses are programs in which students bring either a provided or pre-determined laptop to classes and the use of technology within the program is greatly enhanced. Implementing a laptop initiative is a long term process requiring planning, implementation and budgetary support. This article provides an overview of the different ways a laptop initiative can be implemented, the pros and cons of different methods, the reasons for starting a laptop initiative, and some general challenges.
Types Of Laptop Programs And Strategies For Implementation
There are several different ways a laptop program can be implemented. What follows are the most common strategies for implementing a laptop program and the issues arising from each of the approaches.
Required Purchase Program
In the required purchase program the laptop is the property of the student unless there is some mechanism by which the laptop is purchased back. Given the speed with which technology evolves, the length of time a student owns the laptop can lead to the dating of the technology. The amount of time the student owns the laptop can also relate to the physical wear and tear as well as support, which can be more challenging the longer the laptop is in use.
Since the laptop is required it is necessary for the institution to have replacement laptops for temporary use in the event the student’s laptop does not work, which could require the institution to purchase or lease similar laptops and incur the expense. In addition, the laptop purchase program should have warranty coverage for any required offsite repairs and a loaner available in this event. As discussed previously, onsite laptop support should be provided. Finally, pre-planning for laptop distribution is required as well as for any additional support related issues.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Laptop Initiative: Programs that ensure that all students and sometimes all faculty have access to laptops with a full complement of recommended software and tools for teaching and learning.
Online Learning: Educational programs that are available to students using a wide range of internet technologies. Most online learning includes use of a course management system that supports interaction with discussion boards, assessment with quizzes, texts and online collaborative classrooms.
Pharmacy Education: A pharmacy education requires strong foundations in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pharmacy law, drug interactions and diagnosis of illnesses.