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Education Portables (Apple) Wireless Networking Hardware

University Tries "One iPhone Per Student" 281

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the enrollment-and-dropout-numbers-to-spike dept.
alphadogg writes to tell us that one freshman class has a little more than usual to be excited about. When students at Abilene Christian University showed up for their first days of class they were greeted with the choice of either a new iPhone 3g or an iPod Touch plus a package of custom web apps to use on them. "The hardware is part of the Texas university's pilot mobile learning project, which has been gestating for over a year. About 650 first-year students chose the iPhone, and about 300 the iPod Touch, which is a very similar device but without the 3G radio (both devices incorporate an 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter). ACU pays for the hardware, student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan."
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University Tries "One iPhone Per Student"

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  • Rates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jadedoto (1242580) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:28PM (#25359911)
    Now do the students have to pay the extra surcharge that offsets the cost of the phones, or does the University pick up that tab as well?
  • Coming... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:30PM (#25359925) Journal

    ...to ebay in 3...2...

    • by PlatyPaul (690601)
      Not if it's necessary (or at least very useful) for various classes.

      (See Duke's take on things [duke.edu] [PDF warning], for example.)

      Personally, I think it could be extremely useful for teaching coding, nontraditional photography, etc. Besides which: a growing number of private schools are already requiring standardized laptops for ease of pushing out course content and regularizing CS/ECE hands-on curriculum. This is just the next (inevitable?) step.
      • Re:Coming... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marc.andrysco (1173073) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:06PM (#25360435) Homepage
        Personally, I would be seriously pissed if I knew that some of my tuition was going to pay for an iPod/iPhone. I don't want an iPhone because Verizon has been working perfectly fine for me so far and I'm not about to switch. I don't want an iPod touch since since, after all, I've been perfectly content without an mp3 player at all. Great, it might be useful to some classes when a professor decides to integrate it into their class. How many classes are going to require this? Would a laptop (which I already own) suffice instead? I don't really don't want to get stuck with a single company force feeding me their products because of the university I attend. Give me some third party options at the very least. What gets me so epically pissed is that they pass it off as ACU paying for it when we know where that money comes from: tuition aka students.

        Granted, I have some classes where internet access is more or less a must, but I'd rather have a nice, full keyboard and a reasonable screen that I can put my own software on rather than being shoved a piece of hardware required by the university. Give options, don't mandate one (or two nearly identical) devices.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sahonen (680948)
          Ipod Touch is much much more than an MP3 player, I don't use mine for music at ALL. For me it's more about having email, internet, youtube etc. access in my pocket without having to haul a laptop.
      • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:12PM (#25360527) Homepage Journal

        I don't think those examples warrant the word "extremely". Perhaps you meant to say "moderately" or "slightly" or "not".

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:30PM (#25359933)
    When we wanted to waste time and not study back in my day, all we had were fraternities and sororities. Kids today with their new-fangled distractions and time-wasters don't know how lucky they have it. They've got hundreds of reasons not to go to class right there at their fingertips. We had to *WORK* at it when we goofed off! We didn't even have pagers or MUD's back then!
    • by speroni (1258316) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#25359971) Homepage

      And beer, don't forget the beer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gewalt (1200451)

      Even betterer! I'm currently building an MMO for the iPhone!

    • by Firehed (942385)

      I really don't think anyone will have too much success playing a MUD from an iPhone. Might be fun to try for about ten seconds, but I expect that the net result would be a very busy IT staff dealing with shattered devices and the suicide rate quadrupling.

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        There are ssh client apps, login to your favorite *nix box to monitor your screen'd tintin++ session every now and then to make sure it's still killing mobiles in no-pkill zones.
    • It's not a phone, it's a platform for the latest killer app... ...GunmanTracker.

      When any iPhone detects gunfire, it reports its position to a central server, which then creates a Google Maps mashup that shows the location of the gunman on all other students' iPhones.

      If the iPhone is being carried BY the gunman, the phone is supposed to shock them like a taser would. Unfortunately in testing all the power that could be mustered from the battery would just tickle at best, and there apparently wasn't any way

  • Awful idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheIzzy (615852)

    Awful idea.

    If I wanted one, I would buy one myself. Decrease tuition, let people buy whatever type of cellphone they want.

    • by 2nd Post! (213333)

      That's not the point, especially if there are standardized applications tailored towards this platform.

      The only other option would be to decrease tuition but make an iPod or iPhone mandatory (much like some schools make a Mac or PC a mandatory part of classes).

    • by Kelbear (870538)

      Agreed.

      I think they were trying to offer a volume discount to the students, but they don't have a way to opt-out and save money!

      In fact, a better idea would be to offer the devices for sale at a discount, so that the program is opt-in instead.

      And the best idea would be to ditch it the program altogether because I don't see these devices significantly improving the student's education. However, I can easily see them distracting the students.

      Internet on-the-go is neat and all, but there are computers availabl

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lucifuge31337 (529072)

        I think they were trying to offer a volume discount to the students, but they don't have a way to opt-out and save money!

        The school wants them to all have the same device with the same capabilities. That's why they can't opt out.

        And the best idea would be to ditch it the program altogether because I don't see these devices significantly improving the student's education.

        Obviously you missed the point of this exercise. The school thinks the exact opposite, and believes that everyone having the same device will allow them to better utilize it (the school and the students). Duke has had a rather successful program using iPods for several years now.

  • Doesn't sound like this is going to do much for "mobile learning". Nice gimmick though....

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Not at ACU. I had a friend that went there. Very nice girl but had to sneak to a different town so she could go dancing.
      Very strict Christian school. Hey I don't have a problem with that since you only go if you want to go.

      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:03PM (#25360401) Homepage Journal

        Pssst. There nothing in Christianity that would prevent someone from going dancing, unless by 'Christianity' you mean something other than living your life according to the principles espoused by the figure known as 'Christ' in the Gospels and accepting that same person as your 'personal Lord and Savior' (whatever that may mean for you).

        Full disclosure: I was once but am no longer Christian; however, I understand more about Christianity than most people who would call themselves 'Christian'.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044)

          Oh I do agree with you. I am a christian and even go to church.
          ACU is just a very strict school and there belief system says that dancing is bad.
          I felt bad for my friend because she choose to go to that school yet felt the need to had the fact that she liked to go out dancing.
          But that is just me but I am with you that I don't think that there is anything immoral with dancing. I just try to respect others faith even if I don't share it.
           

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Arramol (894707)
        ACU student here. Either your friend went here a very long time ago, or there's been some kind of miscommunication, because the school doesn't have a "no dancing" policy - if we do, somebody ought to tell the school's swing dance club. There are, however, no real dance halls in Abilene, so it's definitely not easy to find places to do it around here.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LWATCDR (28044)

          Oh it was about 20 years ago. Maybe it was just her. Very sweet girl and a good friend.
          So yes it was a long time ago and there could have been some miscommunication. Maybe it was that she was going out dancing at a club that served alcohol?
          The orginal post had nothing to do with dancing. I was posting that an application that would tell you who was sleeping with whom at ACU should be.
          a. Useless
          or
          b. a directory of married students.
          Of course I could be overly optimistic.

  • ...that keeps pushing up the cost of a college education.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:45PM (#25360159) Homepage

      because every time the cost goes up, the politicians go all "rising costs of education!!!" and give them more money. My econ prof called it the "cookie monster" effect. Colleges go "Me want cookie!!!!" and spend $$$ on this, and super-fancy new buildings with HD video projectors in every classroom, and clubhouses for their sports teams, and what-not... om nom nom nom.... and, when they're done, there's another cookie there waiting for them! Rinse and repeat. Wonderful incentive structure there, no? Mmmmhmm....

      • by PlatyPaul (690601)
        An increasing spiral of government spending that ends up improving higher education facilities....

        Is this really a bad thing?
        • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:00PM (#25360355) Homepage

          Well, that depends on whether your goal was to have the Feds fund a really nice stadium, a brand-new library building full of Internets, a student body full of iPhones, and HD projectors in every classroom.... or simply providing young adults with an affordable high-quality college education. At a minimum it's not really proving that good at addressing Affordability.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tom (822)

            You fail at Business 101.

            Don't think in terms of "what", think "what for" - I don't really care what my tax dollars are spent on, as long as it helps the purpose, in this case of education. If iPhones do and the cost/benefit analysis works out (which might require a trial to test, that's fine) then that's ok with me. If HD projectors do, fine thing. Heck, if a daily blowjob for every student does, I'd be ok with that.

            On the surface "more books" might sound like it's "more educational". But that's the surfac

          • by orielbean (936271)
            Our college had a great collaboration concept - 3Com tested out wireless tech before it was widespread; and IBM provided wireless laptops for a certain set of courses. It worked out wonderfully and no students had tuition raised as a result.
          • Affordability? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Shivetya (243324)

            Of course its affordable, as it gets more expensive the government chips in more and raises the limit of the loans it will back.

            That has been the problem with college level education and health care. As soon as the government stepped in and started paying for things at set rates without asking questions the competitive market failed. The price of admission became "cost + what the government was willing to chip in".

            We have some of the best tax payer funded education in the world but too many don't realize

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by GigG (887839)
          There is no evidence that an increase federal tax dollars improves education. All you have to do is look at a list of the schools that have the highest per student federal spending and you will, in most cases, be looking at a list of the worst schools in the counrty.
      • Donors (Score:3, Informative)

        by qwertphobia (825473)

        Usually it's the donors who give a large chunk of building costs that decide the new facilities should be super-fancy.

        And they have to one-up each other too, so you could also blame the competition.

        • You have a 12 million dollar building. Donors pay a large chunk (80%) The college pays 2.4 million dollars.

          You don't build the building you don't get the doners to pay a large chunk (yea you not getting the millions of dollars) but you are not paying the 2.4 million dollars too, for a building you don't need.

          2.4 million dollars, could go to something more useful.

          It is like the old stereotype of the wife going shopping busting the bank in buying stuff she will never use because it was on sale at a good deal.

        • by Thelasko (1196535)

          Usually it's the donors who give a large chunk of building costs that decide the new facilities should be super-fancy.

          Correct, your typical university doesn't use tuition to build buildings, etc. It's typically setup in the University bylaws (it might even be a real law) that tuition has to only cover the costs of the education, and that money cannot be used for capital improvements. [wikipedia.org] However, when a generous alum builds a fancy new building on campus, it is up to the university to maintain it. These maintenance funds can be part of the tuition.

          Something to think about should you ever decide to buy your alma mater a shi

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:48PM (#25360193)

      No I think it is due more to poor administration of funds.

      In my undergrad this was the case:
      Every Department gets a budget. If they don't fully use that budget then the next year their budget will get cut. This created an effect where departments will wast money on a whole bunch of little things just so they can get more next year. So say the computer science department will need to find a way to spend 20k each year so they will have money budgeted for when their computers actually get out of date.

      Then there are professors who keep their door locked and closed during their office hours so they won't be bothered (while they are getting paid)

      Spending millions of dollars on these big events to attract politicians and other big names to boost up the prestigious level of the college. Putting in new "High Tech" Buildings where they just need some more internet cable spread across the building...

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        No I think it is due more to poor administration of funds.
        ...Every Department gets a budget. If they don't fully use that budget then the next year their budget will get cut. This created an effect where departments will wast money on a whole bunch of little things just so they can get more next year.

        Ha, that's just how bureaucracy generally works.

        The reasoning is that if you didn't spend the budgeted money, you didn't need all of it in the first place.

        • That would be fine and good if you are allowed to keep the surplus to the next fiscal year. Oh you ended up with 5k in your budget. Next you you will get 2.5k less. So you are rewarded for good spending the college gets the saving of giving a smaller budget.

      • by Tom (822)

        Every Department gets a budget. If they don't fully use that budget then the next year their budget will get cut.

        That was 30 years ago. Unless your place is the one right in front of the "End of the World" sign, it's not been true for at least 10, more probably 20 years. But it's a well-beloved Urban Myth and not going away that easily.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:02PM (#25360383) Homepage Journal

      Can we get some realistic math for once? Attending a private school like ACU costs close to $110K for four years [acu.edu]. A fancy $300 PDA doesn't even begin to account for that.

      Also, colleges now rely heavily on the web and email for communicating with students. Bulletins, class schedules, online study materials, web-based paperwork... It's efficient and cheap. This works better if everybody has a standard device that works the same way with the campus WiFi network. Usually, colleges accomplish this by making all the students buy a standard laptop or tablet.

      That route makes sense to me, but I can guess why the ACU people went the PDA route. People take their PDAs everywhere, so ACU can get information out to the entire student body quickly. That makes for a convenient fact to cite when parents want to know what the school is doing to prevent another Virginia Tech.

    • Does the iPhone replace a more expensive student "necessity?" Most universities either explicitly or implicitly require a computer, and in most cases, a notebook. I read the article and found no mention of a traditional pc, though I'm sure they're used. I graduated from college in 1988, when you had to go to "the computer center" to use a pc that cost several thousand dollars. Can I reimagine it now, just toting around a little iPod Touch? More connected, fantastically more portable, AND cheaper? Hell

    • As mentioned above, this is a private institution and an expensive one at that. Giving students a free iPod is the least they could do. I know a married couple that goes there and I constantly wonder how they will ever possibly be able to pay back their very large student loans with their undergraduate degrees.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sunking2 (521698)

      One can only hope that the college bubble bursts like all others do. College costs are more than slightly linked to the housing boom. People could draw more credit from their house than before in order to send to ludicrously priced colleges, so tutions went crazy. This is no longer the case. Now its a matter of convincing the administrations that they know longer have the money pool available and need to actually think about running on a realistic budget.

      Unfortunately, this sort of thing is slow to react.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#25359967) Journal
    iPhone plans are bloody expensive... the plans start at over double what even a very robust normal cell phone plan would cost. Unless you need one for work and your company can pick up the tab, I'm inclined to think that they are just a money sink.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Warll (1211492)
      From the summary: "student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan."
      • Sounds like the razor-blade business model [investopedia.com]. Not that far off "first hit for free".
        • by Firehed (942385)

          And those that don't want the monthly fees of getting a new cell phone can get the iPod Touch. I'm a big fan of not carrying around more crap than I have to never mind having internet anywhere with a cellular signal (anywhere but my house, of course) so I'd choose the iPhone in this situation (well, if I didn't already own one anyways), but that doesn't make your comparison any less inaccurate - at least relative to any other contract-based cell phone on the planet. At least with razors, you aren't contra

    • I agree. Most college students are already getting laptops so that they can take them to class. Is there really a time when having Internet access via your phone rather than your laptop (which you have with you in your backpack all day everyday anyway) is going to be more helpful? I doubt it. Just sounds like a white elephant gift to me... Here's a "free" phone - good luck paying the monthly fee while you're a student. Guess that's what student loans are for now?
      • by kiwimate (458274) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:52PM (#25360241) Journal

        Just...read the article. Okay? Answers all this. They didn't just do this at random; the question of laptops is discussed.

        One example of what they're doing: (from the first page, I think): an interactive map, useful for the new students to find their way around campus in the first week.

        Okay, another example: used for real-time polls conducted in classes.

        Not necessarily anything that couldn't be done with a laptop, but please, read the article and then we can have a semi-intelligent discussion on the actual issues?

        • I really don't see any issue. It's a private institution doing an experiment that just might work out for other institutions. Also for those who read the article it mentions that the apps are designed so that in the future one could go with a different phone. So once again audience, where's the problem?

    • It would be much more productive to give them a lightweight PC and free, Campus-wide WiFi so they can call people via VOIP.

    • Well they have two options - iPhone (which requires cell phone service) and the iPod Touch (which short of being able to make phone calls, will function like an iPhone will with the appropriate 802.11 connection).

      No one is being forced to get a contract. Yes - I'm sure many will but they aren't being forced.

      • by ryanov (193048)

        Seems to me iPhone doesn't REQUIRE a contract, does it? You can use the WiFi on there too.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Which is why the students have the option of using an iPod Touch instead. Both devices have a WiFi interface, and tying into the campus WiFi network is presumably what this is all about.

  • How much is Apple (or AT&T) paying said university to distribute these little profit-machines to these gullible students? Not that I wouldn't fall for it too, but honestly! I guess on the surface it's a win-win-win situation, but I can't help but think that someone is being taken advantage of.
  • Intriguing Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jivemonkey (776115) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:34PM (#25359997) Homepage

    When I first heard about this idea a few months ago, I knew that there would be some interesting consequences. Being that I graduated from ACU in December of '06, I know many of the people involved and have heard stories about what it takes to accomplish such a task.

    ACU had to re-implement much of it's wireless structure in order to accommodate all of the new devices and ensure that students would have wireless coverage at every conceivable place on campus.

    It will be interesting to see how it pans out and whether or not it works as well as the faculty and staff have envisioned.

  • Oh my... (Score:2, Insightful)

    The length some universities will go to justify their ridiculously high tuition fees...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At least then the students would have a general-purpose computer to do work on.
  • ESR would be proud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:39PM (#25360069) Homepage Journal

    The Cathedral [apple.com] versus the Bazaar [google.com].

    • I think ESR would be more on the side of the Bazaar. If only the G1s were available a few weeks earlier...

      Then again, the Apple Cathedral does have a kind of Bazaar in their developer program. Although really, it's more like a tightly-supervised Mall.

      W

  • Why all the hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by servognome (738846) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:43PM (#25360121)
    The school is conducting a trial with a piece of hardware, maybe students will find interesting new ways to use it.
    Sure the majority will use it to goof off, but it's possible a couple resourceful students come up with something useful and everybody gains. Is it the absolute best way to use resources, maybe not; but it's quite a neat capable platform and only time will tell what interesting things students can come up with.
  • ...that I was previously unaware of.

    How's this for a headline: "University gets kickback from AT&T for getting students hooked on iPones good and early".

  • ACU pays for the hardware, student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan.

    Students, parents, and taxpayers pay for the hardware, student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan.

    There, fixed it for ya!
    I'm also glad to see my tax dollars [wikipedia.org] hard at work buying kids iPhones, when I don't even have one.

  • Blatant corporate sponsorship. No wonder these kids think that Apple invented the Internet and the GUI.

    Coming up next: Student suspended for listening to MP3's. Administration cannot decide whether it was because it was a Samsung phone or because the music was not sold by iTunes and subject to their DRM.

  • by stormesj (701697) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:56PM (#25360299)
    Get a free happy meal toy with each and every degree.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:06PM (#25360443) Homepage Journal

    The title made me worry that we were only allowed to have a single iPhone per person. And I thought it was just some more unnecessary University restrictions.

  • Who pays? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:14PM (#25360557)

    ACU pays for the hardware

    No they don't. Whoever pays the students' fees pays for it, plus any admin charge the university adds for overseeing the moving around of the money.

  • What is wrong? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by teh nDn (1382681)
    It's similar to issuing laptops in high schools. No costs for textbooks and easier to manage... This is actually a great idea
  • by Auxis (1341693) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:18PM (#25360623)
    ... is basically doing the same thing ( http://www.oc.edu/apple/ [oc.edu] ). They are also offering the choice of a Dell, MacBook, or MacBook Pro. Many of the students here chose the iTouch (including me) simply because they didn't want to pay the expensive monthly fees for the iPhone. My service charge would be $90 per month. I just can't afford that price being a student having other debts to pay off (like college tuition). OC released an enterprise app for our iTouch/iPhone that lets us track things such as events going on, which laundry machines are open (through LaundryView), etc. I think it's pretty neat, but I'm not sure if it's worth the price tag.
  • by kabocox (199019) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:19PM (#25360627)

    The real headline should be something along the lines of freshmen class of Abilene Christian University all required to pay for brand new iPhones.

    When I read the "New York Times Says Thin Clients Are Making a Comeback" headline, I thought of cellphone/pda apps. Considering books cost me around $300 a semester back in 1996-2000 and all the other ways that the university tried to leech a buck off my family, I'm not surprised that a college is doing something like this. This sounds and looks like a decent killer app for cell phones/PDAs.

    I'm kinda sad though. I'd have thought that we'd have figured out how to get all this done, and my kids using this in elementary school right now. I'm really sad that colleges are just now getting there. I remember back in 1998 when my college just started their web app for signing up for classes. It was much, much better than their telephone system that they'd used before hand. We loved it.

    My kids public school has a web app that'll show their 9 weeks grades and an event calendar. O.k. it's nice that they have anything, but still as a parent and tax payer, I'd want all their text books to be in pdf and able to be saved, viewed, printed, quoted from anywhere. I'd also want teachers grade books and PTA meetings online as well. There is a part of me that thinks class rooms need forums or a school running their own version of facebook, yet geared more along the lines of keeping track of all of a student's progress, projects, entire school history, homework, quizes, & test history for everything there, and doing it as a glorified year book. Especially to pound it into the student's head, that this is to make you and us look "good"! ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Culture20 (968837)

      as a parent and tax payer, I'd want all their text books to be in pdf and able to be saved, viewed, printed, quoted from anywhere.

      This alone would have been awesome back in the early 90's. We had BBS's back then. Since the students weren't allowed to go to our lockers (Lockers can hide drugzngunz!) during the day, we had to carry all of our books everywhere. Leaving the books in the classrooms, then dialing a school BBS to read the material at home would have been uber-cool.

  • Like Nokia or Android or Eee PC stuff?

    "Board of Regents owns Apple Stock!"

    "C'mon baby, President of the University needs a new yacht!"

  • So Much For... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:46PM (#25361107)
    So much for telling the students to turn their cell phones off in class.
  • ahh, a pickpocket's heaven. no matter who you grift, you'll atleast walk away with a $200 ipod!
  • m.acu.edu (Score:3, Informative)

    by Xathrus (1345819) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:49PM (#25361151)
    If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch you can check out their mobile site at m.acu.edu. Of course you have to have an account to log into the myMobile section.
  • Tuition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:49PM (#25361855) Homepage

    Everyone's saying this is a waste of money, but with tuition as much as it is, this is a drop in the bucket compared to what the students will be paying for their degrees. Do you think anybody will notice if their tuition went up 300 bucks over 4 years to cover the cost of these devices, that may have many benefits for their classes, such as easy class lookup and registration, online syllabus and course notes that are available with you all the time, and so on and so forth. When the teachers could rely on everybody having access to this stuff instead of just a few students, teachers can actually use the devices to improve their classes.

  • by grilled-cheese (889107) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:05PM (#25362055)
    ACU has a tradition of taking calculated risks when it comes to how they do business as an educational institution. This quality is what puts ACU on the map consistently as a leader in education. There are lots of other universities who have tried to pull off programs like this, and many have succeeded. ACU gets this large amount of publicity because it simply is an Apple product that has significant penetration into the student population. Having been involved with the rollout plan for when/how this project was to mature, it could have happened sooner. However, ACU made the decision to wait until there was enough software designed to make this more than just a toy/promotional tool. In fact, the semester before these were handed out several research groups were formed consisting of both students and faculty to determine how these devices could be used most efficiently and even begin to work on their own coding projects to achieve these goals.

    These calculated risks are not just in how they were to be used in an educational setting, but also in the technology implementation. It was a significant challenge to provide that large a scale of wireless access. Having worked on it, I must admit that wireless deployment is an artform in how you balance capacity versus coverage with hundreds of environmental factors affecting your decisions. There are many great pieces of software to try and assist you making the optimal placement choices, but they frequently require large amounts of time for data entry for only a minor change in quality. When it boils down to is still the same procedure that has been used for years; deploy 90% of AP, turn it on and survey it, then use the remaining 10% to fill in the holes you missed. Sofar, most of the risky decisions that were made appear to have payed off and leave only a known portion to be expanded in the future.

    I'm proud to have graduated from this university in May and have the privilege of working with the IS department for several years.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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