On Wednesday morning, the President’s Council approved the Goshen College iCore Technology Initiative, providing all incoming first-years with an iPad in conjunction with the new GC core curriculum.
“We were hoping to have [the affirmation] by February,” said Ross Peterson-Veatch, associate academic dean and a member of the iCore Initiative task force, “but people raised questions that were valid, and so we had to address them.”
Peterson-Veatch said that those concerns were taken into consideration, but the final decision needed to be made yesterday because the academic advising period begins next week.
Said Jim Brenneman, Goshen College president, “I’m excited that we are building on Goshen College’s tradition of educational innovation to support our core values and mission.”
“We believe that the iCore Technology Initiative will help us to use mobile technology to support creative new approaches to teaching and learning,” said Brenneman. “We also hope it will help our students and faculty better connect with one another and with the world.”
Richard Aguirre, director of public relations and member of the task force, said of the initiative itself, “It’s really driven by the faculty and this task force.” He explained that the President’s Council had little to do with putting together the proposal, they simply approved the task force’s recommendation.
To pay for the mobile devices, the college will reallocate existing funds. This means that certain marketing strategies will be dropped in the coming year. For following academic years, space will be built into the budget.
The approval of the iCore initiative is purposefully timed with the new curriculum being implemented next year.
“If not for the new GC core, I’m not sure this would be happening now,” said Aguirre.
“Context is a pretty important factor in making any decision,” said Peterson-Veatch.
The new GC core was imperative in the decision to provide iPads.
According to Aguirre and Peterson-Veatch, the iPads will serve an eclectic purpose, including compiling student e-profiles, simplifying schedules, and purchasing textbooks online.
“[The iCore Initiative] helps build a bridge between the co-curricular and the curricular,” said Peterson-Veatch, “It’s a tool for you to track your learning.”
The iCore Initiative task force consists of Aguirre; Scott Barge, Assessment and Institutional Research; Chad Coleman, Student Life; Randy Gunden, Adult and Online Programs; Nina Mishler, Admissions; Dan Koop Liechty, Admissions; Peterson-Veatch and Michael Sherer, Information Technology Services.
The college will order the iPads through an Apple representative, the same process Goshen used to purchase Mac Minis for all of campus.
“There’s risks involved in any initiative,” said Peterson-Veatch, “and we need to be able to take risks in the support of learning; this is a very worthwhile risk.”
By Matthew Amstutz