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OC offers iPad to students

Wednesday, June 23, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Gower
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First university in the state to offer device to all new undergraduate students The newest mobile device from Apple is now available to students at Oklahoma Christian University. Fulltime undergraduate students already receive a MacBook laptop and their choice of an iPhone or iPod touch. As an alternative to the latter devices, undergraduate students can now choose to pay an upgrade cost and receive an iPad. According to Oklahoma Christian staff and faculty, the device offers students an improved experience, especially in regard to reading and retrieving online content. "The bigger screen and the usability factor really make this device stand out,” said John Hermes, vice president and chief technology officer. "The impetus for us to add this device is that there are potential advantages for students. The e-book reader is very advanced. If publishers adopt this technology and develop content for it, I believe students will have better access to course content as well as see potential cost savings over traditional textbooks. "The content is going to drive the long-term success of these devices and we have already seen changes in academic content delivery methods with the iPhone and iPod touch in the past two years.” Oklahoma Christian faculty are also excited about potential advantages that the iPad brings to the university. "This is a great device for students,” said David Crismon, professor and chair of the art and design department. "Photos and ads are so much more realistic, especially in online magazines. The full screen option is great and allows you to scale up without losing quality, which is not true of the iPhone.” For Crismon, the device is great for taking notes, managing e-mail and using the Internet. "The iPad is so much better for information retrieval and browsing online,” he said. "It’s really hard to browse through a magazine or website with the iPhone. It just has such a small screen. The same can be said for sending e-mail from a phone. The iPad is much more like the size of an actual book or magazine. I relate to it so much better.” One area that Crismon could see the device enhancing is taking tests. "This would be great for multiple choice image tests in some of my art classes,” he said. "No laptop has the image quality of the iPad. Plus, unlike a heavy laptop, there’s no need to carry around a keyboard.” Oklahoma Christian has long been leaders in integrating technology into an academic environment. It was the one of the first universities in the country to offer laptops free to all students and to offer a completely wireless campus. In the last two years, the university has given all fulltime undergraduate students an Apple MacBook and an iPhone or iPod touch. "We think this device will be attractive to our students too, especially for those who may have chosen the iPod,” Hermes said. "Some students are locked in contracts with other providers and are unable to switch to AT&T for access to the iPhone. Since we have a completely wireless campus, the iPad has full functionality.” According to Hermes, technology can transform the way students study and learn through enhanced communication with faculty and instant access to course content in and out of the classroom. Other areas that the iPad has been praised for enhancing are taking notes and delivering presentations. "The usability for e-mail and word processing is great, as well as for making digital presentations,” Hermes said. "The iPad connects straight to the projector, so we really see a great application for many disciplines across campus.” According to Crismon, finding a place and use for a third device has not been difficult. "Some people have said the iPad is redundant, but I don’t feel that way, with the scale of the device. I relate to it differently than I do to my phone or laptop. It’s great for taking notes in a meeting or a class,” Crismon said. "I also enjoy watching movies on this device. I don’t even consider doing that on my iPhone. There are a lot of things we do throughout a day that each of these devices help. But there are some tasks for which one device works much better than another, so I think there really is a need for it.” New undergraduate students will be able to pick up their new iPads when fall classes begin at Oklahoma Christian.

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