What is the purpose of the myCSUNtablet initiative?
The myCSUNtablet initiative equips CSUN faculty and students with tablets to achieve three main goals:
- to increase engagement in the classroom;
- to enhance the quality of teaching tools;
- to reduce the cost of learning materials for students.
Why was the initiative launched at CSUN?
The IT Vision@2017 highlights eLearning and mobile technologies among its top priorities. Academic plans and IT Vision@2015 anticipated a widening deployment of portable devices and cloud technology for teaching and learning. Faculty already are using such strategies to engage students with different styles and paces for learning. CSUN students are urban commuters, tech-savvy and on tight budgets. Portability, cost control, and media-enriched content that can be personalized, are their common expectations.
Who is part of the initiative, and when did it start?
In 2013, at the invitation of President Dianne F. Harrison, California State University, Northridge launched the myCSUNtablet initiative, a one-to-one tablet deployment with the goals of increasing student learning and engagement, improving the quality of teaching materials, and decreasing cost. The first tablet classes were taught in Fall 2013. Faculty are supported by both the Faculty Technology Center and Faculty Development.
What workshops and support are available to faculty who participate in the initiative?
The Faculty Technology Center offers a variety of tablet/iPad workshops on demand, when enough participants are interested. Workshops include iPad basics, presenting with a tablet and creating an interactive classroom. Accessibility training is embedded throughout the workshops. Visit the FTC Workshop site to learn more. Faculty Development also offers a variety of workshops. To suggest a custom workshop for faculty in your department or program, contact FTC and Faculty Development.
Additionally, all CSUN faculty have access to CSUN Lynda.com technical training courses for the iPad by accessing the site through the myNorthridge portal.
Faculty questions about how to set-up and use the iPad can be directed to the IT Help Center by phone or in person. Questions on myCSUNtablet initiative, content creation and faculty training can be directed to the Faculty Technology Center (OV 34, x3443). Faculty can also contact Apple directly (24x7) or access the Apple website for support with questions relating to downloading apps or basic functionality.
What security settings should be used on an iPad?
Tablets can provide access to personal and university data via the web, email, Box, the myNorthridge portal, and other resources. Learn more about the recommended security features on your iPad by visiting the set-up tutorial for faculty, which details how to create a passcode for the device and install/activate the “Find my iPhone/iPad” feature.
In addition, Information Technology has more information about securing a mobile device and the Information Security Awareness training, which is required of all faculty, staff and student assistants who work at CSUN.
What support do students who participate in the initiative receive?
Student questions about how to setup and use the iPad can be directed to the IT Help Desk by phone (818-677-1400), chat or in person. Help Desk staff comprised of students and staff are available in the Library Learning Commons to assist all students with questions.
Students can also contact Apple directly (24x7) or access the Apple website for support with questions relating to downloading apps or basic functionality of their devices.
Why use a tablet instead of requiring a laptop computer?
Tablets offer convenient, portable access to "always on" teaching materials anywhere anytime, whether CSUN resources such as Canvas, lecture capture videos, electronic textbooks, or a wide range of intuitive, interactive apps that increase productivity and understanding of discipline-specific learning material. Tablets are multi-functional devices that can simultaneously serve as clickers, notepads, drawing boards, PDF annotators, calculators, and more. Students and faculty can not only consume information on tablets, but they can create information and share – using the tablets built-in video camera, editing tools, and whiteboards. Because so many features are available in one device, the myCSUNtablet initiative seeks to save money for students in the long-run while greatly enhancing the teaching and learning experience.
How is the initiative being assessed?
The myCSUNtablet initiative will continue to be evaluated at regular intervals. Assessment is conducted both at the course and program level using experimental designs, rubrics, and qualitative methods to examine the impact of tablets on student learning outcomes while accommodating for their unique, multi-functional nature. Faculty are also encouraged to convene periodically, either within or across departments, to share thoughts, breakthroughs, new apps, lesson learned, and student/learner outcomes.
Apple has created a system that integrates devices, applications, authoring tools, repositories, and professional consultation. We at CSUN can benefit from progressive, coherent thinking as we re-think course design and delivery.
In regard to accessibility, the Apple iPad has a number of accessibility features built into the device’s hardware and operating system, including assistive technologies for the visually and hearing impaired as well as those with physical or motor skills impairments. Apple’s gesture-based screen reader and VoiceOver are enhancements that make the device more usable for the blind and visually impaired. Additional features include visual alerts, mono audio output, and closed captioning support. Apple’s AssistiveTouch technology supports multi-touch gestures and the use of adaptive input devices, such as headsets and switches.
Does CSUN support multiple platforms?
CSUN continues to support multiple platforms. However, the Apple iPad offers a unique opportunity because of the innovative hardware and software platform it offers to both students and faculty including a mature and ever expanding suite of software app options. In the arena of eTextbooks, it provides full support for a wide range of electronic publication formats which permit the integration of video, 3-D graphical representation and enhanced reader interaction with the text.
Which iOS should students and faculty be using?
In general, students and faculty should keep their iPads updated with the latest version of iOS (per their device's "Settings" app), as long as all the third-party apps being regularly used in the classroom are compatible with the latest operating system. Compatibility information can often be found on the app description in the App Store.
When in doubt, students should ask the professor if they are unsure about updating a device or an app. See this Apple Support page for more details on iOS and the iPad. Feel free to contact the FTC, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any concerns or questions.
What should students or faculty do if their iPad is misplaced or stolen?
If misplaced, use the “Find my iPhone/iPad” feature.
If stolen, notify the CSUN Department of Police Services and your department office. All university-owned equipment has been tagged with STOP security tags which should deter theft and helps return the device to the university if it is recovered.
What should faculty or students do if their university-issued iPad becomes damaged?
University-owned iPads purchased for use in the myCSUNtablet initiative were purchased with AppleCare warranty service. Contact your department office or the Matador Bookstore to receive Apple Care service.
If your device has been damaged such that it requires replacement, notify Department of Police Services to request that the accompanying STOP plates cease to be tracked. A chargeback from your department will need to be completed for STOP plates to be replaced.
What are some of the benefits of using an iPad versus traditional, print materials?
Students today are now more familiar with a learning environment that is tech-friendly. By using the iPads in the classroom, it enables the classroom to be an extension of the technology environments they are already using. It also provides opportunities for faculty to be more innovative and adaptable to the different learning styles of their students.
Ideally, students can access their course materials from anywhere at any time, thereby increasing the amount of time students can spend with the course material.
In many cases, textbooks are able to be marked up much like they could with a traditional textbook. However, when the app is robust enough, the student will be able to search within their notes and annotate with web clippings, pictures, and audio. Some of the more robust textbooks have embedded videos, quizzes, and study tools.
In some cases, the eTextbook may also be rented like traditional books, therefore making the cost of textbooks even lower.
Also, some applications may be able to replace textbooks (electronic or traditional) entirely and allow students to engage with course materials in much more engaging ways. Many times, the apps can immerse the students in a 3D environment that enables the student to experience a foreign country, to hold a molecule, or to demonstrate the laws of physics.
What are pedagogical best practices for faculty teaching in myCSUNtablet?
myCSUNtablet faculty and partners have created a best practices guide specifically for the initiative. The guide addresses how faculty can design pedagogically sound syllabi and course materials to meet student learning outcomes.
How can faculty demonstrate cost neutrality to students?
To help balance the cost of the iPad, faculty are encouraged to seek and use lower-cost teaching materials when possible. It is important to document the difference in cost pre- and post-iPad implementation, so that these savings can be demonstrated.
Where can I find more information?
Faculty can contact the Faculty Technology Center at