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Class of '09 is Dartmouth's first "converged" generation

The Class of 2009 will enjoy four years of "converged" campus living as the first generation of Dartmouth students to experience a campus environment that enjoys Internet, television and phone service all courtesy of the Dartmouth computer network.

Eric Lauritsen '09
Eric Lauritsen '09 will be able to access wireless television, phone and Internet serivce anywhere on campus for his entire Dartmouth career. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"Dartmouth has deployed a wireless and wired network infrastructure that is ubiquitous," said Brad Noblet, Director of Technical Services and interim Chief Information Officer. "Not only can you get wireless service on 100 percent of the campus, you can also use your computer to watch TV, make a phone call, send an e-mail, or visit the Internet. A computer at Dartmouth is the gateway to everything, both on and off campus."

Convergence was achieved in spring 2005 when the College launched the pilot program, DarTV, when the cable and satellite television system was switched to the network. Noblet explained that the vision of implementing this computer technology was to provide communications choices and to enhance teaching and learning. Helping students develop a sense of network responsibility and an ethic of computer citizenship are also on Noblet's agenda.

Hundreds of first-year students received "eTokens," a Public Key Infrastructure security device made by the digital security company Aladdin. The key-like gadgets operate on the principles of cryptography and with two levels of authentication: something you have (the actual key) and something you know (a password to unlock the credentials on the key). They provide a far more secure way to verify users to network applications than the traditional username/password approach, said Noblet. At Dartmouth, eTokens are being rolled out slowly and will ultimately help protect all sensitive data and applications.

eTokens
Dartmouth's eTokens increase security. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

On the academic side, Dartmouth faculty tap into this robust network infrastructure in a variety of ways.

"The universal nature of Dartmouth's computing environment means that we can bring the vast resources of the library and the Web into the classroom and research an immediate component of any course we teach," said Thomas Luxon, the Cheheyl Professor and Director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).

Incorporating technology into teaching and learning is one of DCAL's activities and Luxon, who is a Professor of English and a Milton and Shakespeare scholar, encourages students to incorporate or embed television clips, Internet links and even digital audio segments into their homework assignments.

"The technology invigorates both faculty and student imaginations. It allows assigned coursework to be real scholarly work instead of makework."

By SUSAN KNAPP

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08