Lessons learned

  • Start with the infrastructure. Maryville upgraded its wi-fi before handing out devices. “If it is going to be successful, the infrastructure has to be invisible,” says Harris. “Our goal is to be one of the top 10 percent of wireless campuses in the country.”
  • Choose mobile device management (MDM) software that’s easy to use. Maryville uses Jamf Pro to manage 3,600 iPads and other mobile devices. “We deploy more than 50 apps to specific courses and programs, and Jamf is committed to helping organizations succeed with Apple,” says Harris. “The software lets us connects us with Apple to buy the apps and automatically push them to students and faculty.
  • Streamline the payment structure. “Every semester, students pay a flat rate called One Fee that includes books, technology (apps), and health and wellness fees. We don’t want to keep asking for money.”
  • Focus on student learning. “To truly focus on the students, you have to provide good professional development (PD) for faculty,” says Harris. The college extended its faculty contracts by two weeks each year; faculty are paid to do one week of PD in May and another in August. Harris’s office conducts some classes and faculty members do their own sessions and breakouts. “It’s wildly successful,” he says.
  • Do not rush change. “Give faculty enough time and space to develop and learn; that will be a direct contributor to your program’s success. Remember: The ultimate goal is student learning. To get there, you have to develop and support your faculty.”
  • Be prepared to save money. According to Harris, they save $50,000 on apps each semester and up to $590,000 annually by using iPads rather than desktops.

About the Author:

Ellen Ullman is editorial director, content services, for eSchool Media.