WISE — This fall, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise will provide each full-time student, faculty and staff member with an iPad, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

UVa-Wise is committed to boosting innovative teaching and academic success on its campus and enhancing the educational experience in the classroom and beyond, according to a news release. The innovate2eleVAte [i2eleVAte] project will give students the technical skills required for academic success, it states.

“UVa-Wise has many first-generation college students, and more than 85 percent of our students receive financial aid,” said Chancellor Donna. P. Henry. “As a result, many lack resources to bring laptops and other devices to campus and lack consistent access to technology. Putting an iPad in their hands will help level the playing field and give them a tool for achieving academic success.”

Henry expects students will use the technology to engage in group work sessions, share material, participate in undergraduate research, improve coding skills and explore other academic use. She also expects a sharp spike toward building a strong community as well as improving overall campus communication, according to the release.

The iPads will come preloaded with apps that support academic success. Additional apps are available as well for students, faculty and staff to download as needed. iPad implementation will allow faculty to select open source textbooks, which students can download at no cost to their iPad.

The college held a trial run last fall, when 50 iPads were provided to faculty and staff. Some professors found iPad helped improve grading papers and classroom presentations. In the spring, at the request of several departments, an additional 30 iPads were purchased for faculty,

The $1.6 million i2eleVAte program is funded with private money, which will be paid in installments over the next four years. A portion of the funding will be used to enhance technical support for implementation. Students who graduate may purchase their iPad for $1.

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