Northern Michigan University refers to its award-winning, campus-wide technology program as the Teaching, Learning and Communication Initiative, or TLC.
(NOTE: Please see Academic Computing's mobile device site for updated technical information on NMU's program.)
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 provides a technology package that ensures students and faculty have a standard set of tools (hardware and software) that meet a majority of their computing and telecommunications needs, promotes communication and enables quality support. NMU was the first public university in Michigan to pursue the idea of a "mobile" campus.
At the start of each fall semester, full-time NMU undergraduate and graduate students are supplied with a mobile device loaded with a standard set of applications and access to the campus network. A WiFi network blankets the NMU campus allowing students, faculty and staff 24-hour access to the campus network and the Internet. Guest access is also provided to campus visitors through an additional WiFi network allowing basic e-mail and web services.
Students, faculty and staff living in the City of Marquette and several neighboring cities also have access to the NMU's nationally recognized WiMAX network. This network employs next-generation (4G) wireless technology that provides connectivity outside the range of the NMU WiFi network. More information about NMU's WiMAX network, coverage maps and how to connect to the network can be found on the NMU WiMAX page.
NMU's technology program is supported by a help desk and walk-in service center to handle mobile device maintenance issues. Although electronic documents are encouraged, networked printers are installed in various campus locations for hard copy documents.
Cost to Students
The NMU technology program was created with the intent to save students money on the technology costs associated with attending college. When considering the services, software and support provided by this program, its value becomes apparent. In addition, since the costs for this program are included in NMU's tuition and fees, students and their families have one less thing to worry about when preparing for the upcoming semester.
NMU leases the mobile devices and issues them to students on a replacement cycle. Students or their parents may contact their insurance provider about adding the mobile device system to their existing coverage if they desire more insurance than the initiative provides. Continuing students who pre-register for the following fall will be able to use the mobile device through the summer at no additional charge.
Part-time students may, at their option, participate in the program. Part-time students may also, for a fee, check out the mobile devices from the library on a daily basis.
NMU continues to support and improve "specialty labs" as a function of need and resource availability. These are labs designed to meet the needs of specific academic programs that have special equipment and software needs (e.g. graphic design, computer science, GIS, CAD and others).
Most administrative processes of the university are available via the web. Students can register, check their grades and view their financial aid information. An increasing amount of information about the university is now available on the web, including: enrollment statistics, academic program information, department information, computer use and help information, minutes of various campus committees and much more.
The Center for Teaching and Learning in the Learning Resources Center is a place where faculty can, for example, scan materials for use in lecture presentations or on webpages, learn how to use new web development tools or other instructional support applications, and find/review materials on course design. Faculty can obtain assistance in preparing course materials from full-time staff and trained student assistants.