“That helped us sort of sure up those nerves a little bit so that we weren’t quite as out there and adrift,” Spataro said. “It built a sense of community. … We really wanted to bond together on this adventure, and we really have done that.”

Professors now include necessary iPad apps on their syllabi along with other resources needed for their course. Only five out of 100 Seton Hill faculty members required iPad apps that cost students more than $30 per semester, officials said.

Seton Hill had to bolster its IT infrastructure before the web-accessible iPads were doled out to every student and teacher on campus.

The university’s wireless internet network expanded from 25 access points in 2009 to more than 330 today, which, along with a load balancing system, ensures no one mobile device will bog down the entire network.

Seton Hill students had 25 megabytes per second of web access available to them two years ago, said Phil Komarny, the university’s executive director of computer information and technology. That number has jumped to 500 megabytes per second this year as the school adjusts to more mobile technology demand.

“That’s really unheard of” for a university the size of Seton Hill, Komarny said, adding that the average number of web-accessible mobile devices per Seton Hill student stands at 2.7. “It’s really the goldfish in the fish bowl idea: You give them a bigger fish bowl they will grow into it.”

Komarny said the university’s iPad announcement brought unprecedented attention to the small Pennsylvania campus. Seton Hill, on March 30, 2009, was mentioned in more than 1,000 tweets per minute on Twitter, and the school’s web traffic spiked by more than 1,000 percent.

The iPad announcement, Komarny said, was not a public relations stunt.


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