Plugging and Playing with Information Systems

One of the great gifts a college campus offers all its students is a plethora of information technologies. In fact you will probably be around more types of information technology during your years in college than at any point in your life. While you are on campus I strongly suggest you make learning all you can about these systems something of a hobby. Your institution will no doubt have some required course called something like Introduction to Computers, but that is not enough. How much is enough?

Let me tell you this little story. Every so often a friend of mine brings in the local weather guy from one of the networks to speak in her Introduction to Mass Communications class. One of the main points he tries to make to her students is “learn to learn technology.” He says this because in the fifteen or so years he has been a news weatherman for this station they have changed computer systems five—yes five—times. I am not talking about a change from Windows XP to Windows 7. I mean whole new systems. If you are saying “but I am not going to be a weather forecaster” you have missed the point of my story.

The point is no matter what your job is it’s going to involve information technologies. The more versed you are in all these systems the more opportunities you create for yourself. Perhaps that is why Indiana University required Lenovo ThinkPads for every member of the incoming freshman class of 2007. I think it’s great that IU wants all their students to have a laptop. I think it will be even better if IU has a commitment that every student learn that laptop’s full capabilities and not just use it as an expensive typewriter/entertainment device  . . .