Apple iPad Enters the MBA Classroom

Posted by: Alison Damast on November 19, 2010

Amazon’s Kindle may not yet be a success story on business school campuses, but there appears to still be hope for the Apple iPad. Last year, I wrote a story how seven universities, including two business schools, attempted to use the Amazon Kindle DX in the classroom. The device proved problematic and after a few months, most students stopped using the e-reader, complaining that it wasn’t user-friendly and hard to navigate in the classroom.

Now, some B-schools are turning their sights to the iPad. Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business (Robinson Full-Time MBA Profile) is one of the first business schools aggressively pursuing using the iPad as a replacement for classroom textbooks. This fall, they rolled out a pilot where students in the college’s Executive MBA program were given iPads as a replacement for textbooks, the school said in a press release. The 1.5-pound iPad will replace the 20 pounds of textbooks that students typically are required to buy for class, the school said. By next fall, the school plans to distribute the devices to students in the school’s professional and global partner MBA programs, the one-year specialized master’s program, and the executive doctorate in business.

The school decided to bring the iPad into the classroom because of the hectic lives that many of their students lead, juggling family, school, work and travel, said Jane Mutchler, Robinson’s associate dean for academic planning and programs at the college.

“Its portability makes the iPad ideal for working professional,” Mutchler said. “In addition to having texts already loaded, it can be used to keep track of assignments, future tests, study dates and social events, and it has the same type of calendar and e-mail platform that is on the iPhone.”

Georgia State is one of just a handful of business schools that have started experimenting with the iPad in the classroom. IMD Business School (IMD Full-Time MBA Profile) in Switzerland used the iPad in an executive education program in May of 2009, and schools like the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (Darden Full-Time MBA Profile) said they are looking to develop course material specifically for the iPad.

Readers, how are you using the iPad as a tool in the classroom? What do you think are the advantages of the iPad over the Kindle?

Reader Comments


November 19, 2010 4:55 PM

I'm a graduate student (not in business though) and have been using an iPad for a semester so far. I have to tell you that for me, the iPad is a great tool and an excellent alternative for replacing my netbook.

I don't write massive papers on it. For that I use my home pc. I do write emails and short papers (initial ideas, brainstorming) most of my time.

With the iPad, I do not print lots of papers anymore. In fact, all my PDFs files are synchronized through dropbox. I have access to all of them and make tons of notes on it. I use iannotate to highlight, take notes, and so forth.

I read news and books. I own many books already on iBooks, kindle app, nook app, and magazines.

Reading news are fantastic. Journals as well.

Anyway, it has been a great experience and I have no regrets for my decision of giving away my laptop and netbook.

D King

November 21, 2010 8:26 AM

I do not have an ipad but an iphone and a kindle DX. I have so far resisted the urge to buy an ipad simply because I find that the ipad would be more distracting for me. Instead of reading, I would be surfing the internet and checking my email etc. Currently, I audit classes at my local university and found my study productivity or hard focus much enhanced when I leave my laptop and just bring along my kindle dx or good old fashioned text books that I need. What I find that enhances my focus even further? Just bringing the text books that I need to study and avoiding any distraction.


November 23, 2010 4:15 PM

iPad rocks and is being very widely adapted. All textbooks should be on it within a year. It's got the potential to make magazines ad supported like television, no need for a 'subscription' price.

Apps for iPad and iPhone are very affordable, much higher quality than 'rival' (me-too) app store offerings.

Also, all this iPad software will work on Macs by Spring.

Mac has been growing at a great clip since they run the better Mac software and also run Windoze software with better performance than most any generic (and they are all generic compared with a mac, Mac is the only purpose built computer) PC.

When the next Mac OS comes out, it will not just be the capability to run TWO platforms on one box. You will have THREE PLATFORMS on Mac.

1. Mac (still a winner)
2. Windoze (because there are a lot of morons in the world)
3. iPad (something that the M$ and the generic cloners can't compete with.)

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