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Groundbreaking mobile cloud-computing initiative expanded again; eligible students to receive an iPad 2


Kim Volpe-Casalino,University Director of Public Relations
Long Island University

BROOKVILLE, N.Y., April 11 – Suggest to George Baroudi that his head is in the clouds, and he might just thank you for the compliment.

Baroudi is the chief information officer at Long Island University and the catalyst behind a massive iPad® deployment that may reach more than 10,000 students and educators by December 2011.

The University announced the iPad initiative last summer to empower students with a groundbreaking communications device and unprecedented access to resources and services via cloud computing. Cloud computing is web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers, smartphones and now the iPad on demand over the Internet.

What is also groundbreaking is the way Long Island University students are receiving their new iPad devices – at no cost for incoming, full-time freshmen and transfer students, and now at half price, or $250, for incoming graduate students and new part-time undergraduate students.* The institution has deployed more iPad technology than any other school in the nation, and it was the first in the tri-state area to provide the revolutionary device to students at no cost.

Apple® has sold more than 10 million iPad devices since its introduction last April. The revolutionary product allows users to connect with their apps, content and the Internet in a more intimate and intuitive way than ever before. In less than nine months, iPad has helped to reshape higher education in the way students access and consume content.

“Cloud computing is here,” Baroudi declared. “It is a concept that enables ubiquitous access to people, content, applications and the Internet.”

So far, more than 5,000 LIU students have received their devices. Once it is determined that a student is iPad-eligible, the device is docked and populated with university-centric information and applications. The loading process takes all of 30 seconds.

The center of a student’s iPad universe is My LIU, a cloud-based interface that instantly places campus maps, news, course schedules, calendars, discussion groups and personal account information at his or herfingertips. My LIU, once a portal, is now an iPad app.

As a communications tool, Baroudi said, the iPad is unparalleled. Offering universal access, convenience and portability, the iPad is enabling students to connect with classmates, faculty members and advisers in ways that foster collaboration and enhance the learning process.

“The iPad is perfect on so many levels,” he said. “Its operating system is very light, very fast and delivers a web browser and e-reader functionality, so there’s no need to lug around a laptop and a pile of books. And you can’t dispute the iPad’s ‘wow’ factor.”

Jeffrey Kane, the University’s vice president for academic affairs, sees the use of iPad technology as the beginning of a new era in higher education. “The iPad creates an educational environment that will support enormous pedagogical evolution, the pace of which will be limited only by the imagination of the faculty,” he said.

The University’s administration is particularly jazzed over how many of its faculty members have begun actively experimenting with the device. In fact, when the Office of Academic Affairs issued a call for proposals on how the iPad could be used to deliver or facilitate instruction, nearly one-third of the faculty responded – and many more are now caching the fever.

“The iPad has inspired a grassroots development among faculty that has been supported by the administration,” Baroudi said. “Even at this early stage, it is amazing what has been presented and what is in development, all the result of 100% creativity.”

Among the early adopters on the faculty are Andrew Livanis, interim chair and assistant professor of human development and leadership at the Brooklyn Campus, and Patrick Kennelly, associate professor of geography at the C.W. Post Campus.

Livanis, who teaches courses in school psychology, proposes using the iPad to help create a system in which his graduate students can develop interventions for children who have autism or developmental disabilities; chart and monitor the effectiveness of the interventions; and then convert those interventions and graphs into formats easy for teachers to understand, appreciate and use. He has identified apps such as iPrompts, Behavior Tracker Pro and Skill Tracker Pro to help facilitate his program.

Kennelly intends to use iPad technology for mobile mapping projects in his Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications course. Using the device’s built-in GPS receiver, connectivity to cloud computing and map server technology, he will help students gain a systems-based approach to using GIS to collect, store, manage, analyze and display geographic information. Kennelly will leverage ArcGIS, a map discovery and creation app, to serve maps to the iPad, and iSeismometer, an app developed by one of his grad students, to measure movements.

In preparation for the iPad initiative, the University updated its wireless infrastructure by investing $160,000 to create additional access points across the University. The investment was part of an ongoing commitment to educational technology that has included an upgraded high-speed fiber-optic network and industry-leading web learning software and course management systems.

All of which circles back to reaching for the clouds.

Baroudi has been CIO for eight years, a part of the LIU leadership team for nearly two decades and a big-picture visionary seemingly all his life. Distributing no-cost and half-cost technology is not philanthropic, he said, it is part of a “business transformation” that will save the university thousands of man-hours of operational inefficiencies.

“If the mouse was the first revolution, the finger swipe is the second,” Baroudi said. “It’s a natural progression that could signal the end of PCs as we know it. No more classical conditioning of the keyboard. No need for a mouse, USB, moving parts or technicians. It’s all in the cloud.

“It’s almost like we are returning to the mainframe, a centralized processor,” he said. “You didn’t know where it was, how it worked, what was saved and who backed it up. And you probably didn’t care.

“I think we’re going back to that level,” he said. “Apps shouldn’t be sitting on your computer, they should be sitting in the cloud. I have a user name, a password and access. Here, that means the students and instructors can focus on the task at hand, and not the task of getting there.”

*Specific terms of eligibility may be reviewed at the individual campuses. Offer subject to the continued availability of program funding.

Posted 04/11/2011

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