By Stephanie Neeley
All freshmen at Lynn University are toting an iPad or iPad mini as the university is disposing of all of its textbooks for the new class, officials said. All of the iPads come pre-loaded with the student’s core textbooks, generated by the Lynn faculty.
“It will work much like our current curriculum works, and that is there will be some apps required across the board, and then every faculty member has a certain amount of freedom,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Gregg Cox said. “What we tell them is in each of their courses, about 50 percent of the content comes from faculty, so we will do the exact same thing with the iPad initiative.”
The student iPad package is $475, and costs half as much as students were paying for textbooks alone.
The road to the program inadvertently began in 2006, when the school started rebuilding its core curriculum. The Presidential debate held at the school forced an upgrade to the university’s wireless networks to accommodate the press and candidates’ needs. The cheaper-than-expected infrastructure renovation was the final push the university needed to shift to the iPad-based lessons. During the debate process, the university built a school curriculum for K-12 students, and published it for free on iTunes.
Lynn President Kevin Ross said of the process that “we began to think, what if we could take the liberal arts and make them really come alive through some rich media, and a platform that would allow students to engage in and outside of the classroom, and allow them to engage in a variety of ways based on learning style?”
Lynn was initially a Catholic junior college for women but migrated to a non-secular, four-year university in the 1970s. The 123-acre campus contains more than 2,000 students from 44 states and nearly 80 countries. This year’s incoming class of nearly 600 is its largest to date. Besides the groundbreaking iPad program, the school also maintains a comprehensive program for students with learning disabilities, amongst the best in Florida.
“One of the things I like about Lynn is that we’re very nimble,” said Mike Petroski, associate professor of computer management systems. “We’re constantly adjusting and reinventing ourselves, so it’s the latest, greatest thing and I’m glad we’re on the front end of it.”