A new initiative at Moravian College aims to provide all students with 21st-century knowledge and skills that will be transferrable over numerous careers. The College will issue a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPad to all new undergraduate students entering in the fall of 2014 and embark on a plan to become an all-MacBook Pro campus.
Students come into college with personal technology experience, but often lack the technical skills the business world requires. The program at Moravian is designed to enable students to gain the experience they need using the software that is most current in their chosen fields. “Our goal is to provide students with the best in technology and collaborative learning tools to prepare them for their futures,” said Bryon L. Grigsby ’90, president of Moravian College. "We are developing an integrated mobile learning program that will transform the way students learn and professors teach."
Faculty members, who will be equipped with the same MacBooks and iPads as the students, will explore ways to make the best use of the technology in teaching both in and out of the classroom. The program will facilitate the "classroom flip" model of learning in which students access online lectures and resources outside of class, allowing professors to spend more time working directly with students in the classroom. “iPads enable faculty to develop their own courseware, eBooks, and apps for pedagogical use, significantly lowering the cost of books for students and increasing student engagement through interactive materials,” Grigsby explained.
“Ultimately, we’ll be creating a personalized learning environment where access to information through multiple modalities is more closely aligned to the learning styles of our students,” Grigsby noted. “The standardization of technology across the campus will facilitate even greater collaboration between faculty members and students and between peers of both groups.”
Apple products were chosen for a variety of practical reasons including format versatility, hardware reliability, and software creativity. “Becoming an all-MacBook Pro campus has some very real advantages, not only from an educational standpoint, but also from the information technology perspective,” said Scott Hughes, chief information officer at Moravian College. “The Apple platform can run Linux, Windows, or iOS, giving faculty and students flexibility to work in the operating system that is best suited for their discipline. Commonality across the campus will make for greater efficiencies in maintaining and servicing the fleet of devices and reducing our IT ecological footprint.”
Moravian is currently a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) campus. Moravian maintains a number of Mac and Windows labs and classrooms where students who don’t have their own computers can access the College’s many computing resources. “By providing new students with a 13-inch MacBook Pro and an iPad that will be covered by their tuition, the College will, in effect, be providing all students with equal access to technology,” Hughes continued. “The College is working to finalize details on a plan that would allow current students to buy into the program.”
The College has recently improved its wireless infrastructure and has increased its bandwidth. “Our goal is to become fully mesh-compliant and to provide a continuous link connecting our north (Main Street) and south (Hurd) campuses. This will allow access to information and informal learning to occur anywhere on campus,” Hughes explained. Over the summer, we completed a migration from MS Exchange to Google for Education to open up opportunities to use a large and growing number of applications that have great potential within pedagogy.”
“This initiative will benefit our students by enabling them to better understand and effectively utilize information technology to gain the knowledge necessary for 21st century careers.” President Grigsby said. “All Moravian students will be uniquely prepared for the careers they choose—even those that have not yet been created—by learning the technological skills they’ll need in the modern workforce.”
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s website at www.moravian.edu.