Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, met with the Students’ Association on Wednesday to discuss the administration’s current proposal that would require all undergraduate students to own an iPad.
For months, ACU faculty have discussed the possibility of transitioning from the “mobile learning initiative,” which attempted to integrate Apple iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads into campus life and education, to an exclusively iPad initiative. The mobile learning budget has enough money to allow this year’s freshmen and sophomores to receive new devices their junior years.
Rhodes’ current proposal, based on input from faculty and students, would require all incoming freshmen to own iPads before coming to ACU. Whether the requirement would apply to all classes is still undecided.Â The university would not provide iPads for students, but there is the possibility they could be rented. The device would then be utilized extensively in general education classes.
Rhodes and many SA congress members shared similar concerns about the iPad mandate. Many students said their teachers do not encourage the use of mobile devices or tablets in the classroom, or that the iPad was largely useless for their Â major. The iBookstore has a growing number of textbooks, but is still insufficient for the majority of students.
“We’d be limiting ourselves to say this is a tool we’re not going to have anything to do with,” Rhodes said. “I don’t think we can use it without limitation.”
One prevalent issue in the discussion was the overall cost to students, who would be required to spend additional money for an iPad. Rhodes said that by ending the mobile learning initiative, tuition would not increase as much, but will likely still increase.
SA President Rebecca Dial questioned the restriction to strictly an Apple tablet device.
“The Microsoft Surface is coming out, and it’s got all the Microsoft products on there already,” said Dial, senior political science and finance major from Lexington, S.C. “That’s way better for me as a business student. My concern is that we’re pushing iPads and not looking at possibly even better alternatives.”
Rhodes said there is nothing restricting a move to multiple platforms.
“We are so far down the Apple road that it’s less expensive and easier just to go that next step,” said Rhodes. “I think ultimately, though, we need a wider platform when students come in.”
Most of the two-hour-long meeting, however, was spent discussing conference fund requests, which began this week.
Four student organizations requested support from SA for trips this semester. After lengthy and heated debate, the Society of Physics Students was awarded $870 for the Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress; the ACU Locavore Club was awarded $75 for the 2012 Biodynamic Conference; the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietics was awarded $600 for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition; and the American Society of Interior Designers was awarded $300 for the ASID Student Symposium.
SA meetings are open to all students. Meetings are conducted on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. in the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building room 114. Next week’s speakers will include Jared Mosely, director of athletics, and Dr. Brady Bryce, director of ministry events.
Andrew Saucedo, BSB representative
Bryson Shake, junior class vice president
Elizabeth Cansino, SRWC representative