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Coffee and conversation about computing

October 19, 2011

Last evening Drexel faculty, students and staff gathered at Hagerty Library to mark the opening of the University Archives' newest exhibition, Access Everywhere: Computing at Drexel, 1984 - present.

The exhibition, which runs until December 10, begins with Drexel's Microcomputing Project and the distribution of Macintosh computers to Drexel students and faculty in March 1984. Two professors at last night's conversation were there for the distribution: Tom Hewett and Ray Brebach shared their memories of that dramatic era in Drexel's history. Professor Jeremy Johnson added the perspective of a computer scientist as we discussed the impact of several key information technologies on Drexel over the last few decades. The speakers agreed that while the introduction of the Macintosh was the most dramatic change, the technology with most pervasive impact, that has changed education at Drexel the most, was wireless computing. Tom Hewett remembered the moment when a colleague first demonstrated how the Apple base station could connect everyone in a room to the internet, without cables.

The conversation ranged from Drexel's role as an innovator in computing to the complex relationship between books and hypertext to and the future of input devices beyond the mouse and keyboard. Missed this discussion? You'll have another chance to discuss these and more topics with Drexel faculty, students and alumni at 6 p.m. on November 10 at the Library Learning Terrace, when we screen Going National, followed by another panel discussion. We hope to see you then.

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