iPad Distance Delivery of Student Services
Bristol Bay Campus in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in Dillingham, King Salmon, New Stuyahok, and Togiak. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g., course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, it is a small reach to imagine using similarly configured devices
Bristol Bay Campus is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska. The campus is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.
Online learning is in ascendance and for locations with reliable, fast internet that is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and in the amount of data. It is also prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the thinness of our population density educators have to take distance delivery seriously. BBC has a reliable infrastructure of audio conference lines. By augmenting audio delivery with iPads, we can efficiently provide Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses. Specifically, the objectives include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities. An important aim of Title III grants projects that are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. Deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations. And it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to the conundrum of the slow and expensive internet.
It is proposed that five iPads be configured for each location. Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking in and out. Cases to protect the devices and additional power adapters will be provided with the devices. Also, a plan for regular system and file updates will be implemented.
iPads are particularly useful because, first their portability, as well they can operate online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces, like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential.
Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Similarly, video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or created and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.
One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our page. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from iPhones and Android. Hopefully, our use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction.
Managing iPads Inventory:
Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings, and proxy server settings as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offers device enrollment, configuration, set up, and assignment. The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area. A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use. As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.