John Limback- Director, Academic Computing
Northern Michigan University's vision for education in the 21st century is a learning environment that embraces technology to enhance student access, promote the development of independent learners, and encourage greater student-faculty communication and collaboration. To help achieve this vision, the university has implemented a notebook computer laptop program known as the TLC (Teaching, Learning, and Communications). This program ensures students and faculty have a standard set of tools (hardware and software) that meet their computing and telecommunications needs and enables quality support. NMU is the first public university in Michigan- but one of many nationwide- to pursue the idea of a "laptop" university.
The following describes many of the resources available for you in using the notebook computer.
HelpDesk Location and Services
The HelpDesk provides support for NMU-issued software and computers for students, faculty, and staff. They are your first stop with any computer problems. Help is available via:
The HelpDesk is open six days a week (Sunday-Friday) during the fall and winter semesters for a total of 72 hours per week. Please check their website for more information.
MicroRepair provides repair service for any NMU-issued computer for students, faculty, and staff. If the computer issued to you requires repair, a work order will be generated at the HelpDesk. Take the work order and the computer to the MicroRepair window. The repairs are guaranteed to be completed in two hours or the computer will be replaced with a working unit. MicroRepair is located beside the HelpDesk Learning Resources Center 114.
MicroRepair is open six days a week (Sunday-Friday) during the fall and winter semesters for a total of 56 hours per week. Please check their website for more information at <http://microrepair.nmu.edu>.
You will be issued a computer that is not more than a year old. If you have an issued computer that is at the end-of-lease (two years old) you will be issued a replacement model at the beginning of the fall semester. Computer replacement information will be sent to you via your NMU e-mail account.
You have the option of either continuing to use the notebook computer issued to you or turning it in before leaving campus for the summer break. If you wish to continue using the computer over the summer you must be registered for summer or fall classes by the end of the winter semester. If you are not registered for summer or fall classes then you must return the notebook computer by the established deadline dates. Details for turn-in procedures will be sent to your NMU e-mail address. Failure to return an issued notebook computer on time will result in late fees and possible fines.
If the notebook computer issued to you is two years old, it has reached the end of its lease cycle and you have the option of purchasing that computer or exchanging it for a replacement model during the fall distribution in August. The exact purchase price may vary from year to year. The purchase price along with purchase procedures will be e-mailed to you via your NMU e-mail account. The purchase period begins in March and ends the Tuesday after the spring commencement. Even if you purchase the end-of-lease model, you will be issued a newer model if you return to school in the Fall semester.
NMU-issued notebook computers must be immediately returned to Asset Management/ MircoRepair:
you completely withdraw from school
you graduate and have not purchased the computer
you fail to pay required fees
you receive a request from Asset Management to return the computer.
Failure to return the notebook computer will result in late fees of up to $2,000 and criminal prosecution. Note: Public Safety will take your notebook computer if the MicroRepair office is closed.
It is your responsibility to maintain the NMU-issued notebook computer in proper working order to perform required tasks. Refer to the Image and Information Data folder provided with the issued notebook computer and the Academic Computing Services website <http://www.acs.nmu.edu> for additional information. The types of maintenance that should be performed periodically include:
System operation updates (Windows updates)
Anti-virus updates and scans
Spyware removal updates and scans
Computer failures can happen without warning. It is wise to back up any and all important files periodically. The notebook computers have resources available for file backups such as a CD burner and USB ports for external storage devices.
When you become an NMU student, a university e-mail account is automatically created for you. The University will use this account to communicate information to you. Your instructors will use this account to communicate course information. It is critical you check your NMU e-mail account often.
Software updates are normally available at the beginning of the fall semester. If the notebook computer issued to you is a year old, it is recommended that you stop by the HelpDesk at the start of the semester, and pick up a new image software CD. The HelpDesk will have information for installing the new image. Back-up your files and folders before re-imaging the computer.
This on-line resource provides you easy access to your student information. You may check your NMU e-mail, register for courses, view your academic and billing information, change your address, get unofficial transcripts, etc.
The University provides thousands of network connections both wired and wireless for your use. There is wireless access available off-campus at most locations close to the university. Contact the HelpDesk at <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information.
Local dial-in service is available to all students. Over 300 local lines currently exist for use by NMU students, faculty, and staff. Statewide toll-free access is also available throughout most of the state. Please note, these statewide lines are limited so you could get a busy signal from time-to-time. You may need to dial multiple times to connect. Please check Academic Computing Services' website or contact the Help Desk at 227-2468 for additional information.
Repairs for hardware, such as hard drives and motherboard problems may be covered under the IBM warranty. Warranty claims are not charged to the student.
Students are responsible for the first $50 for any repairs due to accidental damages caused by, but not limited to, dropping, spilling, and extreme heat or cold. In addition to those repairs needed because of accidents, all damages done intentionally will be charged to the student. The office of the Dean of Students will be notified and follow policy as outlined in the Student Handbook.
NMU does not assume any responsibility for negligence resulting in theft to the notebook computer. If the computer is stolen from a campus location, report the theft to NMU Public Safety and Police Services at 227-2151. If the computer is stolen from off-campus, contact the local law enforcement agency. A copy of the police report must be provided to the NMU Asset Manager for processing. Please contact the Asset Manager at 227-1422 or email email@example.com if you have questions. Students are responsible for the first $500 of the replacement cost for the computer. Please inquire with your insurance company if your policy will cover the $500 fee or if an additional policy can be purchased.
Printers are available at residence halls, HelpDesk, Olson Library, and Jacobetti 206. There are fees for printing. Check locations for specific charges.
NMU's Bookstore sells a complete line of computer products including affordable printers and carrying cases. The Bookstore also provides an educational discount on software for students.
Scott Smith- Assistant Coordinator for Technological and Instructional Support, First Year Programs
Northern Michigan University is a Thinkpad University. All full-time students at NMU are issued laptop computers as part of their university experience. You will find these laptops to be extremely useful in your academic pursuits here at NMU. NMU laptops are used in many different ways to support your academics as well as for entertainment purposes. A listing of common uses, as well as some good advice for proper laptop use, is detailed in the rest of this chapter.
As mentioned earlier in the chapter, the Campus Pipeline is a great resource for students. There are several sections of campus pipeline that you should be aware of. These are:
My Pipeline contains several useful elements. These include a calendar function, campus announcements, personal announcements, and a book-marking function to provide hotlinks to your favorite web pages or documents.
Tutorial contains in-depth information and step-by-step instructions to help students master the use of the Campus Pipeline features.
This tab brings the student to the Olson Library homepage. Students will find this web page one of the most useful NMU has to offer. It contains a searchable online database of NMU and local library materials, as well as the many online journals and magazines NMU subscribes to. Also included on the page is information on the proper citation of information using major citation styles (APA, MLA, etc.).
Another extremely useful element of Pipeline, this section contains several important sub-sections. These are:
■ Academic Services
Use this area to view your course schedule, register for courses, view financial aid information, search the course catalog, view grades and transcripts, and update your personal information.
■ E-Bill Payment System
Use this area to view your account information or pay your bill. You may also sign up for a payment plan here.
■ My Courses
You may use this area to view your course schedule, access your course home pages, e-mail your class or your professors, and communicate with classmates. Note: A lot of instructors use EduCat for many of these academic functions, so not all of your classes will use this feature.
■ NMU Parking Decal Purchase Application
Use this area to apply for a parking decal online. Only currently enrolled students may use this feature.
This web page is mainly used by students to access, view, and/or alter elements of their account. This includes viewing account status, personalizing spam filtering, and changing passwords. This site also contains links to student homepage and e-mail address directories. Forgot your password? This is the place to go.
Students are automatically issued a university e-mail account. All formal university communication will be handled through this account. The university will not send information to secondary e-mail accounts (i.e., Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.).
NMU also provides you access to a web-based e-mail browser. Unlike Microsoft Outlook, you may access your e-mail using this web page from any computer with internet access. Use your NMU username and password to view your e-mail. Note: E-mail in your INBOX in excess of 21 days will automatically be deleted. Moving your e-mail to another folder will allow you to keep it indefinitely.
Of course, many students use Microsoft Outlook to send and retrieve e-mail. When using Outlook off of the campus network, you may have trouble sending (not receiving) e-mail messages. To remedy this problem, use the Nortel VPN Client. You can find easy instructions for using the VPN Client at http://www.acs.nmu.edu/1/4.43.php.
EduCat is a web-based course management system that allows instructors to enhance and/or deliver course instruction. In essence, it's a group of web pages for the courses
you're taking at Northern Michigan University. Each course has its own EduCat page consisting of many different teaching elements. The most common elements and their uses are:
Course Content is usually used as the course main page. Instructors usually provide a biography as well as links to the major EduCat elements they will be using in their course.
This feature allows the instructor to send announcements to the class. Check this feature every time you log onto EduCat, as there may be important messages from the instructor concerning assignments or due date changes, etc.
This feature allows instructors to give online tests, quizzes, or surveys. Some of these may be timed or due to be completed by a certain date and time.
Instructors can use this feature to disseminate or collect assignments. You can upload a completed assignment to the instructor here.
This feature allows both the instructor and the individual student to create entries on an online calendar. This is usually used by the instructor to remind students of impending assignment due dates, etc. Note: Not all instructors use this feature. Do not rely on this feature alone to remember assignment due dates!
This feature is simply an online chat room. It is a synchronous form of communication, meaning that it happens in real time.
The Discussions section is used heavily by some instructors. This feature is asynchronous, meaning that it is not happening in real time. In essence, it's like a blog. Instructors or students post information or an opinion, and others are expected to reply to the original posting in a discussion thread. Students and the instructor may read these postings at any time.
Students may use this feature to send a message to the instructor or another student in the class.
This feature is often used as a knowledge base for the students in the course. It may contain PowerPoint slides, graphics, glossaries, etc. that the instructor feels are helpful to student learning.
This feature allows the student to search through much of the material on the EduCat course site for particular items. This is particularly helpful for finding specific information on a large site.
This is where the instructor provides an electronic copy of their syllabus. This is probably the most-used feature on EduCat.
This is an area for the instructor to post links to online materials they feel would be helpful to the students.
This feature allows the student to view who is currently online and in their course's EduCat site. You can send instant messages or chat requests to anyone accessing the site.
This feature allows students to view their grades. Note: Not all instructors use this feature. Students should always check with their instructors directly regarding grades, unless the instructor indicates otherwise.
This feature allows the instructor to post and the student to see information regarding the student's use of the course's EduCat site. This includes files viewed, assignments submitted, time spent online, etc.
This feature allows the student to write themselves notes. Think of it as an electronic version of a "sticky or post-it note."
All of the online resources mentioned in this section require students to know their NMU Username and Password. All students are given a Username and Password upon admission to the university. If you have forgotten your username and password, contact the Help Desk at 116 Learning Resources Center.
As with any other type of technology, there are appropriate and inappropriate uses for NMU laptops and the NMU network.
The IBM Thinkpad can be an extremely useful classroom tool when used appropriately. Unfortunately, some students use the laptop for non-productive purposes during class time. This often leads to the distraction of the individual student, but also others around them. Some of the most common legitimate and illegitimate uses of NMU computer technology are listed in the chart below.
Of course, instructors are free to use the laptops in almost any way they feel is appropriate for their course. The list above is just a guideline. Also, it is important to note that an instructor can ban the use of the laptop in their class should it become too much of a distraction or hindrance to the learning objectives of the course. Proper usage of the laptop during class time can help keep the laptop in the classroom, and allow conscientious students to reap the full educational benefits of such an extremely useful piece of equipment.
One of the biggest problems instructors have with laptops in the classroom is that students sometimes don't pay attention to either the instructor or other students presenting material. Not paying attention to someone who you are supposed to be interacting with leads others to believe that you simply don't care what they have to say. It also can bereave the student of a valuable educational opportunity. This type of negative behavior can result in poor test and participation grades, angry instructors and classmates, and sometimes a class-wide ban on laptop usage.
It is important to use appropriate etiquette when using any type of online communication. This includes all e-mail, instant messaging, chat, discussion forums, etc., that you may be using for communication. The use of profanity, sexual innuendos, and threats (whether real or not) is strictly prohibited. Also, remember that many of these communications are digitally recorded and are easily retrieved by interested authorities. Electronic forms of communication are subject to the same rules of conduct as are face to face communications.
The use of NMU laptops or the NMU network to illegally download copyrighted materials is strictly prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action by the Dean of Students Office as well as possible legal action by the infringed-upon parties. To respect the shared nature of resources you shall avoid activities that unreasonably tax system resources or that, through frivolous use, goes beyond the intended use of the system. This includes sending chain letters, spam, or broadcast messages to lists or individuals, and other types of use which would cause network congestion or otherwise interfere with the work of others.
Unauthorized copying or downloading (and sharing) of copyrighted material is a violation of U.S. copyright laws. You may not redistribute copyrighted software, music, or other information and you may not attempt to override copy protection on commercial software. You can find this policy on-line in the Student Handbook at /dso/node/62, on page 57, Part 3 (Computer Network Acceptable Use Policy).