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Oklahoma State University will pilot an Apple iPad initiative during the Fall 2010 semester with select courses in the School of Media and Strategic Communications and the Spears School of Business at both the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, announced OSU President Burns Hargis.
"We will evaluate the academic enhancement to the courses, how the iPad and its specific apps and web-based tools can be integrated in this capacity, and perhaps most importantly, how the integration of these mobile tools can expand the tactical abilities of students as they enter the workforce," he says. "This pilot initiative will provide valuable insight into the research benefits of the Apple iPad in the classroom,” said Hargis. "The iPad has had an amazing impact since being introduced and we are excited to be able to put this powerful and creative tool in the hands of students and faculty and see what happens."
Bill Handy, visiting assistant professor in the School of Media and Strategic Communications, and Tracy Suter, associate professor of marketing in the Spears School of Business, will lead the initiative. Each class will integrate the iPad differently but will focus on specific measurable outcomes.
“This limited pilot will be focused on fields of study where we believe we can best determine the higher education value of the iPad,” says Handy. “We will evaluate the academic enhancement to the courses, how the iPad and its specific apps and web-based tools can be integrated in this capacity, and perhaps most importantly, how the integration of these mobile tools can expand the tactical abilities of students as they enter the workforce.”
In both schools, the iPad will be used for academic purposes and to explore innovative uses and tactical uses specific to each school's industry needs.
“I certainly have ideas of how I would like to use an iPad,” Suter says. “But collectively we will discover new uses a single individual might not have conceived independently. Putting the newest technology in the hands of students allows them to stretch the limits of how it can be used.”
Cost savings for students will also be evaluated. In one case, students using the iPad in a single course will save more than US$100 on a single textbook, which can be downloaded in an ePub format. The iPad pilot being launched this fall will include approximately 125 students in five different courses.
OSU is already using a variety of tools such as iTunesU and YouTube, along with other collaborative tools. OSU is also exploring the development of mobile applications to integrate current publications into an online and app platform, offering expense savings and enhanced distribution.