All students now have access to the 40 new iPads that joined the shelves in Rice Library. The iPads became available to check out Monday, and students can keep them for up to a week without renewals.
The 16-gigabyte iPad 3s are equipped with preloaded applications such as Blackboard. Students are allowed to download applications to the iPads and can sync music and applications from their own iTunes accounts.
After returning iPads to the library, the department will wipe them clean of applications and personal information. The iPads come with a charger and a leather case.
Travis Dickison, sophomore health care administration major, said the idea came from Richard Toeniskoetter, executive director of the Information Technologies Department. The Student Government Association (SGA) housing representative said Toeniskoetter asked SGA to support his idea and claimed he could “easily” secure funding for the iPads.
Dickison said during April 2012, he and Toeniskoetter looked at practical uses for iPads, and SGA gave recommendations on the rental policy. It proposed its ideas to the university, and USI gained funding for the iPads during the summer. Dickison said after the university signed the contract with Apple for the bookstore, it was able to get a discount.
The iPads arrived to the library in February, but the library department has been customizing them and entering the iPads into the system, Dickison said.
Dickison said he feels the laptops and iPads are both important technologies that should be offered to students, but iPads offer different things than laptops do.
“The applications for iPads will be a lot better than any computer software that might be on the laptops,” Dickison said.
Dickison said iPads offer applications that will be good for students trying to study together.
“I think it will be really good for collaboration, for groups working together,” Dickison said. “There are a lot of good applications that work through Wi-Fi to share screens.”
Director of Library Marna Hostetler said it’s important for students to have access to iPads because the devices have become more common in the workplace and are more convenient than laptops.
“I feel that the devices have become fairly affordable if you have a job, but if you are a student, it’s different,” Hostetler said. “A student might have a laptop, but that’s pretty heavy to carry around with you all day.”
Hostetler said tablets, such as iPads, are more personal, which is why the library decided on a week-long check out. Hostetler said iPads are easier for reading documents, checking emails and checking Facebook.
“You can download apps on them to make them more custom for your use,” Hostetler said. “They are small, they are light, they are easy to move around, you can take them with you, and it’s just amazing how quickly they become integrated into your life.”
Hostetler said when students check out an iPad for the first time, there is an agreement to sign, the same policy the library has for laptops. Within the agreement, students agree to pay for the damage costs, determined by the IT department, or for the cost of the device if the iPad is lost.
Hostetler said students will be able to take laptops loaned from the library outside of the library starting this fall.
Cameron Clark, sophomore philosophy and English major, said the main benefit of having iPads would be that students could bring electronic reading assignments with them to classes.
“Several of my professors post reading assignments on Blackboard,” Clark said. “This makes it difficult to bring the readings to class without printing them out, and having an iPad would eliminate this problem.”
Clark said he prefers to read electronic documents on a tablet-style device instead of on a laptop and sees iPads being a great benefit to other students as well.
“Instead of printing out a great deal of papers, an iPad can save students time and money.” Clark said. “Time and money are incredibly valuable resources to USI students, and any chance to save either is always beneficial.”