First iPad University Course

Great idea! Rutgers University and Apple’s higher education team are collaborating on a Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing that will fully integrate the iPad.

Rather than placing all the course content online, the program will take place in the classroom, but will provide students with iPads loaded with all required reading material, videos and custom applications.

Eric Greenburg, director of the progam, is hoping to merge the benefits of instructor-led learning as well as the power and flexibility of the iPad. Eric was kind of enough to provide a brief interview for The eLearning Coach readers. He did not, however, offer me an iPad.

COACH: What inspired you to integrate the iPad into your program?
We see the iPad as having the potential to be a game changing device that will create new markets, and new ways for people to create content and communicate with one another.  We also believe it has the potential to transform the classroom experience.

COACH: What advantages do you think the iPad has over mobile learning on smart phones and over standard web-based courses?
ERIC: By living in the space between mobile devices, and computers, the iPad can take advantage of many of the benefits offered by both technologies.  For example, the iPad is easier to read and use than a smart phone, and yet more mobile than a laptop. However, we see it’s potential not necessarily limited to the end consumer (although we see a huge market for new users), but also in how businesses may choose to employ them to improve productivity of their employees and improved offline experiences for their customers.

In the classroom, these devices provide the perfect balance that can allow students to replace their notebooks, textbooks, laptops, etc for one integrated device.  As technology evolves we see a blurring of the traditional lines that separate sellers and buyers, manufacturers and sellers, customers and organizations. Our hope is that the iPad can extend the classroom learning beyond the walls of the classroom and even the hours of the class. We see the future of education as a network of peers and individuals all communicating and sharing information with each other.

COACH: How are your courses structured?
ERIC: The Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing is a 36 hour executive education course designed for working professionals. The class is currently only offered offline in the Piscataway campus at Rutgers and can be completed in either a one week intensive program or once a week over 12 weeks. Participants receive a Rutgers Certificate and are eligible to waive up to 3 elective credits in the full-time MBA program.

COACH: Will the students have opportunities to interact through the course?
ERIC: Yes, we plan to set up social networks for students to communicate both during and after the course.

COACH: What media formats will you use to deliver content, such as video, audio, text, graphics and interactions?
ERIC: We have 6-12 different faculty teaching the course and each are working on their own unique solutions that will employ many of the formats you describe.

COACH: Do you see the lack of Flash media on the iPad as a drawback for education?
No, we envision that this will be a temporary drawback that within 6 months will become a non-issue.

COACH: How will you handle assessments on the iPad?
ERIC: One of the projects in our class will be a formal assessment and recommendation by the students on how to use the iPad for higher education.

COACH: What kind of reaction are you getting from students as they hear about the course?
ERIC: The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with many inquiries and requests for additional information.

COACH: What do you hope to gain from this approach?
ERIC: We think the iPad can help Rutgers transform business education.

NOTE: This interview took place early in the development process. Still to be identified are: instructional strategies, use of the gestural interface, and authoring/programming tools.

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Related Article:
Making Sense Of The iPad For Online Learning

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  1. April Hayman says

    Hi Connie,

    Did he mention why Flash would be a non-issue within 6 months? That is a major point of contention for mobile learning.

    Great post by the way! I shared it with my colleagues at ISTE.


  2. Connie Malamed says

    Hi April,
    No he didn’t, but I just assumed he meant that they’d be using HTML-5 or Apple’s object language for iPhones. I specifically asked about authoring tools and he said it was still in development.

  3. Mark Smithers says

    I’m sorry this is a ridiculous idea. I don’t know how any university could possibly restrict its learning material to one platform. Imagine the justifiable outcry if a university proposed a Windows only course even a Google Android course.

    Universities should be about promoting openness, not restricting students to single platforms.

  4. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Mark,
    You make an interesting point. But did you see the fact that they are providing the learners with the iPads? I assume their purpose is to facilitate learning for their professional audience, which is mobile and sophisticated. That said, you’re right that it doesn’t promote openness. Thanks for offering your opinion.

  5. Kahala Cromwell says

    Wonderful, I hope that we will be utilizing iPad to view our classes. I am in Hawaii collaborating with my classmates and professors.

    Btw, I am using my wi fi iPad right now! I look forward to 6 months from now to see what innovation Jobs has in store-voice recognition? Or his own version of flash? I look forward to it,

  6. Gary Fox says

    It is alwasy good to see technology adopted early, put into use and attract attention. The ipad seems to be a poular tool to use. However, since there isn’t much mention of how the course is structured around the device and no comments fro user it is hard to gauge the extent of how effective it will be. Needless to say it is a tool and we along with others are facing the challenge of devising user experience and content to engage people remotely. We are currently pioneering with a partner mobile learning but the work is in the content and feedback from users; the tools are relatively easy to deploy.

  7. Connie Malamed says

    Thanks for your awesome comments everyone. It sounds like we’re all wondering, analyzing or practically exploring whether this technology will facilitate training and education. I tend to think that designers will be able to exploit the advantageous features of the iPad in a way that will promote learning, even if it’s just increasing convenience and mobility. But time will tell.

  8. Geo Trice says

    This is really exciting news. I truly think that the iPad is going to revolutionize eLearning both inside and outside of a classroom. I found a related article that you may like, after reading this one of course.

    It’s titled “What the iPad means for eLearning development” and it can be found here:

  9. Hussain says

    we already have hundreds of flash based content, is there anyway to access it in ipad or any other feasible conversion way to make is compatible with ipad. If anybody provide optimized solution for this issue.

    Then best way to create interactive courses for ipad. Is it possible to create interactivities and simulations for ipad as how we can develope it with flash. kindly share your ideas on better workflow and supporting tools for ipad based elearning development.

    Thanks & Regards

  10. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Hussain,
    At the moment, there is no way to access Flash-based content on the iPad, which I consider a big loss to the world. I’m hoping that Adobe will figure out some way around this, eventually. As to developing eLearning for the iPad, like you I’m still waiting to see what publishers will come up with and will write about it when I hear more. Thanks for your input.

  11. Marc Alan Sperber says

    Interesting article! Good to see some other folks testing out the iPad in higher ed.

    I’m the Educational Technologies Consultant for the Duke Global Health Institute and we are also engaged in an iPad pilot. We are testing out the iPad as a fieldwork research tool. This upcoming semester, we will give students in a research methods course iPads to use during fieldwork exercises (actually, they will have the iPads throughout the semester). Next summer, some of these students will take the iPads with them around the world when they do their summer research projects. This is a grant-funded project, thanks to Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT).

    More about the project here:

  12. Connie Malamed says

    Hi Marc,
    Thanks for sharing this with us and would love to hear some updates as to whether you feel that what, if anything, about the technology facilitates learning.

  13. Marc Alan Sperber says

    Hi Connie,

    Great question about how we think the iPad will facilitate learning in our (Duke Global Health Institute) pilot program. I think I said it best in the article I linked to in my previous comment when I said:

    “Traditionally, the more sophisticated learning, the kind that requires synthesis and evaluation, occurs after the students have left the field, after they have completed data entry, and only after they have begun to organize, interpret, compare and contrast, and summarize their data by retiring to a location with a laptop or desktop computer, like their home or office,” said Marc Sperber, DGHI Educational Technologies Consultant and the main consultant for this project. “With an iPad, a student may collect, organize and display data while in the field, allowing them to immediately engage in analyzing and interpreting that data when and where it has greatest meaning.”


  14. Kiran says

    Hi. Here is a very useful iPad web-app for education/research. WizFolio is a reference management software for the iPad. You can manage your files and browse PDFs and references.


  1. […] First iPad University Course Great idea! Rutgers University and Apple’s higher education team are collaborating on a Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing that will fully integrate the iPad. Rather than placing all the course content online, the program will take place in the classroom, but will provide students with iPads loaded with all required reading material, videos and custom applications. iPads for Education | Victoria, Australia Apple recommends using iTunes to turn on or off the accessibility features of the device. You can also use iTunes with GW Micro Window-Eyes (Windows) and VoiceOver (Mac). <b>Note: </b> iTunes 9.1 or later is required for use with iPad. […]

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