Associated Students met with representatives from Information Technology Friday to discuss the myCSUNtablet initiative, which is set to launch Fall 2013.
“The goal is for students to have a more engaging experience in classrooms,” said Hilary Baker, vice president of IT.
The tablet initiative will be launched in seven departments, with about 70 faculty members participating, along with 60 to 70 advisers.
Associate Vice President of IT Ben Quillian explained that students will know upfront if one of their classes is part of the initiative. While registering, students can specifically search for the classes that will require an iPad. If they don’t search for it, the class description of a course will note that a tablet is necessary.
“Once a student is actually enrolled, they will receive an email from admissions and records that will make sure they understand an iPad is required for that class,” Quillian said.
Courses that require an iPad will have have sections that only use the textbook, so students are not obligated to buy a tablet.
The Matador Bookstore will be selling iPads at the same price as any Apple store. However, buying from the bookstore could pay off for students in the long run. Students will have the option to use a payment plan for their tablet, which would span over two or three semesters.
Students also have the option to use their current iPad or iPad Mini, but Quilian recommends that it be upgradeable to the newest Apple software and have 32 gigabytes of storage. He also suggests buying Applecare, Apple’s warranty plan, which can be bundled into the payment plan.
Deonne Zell from IT presented a video showing CSUN students using iPads during their courses. Science students in the video could view and rotate three-dimensional models of bones or molecules, while other students used the program Lecture Capture.
Zell explained that teachers could make their lessons more interactive through the tablets. They now have the power to create their own eBooks, cutting down textbook costs and incorporate videos or interactive models to make the experience pop out to their students.
Faculty also has access to multiple applications that can enhance the learning environment of a classroom. There are also “core apps” IT recommends using, such as Evernote and Adobe Acrobat. According to Zell, there’s an app for any discipline.
“After you spend time on these apps, the old book seems so static and flat,” she said.
Not all of the apps are free, however. On average, they could cost between $1 to $5.
“Any apps you will be required to buy is in place of other materials,” Zell said. She explained that instead of having to buy a clicker or expensive scientific calculator for a class, students can now find an app for it and usually at a cheaper price.
Faculty will also be able to “jump screens” between students, allowing them to view what everyone is doing. Zell explains that it keeps students off Facebook, but also offers a chance for them to take over and present their ideas to the class.
“Suddenly it’s a leader-less room and everyone is learning,” Zell said.
In support of the integration of the iPad, students can find help in the new Learning Commons in the Oviatt Library, which will open Fall 2013. The Apple and IT hotlines are available for help as well.
The iPad is just the beginning, according to Baker, who maintains that the movement is called the “tablet initiative” for a reason. They are hoping to eventually branch out to non-Apple tablets.
“We are starting with the iPad, but we want to see how this evolves and how the data looks,” Zell said.
Vice President Christopher Woolett, who has been working with the committee to get the initiative started, offered some insight to his fellow senators.
“Accessibility is extremely important to them, they’ve been addressing it in every meeting,” he said.
For more information on the myCSUNtablet initiative, visit http://www.csun.edu/it/mycsuntablet.