5.11 Mobile Computing Overview - Teaching, Learning, Technology Roundtable - St. Cloud State University

5.11 Mobile Computing Overview


Mobile computing has multiple meanings for a variety of users. To some, mobile computing may be as simple as a laptop; to others, it may mean a full range of connectivity that includes a laptop with wireless connections, a hot-synchronized PDA (wired or wireless), along with an Internet-capable cell phone. Wireless appears to be a new realm of technology gaining broad acceptance. In fact, wireless network communication has developed into an inexpensive commodity technology within many homes, airports, communities, and campuses.

Mobile computing integration at SCSU should include evaluation of a wide range of technologies while recognizing standards need to be developed, security addressed, and legal compliance and enforcement authority clearly understood. As with any major shift in technology, the total cost of ownership must be taken into account. Additionally, as the university moves to a heavier reliance on wireless, we will need to assess the value of this technology in assisting SCSU to carry out its core teaching mission.

A number of specific concerns about mobile computing have been identified, but additional issues may be uncovered during the course of the five-year technology plan. The following represent currently identified concerns:

  • security on a wireless network
  • total cost of hardware and software (TCO)
  • proactive replacement/upgrade cycle
  • integration of wired and wireless networks
  • training across all stakeholders
  • alignment of this technology with program needs and SCSU mission
  • dissemination of information regarding utility of this technology to campus community
  • pace of integration and adoption of mobile technology


Over the next five years, the university will
  • conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the opportunities mobile computing can offer users at SCSU
  • develop a comprehensive and practical implementation plan for mobile computing technology
  • consider the total cost of ownership concept when planning mobile computing implementation
  • ensure that the fundamental aspects of mobile computing implementation are fully addressed to provide robust service to users
  • evaluate mobile computing technology relative to teaching and learning at SCSU (see 5.4.4)
Specific actions, timelines, resources, and evaluation are defined in the following sections: 5.11.1 and 5.11.2.

Revised: May 2003