Students to lease iPads in lieu of textbooks

Author: Lenette Votava


This spring, students in two classes at the University of Notre Dame — under a new pilot program — will lease iPads instead of buying books and other standard course materials.

Andre Murnieks, assistant professor of art; and Elliott Visconsi, associate professor of English and concurrent associate professor of law; will offer classes with iPads at the heart of the learning experience.

Students will lease an iPad in lieu of a textbook for a fee through the bookstore. All course materials are free to students, including a custom-built iBook textbook. Introductions will be recorded each week as students use the iPad as a platform for out-of-class discussion and collaboration through Google Apps such as Drive and Google Plus.

Software applications include a group of free consumer and edtech software tools, including iTunes U and iBooks Author, Twitter, Google Plus, Poll Everywhere and Flipboard. Students will learn how to navigate the current information ecosystem as content creators rather than researchers.

“The goal is to experiment with a born-mobile pedagogy that includes a teaching and learning style with assignments, collaboration opportunities, software tools and strategies built for the unique experience and attributes of mobile devices such as the iPad,” Visconsi says.

According to Murnieks, the iPad is a valuable emerging technology for designers. “Mobile is one thing, but touch and gestural input is another realm of interaction design altogether,” he says. “Every design student has access and complete control over the device, and this has made a significant impact on my classes.”

Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age

The two courses that will be part of the pilot program are “Introduction to the First Amendment: Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age” in the College of Arts and Letters and “Introduction to Web-Based Interactivity, and Data-Driven Design” in the Department of Art, Art History and Design.

A partnership between the offices of the Registrar, Information Technologies, Financial Aid and Student Accounts, Hammes Bookstore, the College of Arts and Letters and the Department of Art, Art History and Design was behind the design of this pilot project.

Originally published by Lenette Votava at on January 30, 2013.