By Pat LeMay Burr, distinguished chair and professor of international business

iPad and Burr

Dr. Pat LeMay Burr demonstrates iPad applications during her International Business class.

When I wrote a white paper for Dr. Louis Agnese outlining how the H-E-B School of Business might initiate an iPad Pilot Program for Fall 2010, I had already begun to outline a process to implement the program in my MBA International Business class.

With his approval, I brought together many of the same UIW technical support professionals who had collaborated with me when I was working to launch a laptop program several years ago.

The 25 students in the pilot class use the iPad during class, and I encourage them to take it to work to explain how it aids mobile productivity to their colleagues. Students also recently used the iPads at a fact-finding seminar at Central Market to take notes, conduct product research and e-mail their completed work.

Students have goals each week for iPad skills development, including downloading and using applications (or “apps”), using e-mail, creating presentations, and opening an iTunes account.

iPad and student

Graduate student Dean Sartoris learns his way around the iPad during the first day of the iPad pilot program.

Using app downloads, students envision freight movement with Globe for iPad, identify country profiles with Nations, determine country economic profiles with World Factbook for iPad, download media apps (such as BBC Mobile) for following international news and information, and employ “save to Twitter” features at media sites such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for posting articles, audio and video news segments to Twitter accounts. The class builds a comprehensive Twitter database of international news.

Surveys are conducted in each class session to assess how students are finding ways to use the iPad at work, at home and in other MBA classes.

Our MBA students are primarily working professionals and their interest in gaining skills for their career advancement is serious. They were already adept with smart phones, so the transition to the iPad has been very fast for them.

The 16 gig WiFi 3G iPads are provided to students at no cost for the class. Students of the pilot class are also being offered the opportunity to purchase their iPad at the end of the semester. The unpurchased iPads will be “reset” and rotated to a new class section after eight weeks, ultimately reaching more than 100 MBA students this academic year. The second iPad MBA class is already oversubscribed.