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Education Handhelds Apple

Students At Lynn University Get iPad Minis Instead of Textbooks 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-different-i-guess dept.
Dave_Minsky writes "About 600 students will enter Lynn University's freshman class this year, the largest since 2007, and they will all be using iPad Minis instead of textbooks. The iPads will cost $475, saving students up to 50% of what a semester's worth of textbooks would cost, estimates Lynn. Students will be able to access core curriculum classes on their iPads that are 'enhanced with custom multimedia content,' and will come with 'at least 30 education, productivity, social and news-related iOS apps — some free and some paid for by the university.' This seems to be the beginning of a new era for American colleges. The Boca Raton university is not the first to give iPads to students instead of textbooks. Back in 2010, New Jersey-based Seton Hill University announced it would give students the tablets rather than books."
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Students At Lynn University Get iPad Minis Instead of Textbooks

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  • Am I glad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:02PM (#44657463)
    Yes I am. About what? Glad you asked - the fact that my apps are sold to edu at a discount and schools buy in bulk. Very glad indeed $$
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:06PM (#44657507) Homepage Journal

    This could be a good thing, but only if it reduces the price of the average content.

    all prices subject to change if publisher feels he needs a bonus

    • by berashith (222128) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:08PM (#44657529)

      sometimes it is nice to have a book from a class for a while after the class is over. This will also end borrowing books, or buying really cheap used books. And want to retake a class for a better score... buy the book again. Everyone pays full e-price for access to the online content for this semester.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        sometimes it is nice to have a book from a class for a while after the class is over. This will also end borrowing books, or buying really cheap used books. And want to retake a class for a better score... buy the book again. Everyone pays full e-price for access to the online content for this semester.

        I still have almost all of my college text books. Every now and then I pull one out of the book case and consult it on something. Hard to imagine how I'd do that over the time I've had them if they were electronic versions, particularly if they were tied to some device, which may be utterly defunct now and I couldn't just copy them onto a newer device.

    • by alen (225700)

      wouldn't be surprised if the university is creating their own books. apple has a SDK to somewhat easily create your own textbooks

    • I'm curious about how this will work with regards to textbooks. Nowadays - at least at my university - many of the faculty use their self-authored textbook when they teach a course. Given that this seems to be done to generate income, I doubt they're going to discount their part of the cost just because the books weren't printed on paper. And what if the facility's publisher doesn't offer electronic versions of their books?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:18PM (#44657647)

      Unfortunately, textbook publishers generally charge the same amount for "digital" copies, while eliminating the used market through the use of activation codes. So, you still spend the same amount on text books (more, if you were planning to buy used), you cannot recoup any of that cost by reselling after the semester is over, and now you have to buy an iPad on top of it all -- even if it's wrapped up in the cost of tuition, you're still buying it. This is a win for only one group: the publishers.

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        Unfortunately, textbook publishers generally charge the same amount for "digital" copies, while eliminating the used market through the use of activation codes. So, you still spend the same amount on text books (more, if you were planning to buy used), you cannot recoup any of that cost by reselling after the semester is over, and now you have to buy an iPad on top of it all -- even if it's wrapped up in the cost of tuition, you're still buying it. This is a win for only one group: the publishers.

        ...and teh Apple, don't forget them...

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        This is a university for rich kids. They are probably far more concerned about getting the most trendy solution for their future alumni donors than in saving them money.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:42PM (#44657891)

      Sadly, it won't. One thing companies have shown us is that they have no interest in passing the cost savings of digital distribution on to the consumer. They just look at it as extra profit. "Books" will be as expensive as ever, but will now require the hardware to read them.

      What's even more insulting is the number of college courses that require you to purchase a book, only to find out that the teacher will barely use it. There were lots of classes where I was able to just leave the book shrinkwrapped, and just return it after a week or so claiming I purchased an extra on accident.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        There will also be no possibility of picking up second hand text e-books from the previous year's students that finished with them already. I know the textbook industry has been trying to work around this for years by issuing unnecessary revisions but DRM is far more effective.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Digital delivery does not mean cheaper content. It merely means larger profit margins since cost of production is lowered. Ie, if they figure out that $75 is the cost they can list for text books without having universities drop them, then that is the price they well charge whether it's published and shipped, published locally, or digitally delivered. The cynical side of me thinks that the students will basically be paying an extra $475 to be yet another generation of guinea pigs in Apple's schemes to ge

  • Not New Jersey (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:08PM (#44657527)

    Seton Hill University is in Pennsylvania. It's more popularly known sister school, Seton Hall University, is in New Jersey.

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:08PM (#44657533)

    My interest in science and technology was sparked by the college textbooks the prior generation left lying around. I'm not really opposed to ditching dead trees for digital, but I either want my access to the content to be permanent, just like a book, or I want the price to be WAY less than 1/2 the cost of buying the books.

    • by fredrated (639554)

      I have to agree. If I was a student there and could afford it I would buy the text books anyway.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:17PM (#44657625)

      Well you do also get an iPad that you can do stuff other then reading your text books.

      When going to grad school, I was lucky enough that most of my professors gave me PDFs of the documents they wanted to read and the school had an electronic access to journals. So I could get the document in electronic form. This is much better then a text book. For one I have condition where my eyes cannot follow straight lines, making reading books very difficult without a ruler, as I will jump to the next line and read a partial sentence. However on screen I can highlight the text while I am reading, Or have it text to speech the content to me. Where I can sit back and rest my eyes and listen to the content, or read along while it is playing. Making sure that I am not missing anything.

    • by BetaDays (2355424)
      I agree with you I have tried both 10 inch tablets and 7 inch tables and my 4 inch phone and I can't stand reading off of them. So the question is what if the student doesn't want to go paperless? Or what if the student doesn't want to use Apple products at all, like me I'm a MS software kind of guy been that way since 1987. Please don't mod me down for that.
      • what if some needs a full size laptop?

        can't use a touch screen?

        and so on?

      • I agree with you I have tried both 10 inch tablets and 7 inch tables and my 4 inch phone and I can't stand reading off of them.

        Meh, I used to think that way. Now most of my technical books are on Kindle (reading them off a 10" Galaxy Tab.) It's all right and it serves the purpose. The amount of space I've reduced is so insane that I've been willing to pay for a kindle version of a book I already had in print (selling or tossing away the printed one.) The convenience pays itself over time (not to mention that the tablet is a more versatile, utilitarian tool than three shelves of printed books ever will be.)

        So the question is what if the student doesn't want to go paperless?

        The thing about a college

    • by djlemma (1053860)
      In one of the articles, they mention that the materials on the iPad are the instructor-written texts. They also mentioned that 50% of the texts used in classes were instructor-written. So, it sounds to me like you pay 50% of the cost of buying textbooks to get an iPad, which has 50% of your textbooks on it. You're still going to need to spend all the money on the other textbooks that you normally would have, so it's sort of a wash, although you do end up with a gadget to hold onto in the end.

      If it actua
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        But you're stuck using only the iPad, you're being locked into a single vendor with the worst track recorder of interoperability. Where if you had any old device that could read PDF you'd be much better off.

    • You could just pirate the ebooks you buy. You have permanent access that way.
    • It's cheaper, but what sucks is you can't resell. I saved about 1/2 on my texts in my last semester.

  • replaced by "someone stole my ipad"
  • They better have it on them at all times and not leave it in the car. The college industrial complex is overloading its classrooms, thus resulting in overcrowded parking lots. When I was a broke college student, I used to just leave my car doors unlocked intentionally because the assumption was always that if you have something in your car that thieves want badly enough, they're going to get it; even if it means breaking windows. I figured I might as well leave the doors unlocked because otherwise I'd have
  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:18PM (#44657641) Homepage
    So no resale at all rather than the shitty 3% return most campus bookstores pay. No holding onto for future reference. Little ability to gloss notes. And with the money they "save", students will be able to cover almost half of the "general fee" increase this year.
    • Wow you got a 3% return on your text books, I was lucky if I could sell mine back especially for the various liberal arts courses where for some reason a new revision comes out every year or they were switching each semester. On the rare occasion that I wanted to sell a book back and it was still in use often it was refused because I would take notes directly in the margin and they don't want a marked up book.
  • Right to read (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knarf (34928) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:19PM (#44657659) Homepage

    For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in collegeâ"when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. [gnu.org] Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan...

  • ipad MINI ?!?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:20PM (#44657669)
    That's a horrible choice. I don't know about the books you have to read, but that miniature screen is too freaking small for several of the textbooks I had to use.

    Yes, I know you can enlarge the view, but you can't enlarge the screen, and when you need to see the whole thing at a size large enough to make out the details, a miniature screen is annoying and useless. The mini is a fail for that purpose.
    • I don't know who modded the parent a troll, but he's got a good point. These things have a screen only 5 inches by 7.5 or so, with a resolution (rotated) of 1024 x 768. That's pathetic for reading something like a textbook that you're studying from.

      I surf the web on my phone, but I wouldn't want to study calculus or read caselaw on it.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      This is a university. Odds are they love Apple, even though the comparable Android devices are half the price and have faster processors and better screens at half the price. As I've said before, going with a solution where you have exactly one hardware provider and one software provider is a bad choice.

      • Unless you want all your students to have the 100% same experience - in which case it is your only choice.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          You can still pick a single device, you just have more to choose from. It's an advantage when negotiating price if nothing else.

  • The cost of a textbook has little to do with the cost of printing, which is the only cost mitigated by electronic distribution. Are they expecting the publishers of the textbooks to offer up their works for free? I mean, it might cut down on professors writing their own textbooks and releasing new revisions each year so that students always had to buy new books instead of used.. but.. I'm having trouble believing that the costs involved will be limited to the $475 of the iPad.
    • Rather than using electronic textbooks, they have decided to replace the textbooks with "custom multimedia course material", which apparently is distributed for free.

      This means two things:
      A) The cost of writing the custom material will be built in to the course. It obviously won't be developed for free, so the cost is hidden, and can't be defrayed by purchasing a used book or renting a book. It doesn't cut down on professors writing their own textbooks, it essentially enforces a version of that scenar
  • the used book market.

    Colleges/Universities will ultimately be 'subscribing' classes to textbook publishers, then the college will turn around and require the student to pay (with a nice profit margin on top of course) the college for access to the content.

    There will be no 'legitimate' method of obtaining the courseware; ergo, if you don't pay the college, you'll not be allowed to attend the class.

    Hacking this will, of course, result in imprisonment for some DMCA violation to be sure.

    Sad, but inevitable.

  • It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ghostworks (991012) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:27PM (#44657743)

    Every time I look at my old engineering texts taking up shelf space I think, "I wish that someone could take all these, cut out about half of the valuable material, dice up the remainder between 30 odd sites and apps, and then tie it to a device with a 7-year shelf life."

    As anyone who's dealt education-oriented online media (such as Blackboard) can tell you, the products are not always stellar. You get less text, its usually structured in such a way that it takes longer to read, the access is spotty, and it will probably not work as well as that in a year. Even the number one benefit of digitization -- search -- tends to be awkward or incomplete.

    They say the iPad is about half the cost of books. I can easily believe that, but it also means you don't get to buy used books, or re-sell your used books. They've streamlined the process in a way that either offers no benefit, or benefits suppliers more than students.

    It did convince the university to buy their student's books for them, provided you don't consider being forced to buy an iPad as being the same as being forced to "rent" used books. Or for that matter, so long as you don't consider going to a free library as an option. And so long as you don't consider that buying an iPad and getting electronic copies of textbooks was always an option for most books. All the ways they've streamlined the process are for the primary benefit of the supplier of the material.

    Overall, it seems workable for books that you no interest in keeping beyond one semester (electives). But that is exactly the case where you can generally benefit from being flexible, buying bog-standard books from any store you please, buying a digital copy, or going to the library as needed. If you're talking about material that will actually continue to be relevant after a single semester, it sounds like a bad idea, putting a random-valued timer on your reference material.

    • They say the iPad is about half the cost of books.

      I don't know who "they" are or if that is a true statement, but it doesn't matter. Price comparisons when discussion text books are meaningless because it isn't a free market. So yes, the iPad may be 1/2 the price, but only because the textbook manufactures inflate the cost of textbooks. There is no reason to believe that once ebooks have replaced textbooks for the majority of classrooms, that the pricing of ebooks will climb just as quickly as textbook pricing has.

      Textbook publishers always say it is the

  • It is potentially a great concept. I just hope insurance is available, because textbooks are expensive, but nobody wants to steal them from you.

  • I appreciate that the university is trying to save their students money and possibly give them a better(?) education, if those are the true reasons. As noted, students often buy used books. The short article doesn't mention if that is still possible, or how long these books will be available to the student, are the textbooks going to be available when the students leave the University?? Can I get access to textbooks for classes I am not taking??

    My first exposure to computers was when I was a math major a
    • I re-read the article and found that it is reporting another article [insidehighered.com]. So, yes indeed, it is required .. no choice. They worked with Apple (no conflict there).

      More specifically ...

      Beginning in fall 2013, all incoming students will be required to purchase an iPad mini, which will come loaded with the student’s summer reading and core curriculum texts, created by Lynn faculty.

      So it's not all the textbooks, just the core curriculum that Lynn has created. $475 is just the starting point and the iPad ma

    • university's are to stuck in the past as well the ideas of trades / apprenticeship is put down by them.

      in IT, the 4 year process doesn’t work for some, especially those who have learning disabilities, ““The older college system is not for all, and some people learn better on their own. It’s an antiquated system, especially in IT.”

      Also the loans that are very hard to discharges make so that university's can jack up the prices with no real recourse as some who can't even get a h

  • by drachenfyre (550754) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:40PM (#44657877) Homepage

    201,0? What strange year is this. And is it really that hard to understand that Seton Hill [wikipedia.org] != Seton Hall [wikipedia.org]?

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:47PM (#44657941)
    Now the textbook industry can join in on the rent-seeking business model for doing almost nothing.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <<gterich> <at> <aol.com>> on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:49PM (#44657953) Journal

    1) This solves the problem of student access to class materials. See, with the eBook approach, licenses can be made to be enabled on the first day of class and disabled on the last day of class. This prevents students from having early access to class materials, which levels the playing field for those who, for whatever reason, do not care to start learning before the first day of class

    2) This solves the problem of killing trees. Now, instead of using renewable, natural resources to print textbooks that last 50 or more years on a shelf and provide information over a person's entire career and even lifetime, we can start using non-renewable rare earth materials to make iPads, which last perhaps a few years and may or may not be able to give access to that same information depending on whether or not someone else wants you to be able to read it.

    3) This solves the problem of organic learning. With the smaller form factor and lower density of information, as well as the appeal to a shorter attention span, we can stop all this organic learning stuff and resort instead to rote memorization of bulleted facts, figures, and equations, which can then simply be regurgitated on multiple-choice exams.

    Hobbling more competitive students, more destruction to the environment and higher cost, and dumbing down our students. It's a hat-trick of WIN!

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:50PM (#44657957)

    Seems awesome till you consider what's been going on with education in the US. Textbooks are a lot harder to change than electronic media. I know LU isn't in Texas, but Florida is almost just as bad. If you can rewrite a cultures history, or erase it, you can make up your own and a few generations later nobody will remember a thing... like the Constitution.

    "Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathersâ(TM) commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light."[1]

    [1] - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html [nytimes.com]

  • Why pay next to $500 for a locked down system with no ports to add on vs ones with no app store lock down on the desktop, full MS office, usb, sd card slots and more.

  • What exactly does it mean to "give" students ipads? Last I checked, the students are still charged a fee. It might be less than if they paid for textbooks, but the school is giving them an ipad as much as your insurance company gives you free meds by having you pay a reduced price for generic prescriptions. In short, nothing is free, so nothing is being given, the students are only being charged less for an ipad and ebooks than they would be for paper books.

    I know that Lynn University is small (really, rea

  • So you pay $475 for the iPad and then how much for the individual books?

  • Drexel University and others of the Apple Consortium did this in 1984 with then amazing Drexel DU computer ... which was the code name for the Apple Macintosh 128K. Yes, I was, initially, irked at having to spend $2000 on a new computer when I just spent nearly that on my IBM PC. That dismay changed shortly after landed a job developing applications for it on an Apple Lisa and cross-compiling. Nervana came when a real native compiler and, other languages were introduced.

    Couldn't use them (Mac 128K) for t

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Friday August 23, 2013 @02:30PM (#44658401)

    It's tough enough reading PDFs on a full iPad *with* a retina display. On a smaller form factor like a Mini combined with its lower resolution -- fagetaboudit.

    And don't believe for a minute that non-PDF textbooks are an option. Books with equations, graphics, tables, or color render quite poorly and inconsistently as ebooks.

    Clearly this school plans to graduate only readers of plaintext fare like novels and poetry. And in that case, why not use cheaper B&W Kindles or Nooks?

  • by steveha (103154) on Friday August 23, 2013 @02:42PM (#44658533) Homepage

    As soon as anyone, anywhere in the world, has written a useful textbook with a free license, the whole world gains that textbook.

    I hope we will start seeing graduate students writing undergrad textbooks as projects, and releasing them with open licenses. Or seeing "publish or perish" professors satisfying the "publish" requirement by writing free textbooks.

    Even if the world only got one useful textbook per year for any given discipline, it wouldn't take many years before students could get a degree using nothing but free textbooks.

    Also, for subjects like math, once a textbook is done, it shouldn't take much to keep it current. Even for subjects like computer science where the state of the art is evolving, it would be relatively easy to keep the books up to date, and the basics don't change that much.

    Free and available textbooks would be nice to have for people living in wealthy countries, but would be a very big deal for people trying to get an education in really poor places. Etexts are the reason I got excited about the OLPC project when it was announced.

    There are plenty of people and companies who like the current system, but there are also plenty of people who have no stake in the current system and could release free books.

    If most or all of the books are completely free, then using a tablet is a complete win over dead trees textbooks.

  • it will be reported later that approximately 600 iPad mini's were stolen this year at Lynn University. Students will be responsible for replacement.

    The market for stolen 1st year textbooks on the night habits of wood voles is somewhat limited, while that of an iPad is somewhat high. Bonus points for rather than having a 50$ book stolen, they can get your whole (800$) collection at once!

  • I think there is an opportunity for someone to make an Android tablet with an 8" screen and a 4:3 aspect ratio.

    The Nexus 7 is, IMHO, a better tablet in most ways than an iPad Mini: higher resolution screen, less expensive, more powerful hardware. The 2013 refresh makes the above even more true, but I would rather have even a 2012 Nexus 7 than an iPad Mini.

    But the Nexus tablets are all widescreen; a Nexus 7 has a 16:10 aspect ratio with a 7" screen. This means that a Nexus 7 gives about 9.4 cm of width on

  • tuition is $32K a year

    For 32K a year they should hand out free motercycles to drive from class to class.

  • I sold most of my textbooks after the semester was over. Sometimes I didn't even buy all the books, I just borrowed some from friends to do the homework. Bet you don't have a choice as to whether you want to spend the full amount on the ipad with the textbooks on it, and bet you can't sell them afterwards. Clever. Unless you're a student, in which case that's pretty awful.

  • Because really, if the books aren't substantially cheaper, there's not really much of a financial incentive when the students are sill going to need textbooks anyways, even if they are entirely electronic.
  • iPad Mini is a very foolish choice. It's only 768x1024. Should be a retina iPad instead, which is 1536x2048.

    The 1536x2048 resolution of the iPad 3/4 is miles better than the 768x1024 resolution of the old iPad and the iPad Mini. Frankly, 768x1024 is insufficient for reading anything but pure text like novels. You need 1536x2048 for technical material or anything serious at all.

  • The iPads will cost $475, saving students up to 50% of what a semester's worth of textbooks would cost

    i wonder how they magically get the same texts, in digital form, for so much cheaper? last time i checked, publishers weren't offering discounts on digital media.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday August 23, 2013 @06:04PM (#44660495)

    My wife was a non-traditional student recently. We bought an iPad because one term of books cost more than the iPad. Nobody told us the e-books were gonna be just as expensive as the physical books, and they expired to boot. Not the iPad's fault, but iPad-as-cost-savings is a pretty short sighted strategy.

    She did like not having to carry 25 lbs. of books around in 100+ temps though.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Friday August 23, 2013 @07:28PM (#44661039)

    "...saving students up to 50% of what a semester's worth of textbooks would cost"

    The devil is in the details, isn't it?

    (1) Compared to the price of new, rather than used, textbooks.

    (2) Access to the books will be time limited, and books can not be loaned or resold.

    Please "save" me from having a permanent, loanable, non time-limited paper copy of Halliday and Resnik, which I have occasionally referred back to from time to time, including when doing patent filings, over the last 30 years.

    What is it they say these days? Was it "Do. Not. Want.", or was it "Get off my lawn!".

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday August 24, 2013 @12:58AM (#44662349)
    Wow, just think how much more they'd be saving if it was a lower grade tablet that cost 1/4th the price like the Galaxy Tab 2 or Avatar Sirius or AGPTek anything or basically anything else that's at least better than Kocaso quality. Giving them a fragile, easily shattered, lucury premium overpriced tablet like an ipad is ridiculous. Plus, have you ever tried running itunes on a domain? It's basically a boat anchor.

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