The Long Term Notebook Computer Loan Scheme

by Raymond Poon

A pilot scheme, the Long Term Notebook Computer Loan Scheme (LLS) for students, was considered by the Committee on Information Services and Technology (CIST) at its meeting on 7 April 2008. The LLS was later approved by the Senate on May 20 2008. It is a mobile support scheme in which the University will purchase a lot of notebook computers and then loan them to selected groups of students for piloting a new mode of teaching and learning using mobile devices. All UGC-funded full-time Undergraduate and Associate Degree students except those who are in their final year are eligible for the LLS. As these notebook computers are owned by the University, all applicable site-licensed software can be installed on them free of charge.

The notebook computers provided to students under the LLS (referred to as notebook computers hereafter) are not loaned to eligible students automatically; they have to apply for one. Once approved, students can borrow notebook computers for free, but they will be liable for any damage, repair, or loss not being covered by the warranty. They can keep the notebook computers until graduation as long as they comply with the University policies and regulations and make all the required payments (e.g. tuition, repair charge, etc.) during the loan period. The notebook computers issued to students are the properties of the University and are on loan to students for their personal use only. Students thus must not lend or transfer their notebook computers to someone else. Students can terminate the LLS at any time by returning the notebook computers to the University. Once withdrawn from the LLS, a student cannot rejoin it again even when they enroll in a different programme eligible for the LLS. The notebook computers must be returned in good working order and on time at the end of the study period, at the termination of the LLS, or at a time specified by the University (as in the case of withdrawal from studies or of random inspection as required by the University audit processes). Any student who fails to do so will be required to pay for the original market price of the computer. For students who have left the University without returning the notebook computers on loan to them, the University will treat such cases very seriously and pursue all legal means to recover the notebook computers from the students.

To encourage students to bring their notebook computers to campus on a regular basis, the models selected for the LLS tend to be relatively small in size, light weight and with reasonable battery life while have sufficient power and capacity to deal with most of the learning needs of the students.

Students eligible for the LLS will apply and select the notebook computers through on-line application. In order to protect the University's assets, students will be required to confirm their compliance with a "LLS Agreement" at the application time. They will also be asked to sign the same agreement when they collect the notebook computers so that they can fully understand their obligations.

Student Option under the Microsoft's Campus Agreement to be Offered to Students Not Joining LLS

As approved in the same paper submitted to Senate, CityU students not joining the LLS will be provided with free use of the same licensed software products installed on the LLS notebook computers. In particular, the Microsoft software Office Enterprise and ForeFront Client Security (anti-virus software) will be made available to all CityU students not joining the LLS through the subscription of the Student Option (SO) under the existing Microsoft's Campus Agreement (MCA). As long as the SO under MCA (MCA SO) for Office Enterprise and Forefront are subscribed by the University, each full-time and part-time student of the University and the CCCU will be entitled to (a) one license for each of these two kinds of software to be installed on one computer owned by him/her; (b) free upgrades to the newer versions of these two kinds of software whenever they become available, and (c) the perpetual use rights for the most current versions of these two kinds of software available at the time of graduation.

Use of the licensed product by students is governed by the terms of the University's licensing agreement. To ensure all students understand the appropriate use rights of the licensed products, students must apply for the MCA SO through on-line application and confirm their compliance with the "Agreement on the Use of Microsoft Student Option" at application time. Students will also be asked to sign the same agreement when picking up their MCA SO software media.

The Arrangements and Administration of LLS and MCA SO

Detailed arrangements and the administration of the LLS and the MCA SO will be announced in October 2008. It is expected that the notebook computers will be ready for collection before Semester B 2008-09.