CBC expanding horizons with loaner laptop program

In an age when technology seems to dominate our daily lives, it's easy to forget that all of us aren't living our lives online.

Some folks just don't want to live digitally, and we don't blame them. Others can't afford the hardware it takes to be wired, leaving them without access in an era when many important issues are best handled electronically.

We were especially pleased to see that Columbia Basin College is offering students loaner laptops. In college, the ability to access the internet is vitally important, with teachers posting assignments online and students collaborating on projects via e-mail.

The internet also is a robust research tool, although it's prudent to be cognizant that everything posted online is not a verified fact.

CBC bought 45 laptops and five netbooks for student use. The school paid for the computers with money collected through student technology fees. Students may check out the laptops for three days at a time and can take them home.

CBC previously had a handful of laptops available for student use, but the limit was four hours and they had to be used on campus.

The added flexibility of the new program was an instant hit, CBC officials said. The laptops have the basic software that most students need for their work, as well as internet access.

Students check out a laptop much like they would a book from the library. The use of the laptops is free, but if a student fails to return the computer a $700 fee will be collected.

Like it or not, the digital age is upon us. The internet and e-mail can create great efficiencies for institutions of higher learning in these challenging times for funding for higher learning.

Once again, CBC has impressed us with the services it provides to its students, despite massive budget cuts in recent years. Where there's a will to educate students, CBC seems to find a way.