THE UNIVERSITY have renegotiated a student laptop deal in response to a slow pick up of the discount laptop offer run last year. Both Dell and Apple have agreed to supply students with laptop computers for a larger discount than the previous contract offered.
Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, said that the university had learned from mistakes made last year, adding that he was confident that the new deal would better suit the needs of students.
“We learned from last year and from day one we had a range of requirements (for the laptop companies). Price was a requirement, support was a requirement, the mobility to deliver a large number of machines was important”.
Dr Butler revealed that he would be “disappointed” if the new deal was not successful among students, considering the “phenomenally high figure” of students that currently use laptops in college.
“With the sheer potential of users we have here, there is huge leverage there so we felt it was worth exercising that leverage,” explained Dr Butler. “If you talk to the students from the Quinn School of Business, the concept of having a laptop for both learning or just doing various things enhances their time with us”.
The discounted laptop scheme has been accompanied by a deal with O2 to provide mobile broadband for staff and students. Head of I.T. Customer Services, Ms Ciara Acton, explained that she hoped that by providing broadband, connectivity among students who were situated outside UCD would increase.
“We were looking to extend our whole student mobility and to expand the teaching and learning environment,” explained Ms Acton. “[The deal] was for students off campus. We wanted to make sure that students can access things like Blackboard and UCD connect via another service”.
The two broadband contracts on offer range from nine to twelve months. The nine month deal was struck as the twelve-month contract “might not necessarily suit people if they were going away for the summer”. Also the shorter deal has an ‘opt-out’ clause that is not available with the twelve-month contract.
Last year’s laptop scheme came under criticism regarding their computer prices, which ranged from €900 to €1,300. The scheme is an extension to the deal that has been offered to Commerce students for the past number of years.
The Dell laptops currently on offer are priced at €340, €688 and €889. Apple have offered a 14 per cent discount when purchasing any of their models.