Mary Ann Gawelek, Seton Hill’s provost and dean of faculty, said the university launched its iPad initiative because the device soon will give students and faculty members “immediate access to eTextbooks.”
“The iPad will lighten the backpacks of Seton Hill University students,” Boyle added.
Katherine Cohen, founder and CEO of IvyWise, said college students who use their mobile devices to listen to music, eMail friends and family, and conduct online research want to use the same device for academic purposes.
Using iPhones, for example, in an innovative way could be the difference between landing a highly prized freshman and seeing him or her commit to another campus, she said.
“School use of mobile technology can be attractive to students,” Cohen said. “It can represent that the school is forward thinking and may be inclined to develop new ways to better serve [its] students. [Also,] students who may have a career interest in technology … will, of course, be more interested in applying to a school with a proven track record in mobile technology.”
IvyWise recognized the University of Maryland on its top-five list for starting an iPhone development course in February. The course, taught by a former iPhone developer, is part of Maryland’s Mobility Initiative, a pilot program launched in fall 2008 that examines the impact of mobile technology on students’ educational experience. Two hundred and eighty Maryland students have been given an iPhone or iPod Touch as part of the Mobility Initiative, according to the school.
Cohen said the tech industry has kept a close eye on the university’s iPhone course, adding that “local and national technology companies have expressed interest in hiring students that have taken the class.”
Ohio State University was recognized in IvyWise’s list because its athletic program has a menu of iPhone applications that help students track sports scores, highlights, game schedules and lyrics to the university’s fight song. Cohen said Ohio State was included on the mobile college list in part because three computer science students built a “school spirit” application that lets students upload photos of fans spelling O-H-I-O in various locations.
University of Maryland Mobility Initiative