List of the Best Technical College Programs
A list of the best technical colleges for technical careers is put out annually by PC Magazine, with input provided by The Princeton Review. The assessments include factors such as availability of information online, hardware and software provided by the university, lab facilities, and student organizations. Basically, the three main areas of focus were academics, student resources, and campus connectivity. The top technical colleges are listed below.
Villanova University tops the PC Magazine list of best colleges for technical careers. Located in Villanova, PA, the private college provides new laptops for all students (included in tuition), tech support calls with guaranteed 24-hour turnaround time, and state of the art labs and student programs. Students can perform many activities online, including registering for classes, accessing the library to receive reading assignments, downloading lectures (or receiving them via podcast), taking exams, submitting papers, and receiving grades. Tuition is approximately $29,000 per year.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best known technical colleges around. It has its own operating system (a Unix-based desktop interface called Athena) and the campus is completely wireless, with over 3000 wireless access points. The university's OpenCourseWare system provides course materials on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. Over 80 percent of MIT's faculty participates, and over 1,400 courses are available on the system. MIT is known for letting their students have free reign over "teching out" their dorms - which has resulted in an emergency pizza button (push for a Dominoes delivery) as well as many other amazing additions. Cost is approximately $34k per year.
Indiana University Bloomington has won awards and numerous industry accolades for their research and technology offerings. The school owns the fastest university-owned supercomputer, and they have agreements in place with the larger software vendors to make applications available to the students at little or no cost. The school is a leader in the open-source software community. In addition, their online portal, called Oncourse, allows students to check grades and scheduling information and allows teachers to post comments to students and vice versa. Students can also communicate with each other via Oncourse, asking questions and discussing topics virtually. Cost is approximately $19k out of state and $6k in-state.
Located in Swarthmore, PA, the college offers dedicated computing services throughout the campus. The dorms have recently gone wireless, and there is 24/7 tech support. Many professors use Blackboard software to distribute assignments and host forums for discussions.Student-run computer society manages a media lounge and video pit, among other things. Cost is approximately $32,000 per year.
Located in Omaha, NE, Creighton is the first school to notify students via text message of their acceptance. They host a huge, annual Gamefest, which has drawn big-name sponsors. Creighton offers small class sizes and over 50 IT-related majors and courses in technology and leadership. Several courses are available via podcast. The school is currently researching and testing the ability to have applications delivered via cellular networks, which would enable students can get their grades, register, take quizzes, and more from their cell phones.
The University of Illinois has some very big entrepreneurial names among its alumni. The school feels that the environment - one where calculated risk-taking is encouraged and rewarded - plays a big role in this. The University is the birthplace of the first web browser and the first parallel supercomputer. Some of the highlights of the program:
- On campus Apple and Dell stores, with student discounts.
- Extensive wireless connectivity.
- Video games and consoles for rent int he library
- 600MB of free online storage space
Tuition for the University is approximately $7000 per year in-state and just over $21,000 per year out of state.
Michigan Technological University is a small school in the town of Houghton, MI. With approximately 5500 students, the program places a large value on student involvement. There is also a big emphasis on real-world education. One example of this is the University's Blue Marble program - students form corporations, which are structured to mimic corporations in the real world. The corporations then receive grants from companies in order to solve real-world problems.
The campus has made a lot of investments recently in technology including wireless networking, smart whiteboards, podcast lectures and 24-hour secure access to computer labs.
Cost per year is approximately $7500 per year in-state and just under $19,000 per year out of state.
USC is on the cutting edge of technology available for students. The school has one of the fastest supercomputers, which students can schedule research time on and access from ports all over the campus. They also offer hundreds of wireless access points and hundreds of classrooms are set up with webcams and microphones. There is an online course management system, called Blackboard, that allows professors to post lectures and review notes online.
All that cool technology comes at a price - the annual tuition is approximately $34,000.
Located in CT, Quinnipiac is a wired university, with a majority of classes requiring online communications through their own Blackboard system. All incoming students are required to purchase a laptop, and the university checks the freshman students laptop configuration to make sure it will work with their wired campus. Students are also able to stay connected via a Windows Mobile PDA. The university recently partnered with Rave Wireless to allow students access to things like academic info, shuttle-bus locations, class and group messages, and text messages.
Tuition is just over $25,000 per year.
The University of Oklahoma offers a user-friendly communication and learning platform called Desire2Learn, which allows for online access to lectures and notes, and also facilitates discussions with chat systems that connect the students with the professors. The University also offers students their own Sooner Account, which allows them to stay in contact with each other and includes a bunch of services, with access to research, the ability to legally download movies and music, 1 GB of online storage space per student, and free web space. They also offer the students access to thousands of Dell computers through lots of wireless access points in the university.
Tuition is $3000 per year in-state and $11,000 per year out of state.