The University of Notre Dame's yearlong study of eReaders in academics is starting the school year with a bang -- a course that will use the iPad as the only textbook students need. The course is entitled Project Management, and each of the 40 students enrolled will be given an iPad to use in lieu of textbooks. The students will be encouraged to integrate their borrowed iPad into their life by syncing their iTunes library, games, and anything else they would like, and to report their findings.
Project Management is a required undergraduate course for students majoring in Management Consulting, IT Management and Entrepreneurship as part of the management curriculum of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. Participants will come from a wide variety of orientations including: Business, Law, IT, Arts and Letters, Press and Institutional Equity. After the six-week course, the iPads will be given to another set of students and the second group will be studied through surveys, observations and interviews.
Corey Angst, the course professor, makes the important point that the iPad will not be considered a thing unto itself, but rather one piece of of an ever increasing toolkit of resources that students will add to throughout their coursework and their lives. Therefore the study will start out as a consideration of eReaders, but organically morph into the discovery of other uses of iPads and other such devices.
There will be wiki-based discussions about what the students have found to be useful and to share their discoveries with others in the class. It's quite exciting to see this sort of research being done and I'm sure that the results of this (and other studies yet to come) will make major inroads into a wide range of fields including: business, sociology, IT and literature, just to name a few. You can follow the progress of this study on a blog that has been set up for just this purpose.