iPads in the classroom: MBA students weigh in

March 23, 2011

Could iPads replace all textbooks and course packets in the future? According to those involved in early trials of the tablets at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, we’re not there yet.

Soon after the first iPads were unveiled last year, the W. P. Carey School become one of the first business schools in the world to assign tablets to students for use in a couple of MBA classes. The first 10-week trial started in August with students in a management class, and the second was conducted soon after with students in a supply chain management course. Overall, it was an interesting experiment. Download Full Image

“This was an opportunity to use an innovative product and get people on board, trying something new in the classroom,” says Professor Beth Walker, associate dean for the W. P. Carey MBA. “We also knew it would make class materials very portable for students who didn’t want to lug around books or thick course packets, especially those who have busy work lives or travel. However, we saw some initial resistance.”

Tami Coronella, director of student services for the W. P. Carey MBA, helped set up the iPad trials. She had already been looking at ways to introduce new mobile technology into the classroom, when an existing course-packet vendor approached her about a pilot program with provided iPads. If the trials worked out, iPads might save students and the school some money in the future; the tablets cost less than the books and course packs normally used in these classes. However, students received books and hard copies of the materials as back-ups during the trials, just in case.

“These were great trials for us because we learned a lot,” says Coronella. “We encouraged students to use the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools available on the iPad. For reading, though, the students had to be connected to the Internet in order to download some of the materials, and that was a bigger constraint than expected. Also, access to e-textbooks expires over time, so as long as that’s the case, we would need to keep providing many of the books and materials to the students for use after that access ends.”

The students involved in the trials met with a technical support team every two weeks to offer feedback, which was quickly utilized for their benefit. Through the two trials, about 60 students were able to provide input on what’s needed to make the iPad a viable class tool.

“We wound up creating lots of online resources and classroom support materials that are being used by many students, including those with their own personal iPads,” says Coronella. “We also had our course-packet provider create an easy-to-use app with simple access to required reading.”

Coronella says if prices start coming down, and access to textbooks online is offered without expiration, then iPads might make sense as replacements for other course materials somewhere down the line.

“We’re going to keep monitoring the situation,” she says. “I’d like to utilize the tablets, especially for our evening, online and executive MBA students, who are always on the go. Eventually, we’d also like to make many class lectures available as podcasts, and students can listen at the gym or while traveling. It’s a matter of convenience.”

The W. P. Carey School’s dean sums up the findings of this unscientific experiment by saying that iPads are great for reading, but still lack a lot of the functionality needed for education. He believes we have a long way to go before tablets could replace all traditional classroom materials.

“Right now, some things are more cumbersome than on laptop computers, and websites using Flash will just freeze on an iPad,” says Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “In a nutshell, without more functionality, it’s not a replacement for anything we do in education; it’s just a nice supplement.”

Kuksiks earns Toyo Scholar Athlete of the Year

March 23, 2011

http://thesundevils.cstv.com/genrel/071910aad.html"> style="color: #0066cc;">Check out how many Sun Devils won Toyo Tires Student Athlete of the Year in 2009-10

http://thesundevils.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/052804aaa.html"> style="color: #0066cc;">Click here for a list of Sun Devil men's basketball players who have earned their degrees since 1990 Download Full Image

Rihards Kuksiks earned the Pac-10 Men's Basketball Senior 2010-11 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, presented by Toyo Tires. An Interdisciplinary Studies major, with concentrations in Sociology and Communications, Kuksiks sports a 2.96 GPA and will graduate in May. His senior class produced the most wins by a four-year class in school history (80).

A senior from Riga, Latvia, Rihards finished his career 23rd on Arizona State's all-time leading scorer list with 1,175 points. He posted 280 career three-pointers made, second on the ASU career list and seventh on the Pac-10 list, while his 696 attempts is ninth on the Pac-10 career chart and fourth in ASU history.

In order to be eligible for the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution. The athletic accomplishments of the nominees are also factored into the voting for the award.

Scholar-Athletes of the Year in each sport receive a commemorative award. Toyo Tires will donate $1,000 to the scholarship funds of the institution's athletic department of each winner in recognition of their accomplishments.

A Scholar-Athlete of the Year is named in each of the Pac-10's 22 sponsored sports. The Pac-10, in cooperation with corporate partner Toyo Tires, established the "Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards, presented by Toyo Tires" during the 2008-09 academic year.

Kuksiks posted 10th 20-point game of his career with 22 points vs. Oregon on Mar. 3, and ASU was 7-3 in those games. He matched career-highs in points (27) and rebounds (nine) in the Jan. 8, 2010, win over No. 24 Washington. He had six 20-point games in 2009-10 with ASU going 5-1 in those games and led the team in scoring in six times in 2010-11 and in 20 times in career.

27 vs. #24 Washington (Jan. 8, 2010)
27 vs. San Francisco (Nov. 20, 2009)
25 at Oregon (Jan. 14, 2010)
24 vs. USC (Mar. 4, 2010)
24 vs. UCSB (Dec. 21, 2009)
22 vs. Oregon (Mar. 3, 2011)
22 vs. USC (Jan. 27, 2011)
21 vs. Jacksonville (Mar. 16, 2010/NIT)
20 at Nevada (Dec. 17, 2010)
20 vs. Syracuse (Mar. 22, 2009 @Miami/NCAA)