In response to the COVID-19 crisis in which Bowdoin College will be conducting nearly all fall semester classes online, the College’s will issue fully equipped Apple iPad tablets to each student in the coming weeks. This comes at the recommendation of the faculty-led Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group (CTLG).
“This really levels the playing field for the students for whom Internet access has been unreliable or non-existent,” says Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Cato. “This is one example of how Bowdoin can really step into doing online learning well for the fall.
Students will receive an iPad Pro with available Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity (activated and covered by the College for those students who have internet connectivity needs), an Apple Pencil 2, and the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad, which includes a trackpad.
All interested faculty members and the staff who support teaching and learning will receive iPads that use Wi-Fi only to connect to the Internet.
Cato says the iPad Pro model was chosen for its overall functionality—coming closest to a laptop experience while including built-in cellular internet for students who need it—and because apps for the iPad are much more universally available. He also cited the Pro’s superior camera and processing power to support video conferencing, recording, and editing.
Students will have the opportunity to connect to their classes, build community with each other, and run the same apps and software, at the same performance level, and also receive the same support, regardless of their economic situation, Cato says. Faculty will be supported in seeking teaching approaches that make use of the iPad platform, including the high-end cameras, microphone, digital ink—technology that digitally represents handwriting in its natural form—and the ecosystem of apps.
Bowdoin College — located in the coastal New England town of Brunswick, Maine — is a private institution that was founded in 1794. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,828.