Adapting to the Era of Information: While Some Tribal Colleges Are Working to Give Students Access to the Internet, a Digital Divide Persists

By Stuart, Reginald | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 27, 2008 | Go to article overview

Adapting to the Era of Information: While Some Tribal Colleges Are Working to Give Students Access to the Internet, a Digital Divide Persists


Stuart, Reginald, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When professors at Northwest Indian College began giving more and more assignments requiring the use of the Internet for study and research, a harsh reality began to set in: More than a few students at the tribal college couldn't make good use of this increasingly important electronic path to knowledge of the world.

Despite having wireless connectivity to the Internet on campus, the students could not afford a laptop computer of their own to access the Internet. Using the school's three computer labs was also problematic, as many students were working parents who traveled long distances and had little time to stay on campus after classes to use school computers to go online. There was also the problem of not being able to afford increasingly expensive Internet access at home.

Rather than write the students off or risk seeing them lose interest in a college education for lack of the modern tools, the Bellingham, Wash.-based college that serves students throughout the state and in Idaho came up with a simple solution: use funds from a small federal grant to purchase 15 laptop computers and have a laptop loan program for students, one that runs much like borrowing a book from a library.

"It makes things a lot easier," says Amber Forslund, a 25-year-old single mom studying Native environmental science. With no computer of her own and no Internet access at home, Forslund says the laptop loan program has made the Internet far more accessible to her and has made a tremendous difference in helping her pursue career goals.

"I had to cram everything in" between classes, work and parenting responsibilities, Forslund says, describing her juggling act before she got a laptop from the loan program.

Now, there's "less stress" in nearly every aspect of her life, she says, echoing the sentiments of other students in the program. Forslund is using less energy scrambling for time and access to computers in the school computer lab. She's got more time to use the Internet for study and research, an especially important asset now that she is focusing on her major courses.

"When I don't understand things, I can go on the Internet for help in understanding some of my textbooks. If you get on the Web, there is so much more that's available to you." An added benefit, Forslund says, is the ability the Internet affords her to search for badly needed scholarship money.

Like Forslund, qualifying students are allowed to borrow a laptop for up to two weeks at a time, with loan renewals based on academic performance, how many people are on the wait list to borrow a computer and other similar measures. Student participants also get a thumb drive at the start of the school year on which to store their work.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"We can't afford to buy everyone laptops, but it's a moderately effective way to help them access the Internet," says Chris Flack, director of student support services at Northwest Indian College, where the average student is a 29-year-old female with at least one dependent, according to the school's Web site. "If we are asking students to participate in Internet activities, that it's a requirement, it can be problematic," says Flack.

A small gesture in the larger world of the Internet and higher education, for sure. Yet a giant step for tribal colleges seeking to help their students become competitive in a rapidly changing world.

As illustrated by Northwest's experience, bringing the Internet to tribal college students is no easy task, tribal college officials have learned. In an era where some colleges across the nation have poured millions of dollars into cutting edge computer and Internet technology as a drawing card for teachers, staff and students, tribal colleges are finding myriad hurdles--financial, technological, geographical and cultural--in their quests to become technologically relevant and thus appealing to increasingly tech-smart, if not savvy, students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Adapting to the Era of Information: While Some Tribal Colleges Are Working to Give Students Access to the Internet, a Digital Divide Persists
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.