Faye Haggar and Marty Magee, leaders of the Apple Digital Campus Development Group, pointed to three main goals in the initiative:
- To allow for mobile access to information, anywhere, anytime.
- To reduce printing and increase UNMC's digital presence.
- To enable faculty to create interactive and engaging learning experiences.
Apple Task Force, Digital Delivery Committees
In addition to the Apple Cohort of faculty and staff members, each academic unit will also have two members serving on the Apple Task Force, a campus-wide group charged with helping to develop the infrastructure expectations for the initiative.
As the Apple Cohort and Apple Task Force continue, academic units also are developing Digital Delivery Committees to help build an implementation plan within their colleges.
"I think we're going to see different plans," Haggar said. "They will need to make decisions on how to move forward, develop their timeline, and integrate with their curriculum. The available support will come from the college champions through the Apple Cohort, Apple Task Force members, and Digital Delivery Committees. Additionally, there will be training sessions and web resources. Check our webpage for information."
Beginning in the summer of 2015, a cohort of 80 faculty and staff, from across campus, received iPads and MacBook laptops, as well as training. This Apple cohort is now ready to progress to the next step. Participants are being asked to share projects they have developed, and exhibit them at an Apple Showcase, currently targeted for Jan. 12, 2017. Additionally, they are able to serve as champions to help facilitate and develop Apple skills.
"Faculty members may wonder about the need to switch their computers to Apple products," Haggar said. "That won't be necessary if their goal is to share current curriculum digitally. They can do that on any platform. However, if they are interested in refining their materials and engaging their learners with innovative, interactive content, then they can check out an iPad or MacBook through the E-learning lab, or they can purchase a device through their unit."
"It's not just about developing innovative content, but about setting an atmosphere of no risk," Magee said. "We, as a university, want people to try things. If it's less than perfect, that's fine. They're going to learn something from that, and we'll move on and make something better the next time.
"We plan to have monthly meetings at which we can showcase some of the things that people have done. I think we'll see more integration and more creativity in the learning objects that are placed inside Blackboard that teachers and students can use in traditional, online and/or hybrid classes."
Both Haggar and Magee agree that innovation and excellence, two of the UNMC core values, will be strengthened through this initiative.