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Students to use Apple's iPad in new English course

Loyola press release - June 1, 2010

A new class, “Reading with the Digital Human,” will be offered this fall at Loyola University New Orleans as part of the English department’s new concentration in film and digital media. The course will feature an innovative approach to digital media using one of today’s most popular instruments, the Apple iPad.

“We envision this course as initiating a series of discussions about how new media technologies affect, change and/or enhance the ways that we read literature,” said Christopher Schaberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of English. “We will use the iPad to read poetry and fiction and discuss how multimedia e-reading compares with traditional book reading.”

The course will also explore the iPad as a cultural icon, addressing the hype around the device, what it can promise for the future and what its limitations are.

“Basically, we hope to generate conversation among our students concerning how personal new media technologies intersect with, compete with or complicate traditional expectations for what it means to read,” said Schaberg.

According to Schaberg, students who continue in the course for one year will be able to keep the iPad. "The course is a year-long seminar: the fall semester course will introduce students to new media in general and the iPad specifically and the spring semester course will go more in-depth and engage with literary works on the device."

The English department also plans to expand curriculum in other courses to integrate the new tool.

Other universities around the United States, such as Princeton and George Washington Universities, have reported problems integrating the iPad onto their WiFi system because of its large bandwidth requirements. Both universities subsequently banned the iPad from their campuses.

While Vice Provost for Information Technology Bret Jacobs said he doesn’t anticipate any serious issues with the device on Loyola’s campus, Schaberg sees an educational opportunity if issues do arise.

“We hope to address such snags as topics of discussion, to get students to think about the technological mesh that is increasingly interwoven around what perhaps used to be a more low-tech enterprise, reading,” said Schaberg.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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