Why does it pay to repair your student?s laptops for free (and how can you afford to do it)?

Audience: Help Desk
Technical Level: Kinda Techie

The University of Missouri / Kansas City School of Law has developed a unique program to assist students with their laptop computer needs. The UMKC School of Law does not require our students to own a laptop, though most students do. This meant that our IT personnel spent a considerable amount of their time helping students with computer problems on a wide variety of laptops. However, the administration made a strategic decision not to impose a mandatory laptop requirement on our students. Instead, we developed the UMKC Laptop Clinic, which was designed not only to benefit our students and IT personnel, but also to embrace our school’s strategic vision.

Ostensibly, the purpose of the clinic is to make life easier for our students by providing the tools they need to keep their laptop running properly, and by allowing them to spend their time productively rather than on distractions. The clinic is manned by an undergraduate computer student, which means we exploit local university resources, and our IT personnel spend their time on more immediate computing problems. The Laptop Clinic Technician is responsible for diagnosing basic computer problems, imaging computers, installation of hardware/software, and running virus software in conjunction with spyware programs. The typical technician has extensive working knowledge of laptop computer systems and wireless capabilities in a Windows XP (SP2) environment. The ability to interact well with law faculty, staff and students is a requirement of this position, as is a good customer-service attitude. This session will discuss the initial development of the clinic, actual implementation, and the results over the past year. You will leave the session with the information you need (1) to decide whether this is a program you need and that would work at your school, and (2) to present a proposal to your dean.

MP3: JohnsonLR5Th230.mp3

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Phill Johnson
Director of Electronic Services and Communications
University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law

About Elmer Masters

Elmer R. Masters is the Director of Technology at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (www.cali.org) where he works on interesting projects involving technology and legal education like eLangdell, Classcaster, Lawbooks, QuizWright, and the CALI website. He has nearly 25 years of experience building tech tools for legal education and systems for accessing law and legal materials on the Internet. He is the admin of the Teknoids mailing list (www.teknoids.net) and has been blogging about legal education, law, and technology for over 15 years (www.symphora.com). He has a JD from Syracuse University College of Law and was employed by Syracuse, Cornell Law School, and Emory University School of Law before joining CALI in 2003. Elmer has presented at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing (where he organizes the program), the AALL and AALS Annual Meetings, Law Via The Internet, and other conferences, symposia, and workshops on topics ranging from IT management in law schools to building open access court reporting systems to information architecture design and implementation in law.
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