ORU faculty receive iPads to use in classrooms this fall

Oral Roberts University faculty will incorporate the use of iPads and virtual computing desktops into their curriculum this fall. The technology project was part of the $10 million donation received this year for campus improvements and deferred maintenance projects.

"We are thankful we were able to purchase 200 iPads for ORU faculty to use in the classroom and provide an additional 100 iPads for students to use on a check-in, check-out basis," said Mark Bender, ORU chief information officer. "We established a focus group of 25 faculty and staff members to figure out how to best leverage this technology for educating the students."

"We came up with a plan to provide iPads to faculty, train them on how to use these devices and work with Even Culp, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, in regards to how to integrate this technology into classroom curriculum."

Bender said faculty training, which lasts one day, has already started. By the time the school begins, about 100 faculty members will be trained, and an additional 80 faculty members will be trained during fall break. ORU has also utilized Education Professional Services through The Eighth Floor at Tulsa Technology Center and Tulsa Community College to help ORU faculty integrate technology into their curriculum.

"In addition to training the faculty members on how to use the iPad and applications for educational purposes, part of the training is enabling them to have mobile mail, calendar and contacts through mobile server capabilities," he said. "With the addition of the virtual desktop on the iPad, the faculty can be anywhere in the world and have access to their information instead of traditionally having to be in front of a desktop computer."

After training, Culp said faculty would join a Google user group as well as meet once a month to share ideas on how to better enrich their classroom experience.

"This goes beyond technology," he said. "The classroom is a marketplace in which faculty will engage students to meet them where they are. "For example, by Christmas, we hope to have faculty walk into a classroom with their iPad, utilize our WiFi technology, and be able to walk around wirelessly and give their presentations in class."

Bender said the iPad carts would be housed in the academic lab on the second floor of the Graduate Center. Staff in the lab will be responsible for check out, securing location, maintenance, and keeping the iPads charged throughout the day.

"The faculty is very excited about this new endeavor," Bender said. "This project is an excellent way for them to integrate technology with curriculum and continues to strengthen ORU as a technology leader."