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Madison Sees Jump in Laptop, Wireless Usage from 2006

The number of students who own a laptop at the University of Wisconsin at Madison jumped to 77 percent this year, up from 64 percent in 2006, according to an online survey conducted by the school's Division of Information Technology (DoIT). The increase corresponds with  a jump in the number of students who rely on wireless services, which went from 30 percent usage in 2006 to 50 percent this year.

A  separate survey of faculty and staff on campus also showed big gains in IT usage. About 60 percent use a laptop, double the 29 percent in 2006, and 49 percent use a cell phone, up from 20 percent reported last year.  "The newer students coming in are even more comfortable with portability," DoIT communications manager told the Madison Capitol Times newspaper.

But with more portability comes more risk. The survey showed that 84 percent of the students surveyed never shared a password, up from 76 percent in 2006, the Times reported. Data backup is dramatically on the rise, with only 9 percent of the students saying they never back up their computers, compared with 40 percent last year.

"This was a pleasant surprise for us," Rust told the Times. "Our effort to redouble security seems to have gotten through to all."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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