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computer lab activities

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Sat Feb 7 11:03:19 EST 1998

At 10:35 AM -0500 2/7/98, Jim Perry wrote:
>I have an old (1992) version of Wings software for photosynthesis,
>genetics, and population ecology that I received when I was doing some
>writing and was considering it for inclusion as an alternative lab
>1. Has anyone used this software?

Yes I have and I really like it.  My version was also old and
had some "bugs" that were annoying (spectrum deficiency and
other details).

>2. Is there an updated version?

Yes and you really want to talk to your Prentice-Hall rep.
They have all three on one disc for sale to students at
a GREAT price...I think under $50...less than a textbook.
It is a fully functional version.

>3. How do those of you at small schools with small budgets deal with the
>issue of the expense involved with site licenses for software. It seems we
>get lots of information concerning software that looks like it might be
>useful, but we don't want to buy just one copy for one machine, we want a
>site license so that all students can access it at a given time. Our annual
>budget for 10 courses is about $5000.

I hear you on this and the expense at $50 per copy is
within acceptable ranges for here...I have been creating
my own exercises by modifying the way the model looks
and its features so that it integrates well with the
worksheets I will use to have the students manipulate
the model and analyze the results.  The 1992 version
was rather "canned" and the instructions in the worksheet
files that came with it were flawed so that student's
couldn't understand what to do because they related to
an apparently different version of the model setup.  The
graphs in the worksheets had incorrect axes and so on.
With a little tweaking of the model after you do the
tutorial with the Prentice-Hall version, you can have
really nice exercises for the students that are harmonious
with the worksheets that guide them.

>I can understand how at school can justify purchase expensive items when
>there may be a couple thousand students using them per year, but those of
>us at small campuses seem tobe caught in a bind, including with things like
>BioQuest, which, as I understand it,  requires a really significant
>*annual* outlay.

Putting the outlay on the students at the rate above
isn't too horrible, and I don't know if P-H would like
a department to buy enough copies to populate its
department computer lab and leave them there for more
than one semester or not.  I haven't checked the license
that closely, but I will have to do that before I adopt
the thing for my next Plant Physiology offering...which
I intend to do.


Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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