Bring Your Own Device

by | Nov 13, 2016 | Featured, Uncategorized

Most students probably have heard a little about the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program that has been put in place but let’s review the basics and what are the upsides and downsides.

The program is simply one in which students use their own technological devices instead of one provided by NAIT. The devices are usually a laptop or tablet but smartphones are sometimes included as well. The BYOD program is quite new at NAIT and coincides with the opening of the Centre for Applied Technology building. The CAT building is primarily a BYOD-focused building and, starting this year a program may require students to have their own device. Examples include many of the business and engineering courses.

There are benefits to this change to a BYOD approach. Students may find it more convenient to use their laptop, which for some may be better suited for their program than the average lab computer. This means you can work on your homework or project without having to wait for a computer or a lab period. You also become familiar with the program much quicker as you have unrestricted access to it and the freedom to play with the settings. All of your data is safely stored in one place – just remember to save periodically because crashes do still happen.

This move also saves NAIT money with reduced expenditures on supporting and maintaining computer labs. Many students already have their own devices anyways, so as long as the device meets any technical requirements for course software, students don’t have anything to worry about.

For those that do not have a device or your device’s technical specifications fail to meet the requirements, this isn’t as helpful. Students can utilize Student Aid funding to subsidize the cost of a new device but the price tag can be a deterrent if there is a higher-end technical component needed for course software. However, there will be support for students.

“What we would do, is respond with [a] long-term loan for students identified as meeting those requirements of student need,” explained Darryl Allenby, NAIT director of ITS in an interview earlier this year. Although the process is not currently fully defined, being handled by a department separate from ITS, there will be equipment available on loan to students.

Students concerned about IT support on campus don’t need to worry either, as they will be able to access some assistance from NAIT support staff in three different locations on campus: in the CAT building, the HP Computer Commons, and in Room T-307.

“The thing that looks different now is that our support elements have been better defined and are now operational. Our actual ability to assist students interacting with our support channels is the major change,” said Allenby.

“From an ITS perspective, there’s the potential now for faculty members to deliver curriculum and students would be participating through their devices in ways that were not previously available at NAIT.”

Whether you need a device or not, the benefit of a BYOD program is subjective to each student. NAIT is not the first school to introduce a BYOD program. Many secondary and post-secondary schools are introducing or have a similar program in place. At SAIT, their Business Administration program utilizes a BYOD program. The Edmonton Public School Board is starting to recommend that students bring their own devices. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia has also implemented a BYOD program. Devices are a large part of world, so it should not be that surprising that “Bring Your Own Device” programs are becoming the norm.

Devices are a large part of the world, so it should not be that surprising that “Bring Your Own Device” programs are becoming the norm.

– Clarrissa Toone, with files from Nicolas Brown.

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