As textbooks and lectures are being replaced by technology, St. Mary’s University, Minneapolis, MN, has developed a program to eliminate the need for classrooms, at least on the graduate level.
The school has designed accelerated courses for working professionals using Apple iPads for graduate degrees in project management, human resources, and organizational leadership. The course materials take advantage of the device’s easy accessibility to information and convenience provided though apps in the Apple Store.
“Adult learners are adaptive learners,” Bob Andersen, director of instruction technology for the university, told eCampus News. “We want to bridge the gap between work and academia.”
The program lets students and faculty conduct class discussions through social media, video chat, e-mail, and texting to enhance the learning process, according to Marcel Dumestre, vice president of graduate and professional programs. Students still have to write standard term papers, but professors consolidate assigned reading or instructor-created videos into a form that is manageable for a full-time professional to work on over a lunch hour.
The university has 200 students worldwide taking iPad graduate courses through the program which is currently being taught by 15 instructors. St. Mary’s plans to add a dozen more degree programs over the next five years.
“Our students find value not only in instruction; they find value in networking and interacting with other students,” Dumestre said.