4.0478 Computers for Faculty: Resource Allocation (2/56)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 12 Sep 90 23:50:05 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0478. Wednesday, 12 Sep 1990.

(1) Date: Wed, 12 Sep 90 16:49:07 EST (30 lines)
From: "Robert R. Blackmun" <ACC00RRB@UNCCVM>
Subject: Re: 4.0464 Computers for Faculty

(2) Date: 12 Sep 90 20:03:58 EDT (26 lines)
From: George Aichele <73760.1176@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Computers for Faculty (etc.)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 90 16:49:07 EST
From: "Robert R. Blackmun" <ACC00RRB@UNCCVM>
Subject: Re: 4.0464 Computers for Faculty

Thanks very much for the copy of the contributions re faculty PC's, which
I believe are as rlevant to social scientists, physical scientists,
etc. as to humanists.

I attended a conference this morning in Greensboro at which one of the
speakers referenced a survey of faculty members that indicated that 95%
use their machines for word processing, with the next group of
applications (note taking, information organization) used by 50-55%, and
a much smaller fraction (15-35%) used it for things like statistical
analysis, access to data bases, etc. I think this relates well to the
point that at least one person made: word processing doesn't itself make
better research or publications; it may enable a capable faculty member
to do more scholarly work, and some of that research and publication may
be "better".

I don't think this settles the question of whether the institution should
provide faculty members with PC's, even as an "imperative" (to avoid
losing good people). It does, however, provide useful information to
Deans and others who are faced with difficult decisions about allocating
scarce resources (even when that includes decisions about equipping
administrative offices with furniture, equipment, etc.!). My point here
is that such decisions aren't "computing" decisions, they're "resource"
decisions that are simply made more difficult by the widespread
attraction and adoption of the techology.

Again, thanks for the info.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------42----
Date: 12 Sep 90 20:03:58 EDT
From: George Aichele <73760.1176@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Computers for Faculty (etc.)

While I agree in principle with J. Eveleth's posting of 7 September, I
urge a qualifier: when the school provides me with stationery or paper
clips, I don't care who makes them, because I don't believe that that
makes any difference. However, many recent discussions here on HUMANIST
have shown that it DOES make a difference to many of us whether we are
using a graphics or a command line interface (among other
computer-related factors). It doesn't matter whether the reasons for
these preferences are "objective" or "subjective"; the computer is not
(perceived as) a neutral, transparent tool, but rather as something which
affects the ways we think and write. If we ever get to the day when a
micro on every teacher's desk is regarded as essential (and that'll be a
LONG time coming here in Adrian!), I hope the teacher gets some choice
in the machine she/he is to use (unlike the general practice in the
business world). And let's not forget that there are other machines
besides Macs and IBMs!

On an entirely unrelated matter (I hope), I agree with R. Smith, the
thing that comes from one's nose is a booger, not a bugger.

George Aichele