Case Study: 2 Universities with iTunes U + iPad Combo
Take a look around the college campus nearest you and you’ll see lots of heads, but very few faces. Whether it’s to pass the few minutes before class, or to look preoccupied so as to avoid getting handed a neon flyer from another student, there is no denying personal technology’s increased recreational presence on college campuses. Recently, faculty members have started exploring ways to get in front of students by way of mobile screens.
Instead of continuing to beg students to silence and put away their phones before class, or to abstain from using laptops for taking notes, some schools have recognized the potential. In the past year, the iPad, combined with apps like iTunes U, have emerged as a way of helping higher ed reinvent itself and adapt to the quickly changing classroom culture.
Two universities in particular have boldly invested in the iPad/iTunes U pairing: Lynn University and the University of Oklahoma.
According to Alexandra Tilsey’s article on Inside Higher Ed, beginning all the way back in 2006, Lynn began a complete overhaul on their core curriculum; as the process progressed, so did the technology. The faculty at Lynn took note of this and realized that the new curriculum could benefit by making it compatible with technology. Tilsey reports that “in fall 2013, all incoming students will be required to purchase an iPad mini.” On it will be “the student’s summer reading and core curriculum texts, created by Lynn faculty.” With a cost of $475, Lynn most likely opted for the Mini because of it costing slightly less than the full-size version of the iPad; however, the real savings are in not having to purchase numerous textbooks.
Oklahoma’s pilot project is slightly different from Lynn’s in that it is not yet geared to the entire student population. According to Max Jenerka’s article in the Oklahoma Daily, 600 free iPads were provided to education majors; this is all part of the school’s digital initiative termed, “One University,” which is summed up on OU’s website:
The One University digital initiative will utilize iTunes U to promote dynamic learning experiences, enhance services to students, tap the creativity of OU research, build OU’s national and international brand as an innovative university, and implement investments in OU’s information technology infrastructure to enable the widespread use of technology in the future.
In a blog post from October 3, Meredith predicted that the extinction of textbooks is looming and inevitable. As she pointed out, the book publishers haven’t really stretched in the transition from the print age to the digital. iTunes U exploits a multimedia approach favored (and expected) by modern students. iTunes U opens up countless outlets and resources for students; not only can they access notes and recorded lectures for their own class, but they can access materials from courses from universities in the United Kingdom or China.
Based on the early success seen in programs like those implemented by Lynn University and Oklahoma, it appears that students will hear less from professors that are telling them to put away their iPhones — and more telling them to take out their iPads.
So if you’re an administrator, where do you get started?
If you want to explore iTunes U some more before diving in on behalf of your school, this wiki of all participating colleges and universities is a good place to start. Apple has also produced a resource guide for administrators looking to start or manage a page. The guide includes sections on content, design, site access, debugging and lots more.
Author: Gray Gill is our Spring Editor & Word-Smith here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.