All journalism majors now will need laptops

By The Mercury

Adopting a trend growing at journalism schools across the country, new journalism and mass communications majors at Kansas State University will now need a personal laptop computer - and they must bring it to class.

The new technology policy of the university’s A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications goes into effect with students entering the school in the fall 2014 semester. The policy requires all majors in the school to provide a personal laptop computer. Students will be expected to bring their computer to class and be able to access the Internet as well as create and edit multimedia projects for class assignments, said Birgit Wassmuth, A.Q. Miller School director.

“As more universities across the country are adopting similar policies, faculty from the A.Q. Miller School felt the time is right to enrich the educational experience of its students,” Wassmuth said. “We expect our students will save money in the long run because they will be able to access more material electronically. Having this policy in place also allows our students to use student loan funds for purchasing their computers or deduct the cost from their taxes.”

Research from the school determined that 98 percent of students already own a personal laptop computer. For those who do not have their own computer, the school will have a small number of laptops available for rental.

The policy originated in the A. Q. Miller School’s technology committee, which spent several months researching policies at other universities while considering the needs of students at Kansas State University.

“Assuring our students have this technology with them in each and every classroom puts our students at a more level playing field with one another. It also allows them to bring skills from one class into others that do not teach the same multimedia skills,” said Tom Hallaq, committee chair and associate professor of journalism and mass communications.

Student computers will be required to operate the Adobe Creative Suite software used in most courses offered by the school.

Established more than 100 years ago, Kansas State University’s journalism and mass communications program is one of the oldest accredited programs in the field in the U.S. The school was named for the former Kansas journalist A.Q. Miller following a gift to the university from his son, Carl Miller, in 1987. The school offers courses in journalism, broadcasting, public relations and advertising. It is accredited through the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

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