University of Vermont

Tablet PC

What is a Tablet PC?


Gateway M285

A Tablet PC is a personal computer with a Sensitive screen that interacts with a specialized pen.  The important thing to recognize is that it is a fully-functional notebook PC with additional features and you are not sacrificing any functionality of a personal computer while adding another way to use a personal computer for a minimal additional cost.

Fundamentally, computers are solutions and a Tablet PC is just a much more natural computing solution in more situations.  The Tablet PC platform is exciting for a variety of industries today because it is in line with the focus of providing access to information anytime and anywhere in increasingly mobile environments.

There are two prevalent form factors of Tablet PC’s: Slate model tablets and Convertible model Tablets.  The defining difference between these two models is how the Keyboard is attached to the device; a Slate model tablet is fully operational as just a slate interface with no keyboard attached and a convertible Tablet PC has an onboard keyboard (just like a standard notebook PC) with the additional capability of ‘spinning’ the screen over the keyboard to ‘convert’ into a Tablet. 

Why require a Tablet PC for Students?

    The School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont has had a mobile computing requirement for incoming students since 1999.  In 2004, the recommended computer model was changed to be a convertible Tablet PC (a Gateway M275).  As of 2007, there are about ~700 School of Business Administration students with a Tablet PC on campus.   To assess the value and practicality of the features afforded by the Tablet PC, we have conducted surveys for the last three years of students in our introductory information systems class and this past Fall started to conduct a similar computer usage survey of our Juniors & Seniors.  

     To preface our results, it is important that we make clear our current perceived and measured technology offerings in the Curriculum at the School of Business Administration at UVM.  For the past 5 years we have conducted a standardized exit interview of our graduating seniors to measure their satisfaction and opinion of our entire academic program on a variety of dimensions.  Consistently, for the past 5 years one of our highest scoring factors has been the assessment of our computing facilities, our integration of technology throughout our courses and our technical services.   We believe that our technical offerings have been and continue to be a strength of our program and not a weakness.

    To further assess how technology is entwined in our curriculum, we have conducted a standardized major field test in business (through Educational Testing Services) over the past 2 years and only 5% of all student taking ETS have ranked higher in the quantitative math and information systems area.   Student satisfaction and performance, both formally and informally collected, indicate that switching to a Tablet PC requirement has strengthened that opinion and we look forward to continuing to evaluate our performance and the value of our technology offerings in our curriculum.

Last modified May 25 2007 10:32 AM

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