The Student Laptop Initiative is a project designed to put in place the policies and support services required to enable UQ’s aspirations for high-value classroom experiences, using technologies where coordinators choose to take advantage of them.

This initiative is endorsed by the DVC(A) and led by Dr Sam McKenzie (ITaLI) in collaboration with ITS and the Library.

Strategic alignment

To achieve the University’s vision of high-value classes in a place-based learning institution, it plans to increase active learning in classrooms. To achieve that goal many coordinators have been embracing a range of technologies that enhance the face-to-face experience, such as audience response systems, and eAssessment systems. Currently, taking appropriate advantage of these technologies is impeded by the lack of a requirement for our students to bring a laptop to class. Instructors need to know their students will have a laptop in the class in order to use these tools.

Project overview

The goal is for all University students to own a laptop in a way that allows them to study in any location, at home or in study areas or in class. This proposal for ubiquitous laptop ownership is based on an adjustment in our enrolment requirements, combined with support and equity services. To cater for the fact that most students already own a laptop, and to allow fine-tuning of support, the laptop requirement would be introduced in phases starting with first-year undergraduate courses and postgraduate courses.

For several years now the University has progressively been adopting a range of technologies that enhance the face-to-face experience in our classrooms including audience response systems to gauge student understanding of topics; live in-class discussions boards; live co-editing systems for brainstorming and collaboration; eExams; and the new UQ course evaluation system, which students currently have to answer predominantly in class. Examples include ExamSoft, Responseware, WordCloud, UQPoll, Padlet, WordStream, and Mirroring360. It may also be possible in future to make some laboratory applications available to students via their laptops using virtual desktop technology.

This initiative is strategically compatible with the Student Strategy’s push for flexible and active learning. In addition, student-owned laptops are a key prerequisite for the University’s eAssessment Project that aims to create and develop digitised assessment practices that facilitate improved pedagogical practices and increased administrative efficiencies.


With an adjustment to our student computer support services, and with a move away from University-owned desktops towards student-owned laptops, we have an opportunity to enable more flexible and in-class active learning on campus. This adjustment may improve the value and attractiveness of the UQ in-class learning experience, and focus investment where it provides the greatest value to students.

Students who do not have a computer or laptop

Students who do not have a computer or laptop for studying from home may be able to borrow one from the Library. The Library has a limited number of laptops available on a case-by-case basis.

If students are experiencing urgent and unexpected financial problems that are affecting their studies, they may be eligible for an interest-free loan or emergency hardship grant to cover, among other things, required study-related equipment such as a laptop. Please refer them to the Financial Hardship Assistance program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)