Gone are the days when a decent education alone lured college applicants. Now it's all about who's got the best gadget giveaways. Below, five college campuses with the goods to get the geeks.
The University of Notre Dame
As part of a year-long study of e-readers, Notre Dame is debuting the university's first paperless course. The Project Management class, which began on August 24, is being taught using iPads as a replacement for textbooks. All 40 students will get to use iPads for the duration of the class, with one caveat: They have to give them back at the end. Ultimately, Notre Dame hopes that its experiment can help generate an "ePublishing ecosystem," where faculty and students can quickly share electronic texts.
Stanford recently bought 100 iPads for this fall's incoming class of medical students. IPads hold a particular advantage in medical coursewords, according to Charles Prober, the senior associate dean for medical student education. He explained to the Stanford Daily, "When students get into clinical experiences and have a vague recollection of something they heard during class, it will be easy for them to go back and remind themselves what that was, and [they] can recall prior knowledge instead of going home searching through their syllabi."
Duke's Global Health Institute is offering up iPads for students in a master's course that focuses on methodological techniques in global health research. The iPads will be used out in the field for to collect, organize, and analyze data. It's a real-world test for the iPad's durability--students will milk the devices for all of their 10-hour battery life in dusty environments. Last year, students in the Institute were given Flip Cams for, um, interviews.
Northwest Kansas Technical College
Not to be outdone by its top-tier iPad-equipped competitors, Northwest Tech is offering free iPads to every single student this fall. Students will have access to Northwest Tech iTunes U platform to check out lectures, and they will also have the opportunity to develop content directly on the iPad.
George Fox University
George Fox, a school that bills itself as Oregon's Nationally Recognized Christian University, gave this fall's incoming students the choice between an iPad or a MacBook. The reason for the choice? Greg Smith, George Fox's CIO explains on the university website, "It would be reckless to make a switch and only offer the iPad ... We honestly don’t know everything about it." We're curious to see how many students opt for the iPad over the MacBook--especially since the MacBook is worth more cash.
Expect to see iPads popping up even in schools that don't offer them to students directly--one back to school survey recently found that one in 20 consumers plan to buy an iPad. Whether that translates into increased classroom use, however, is still up in the air.