Contrary to media reports, Cornell is not experiencing bandwidth problems as a result of iPad use on campus. Though Princeton and George Washington University have banned the use of some iPads — Apple’s newest handheld touch-screen device — because of possible security issues, Cornell has not taken such measures, according to Dave Vernon, director of information technology for CIT Network & Communications Services.
The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that Cornell was experiencing problems with connectivity and that the University feared it would experience bandwidth overload as a result of the iPad. The story — which also noted that Princeton and George Washington had banned iPad use — was picked up by a number of technology blogs.
Vernon maintained that these reports about a Cornell iPad ban were untrue. “We have researched the issue and have found no negative impact at Cornell at this time,” he stated in an e-mail, referring to security, bandwidth and DHCP issues.
The iPad is currently on sale at the Cornell Store and users have been able to successfully operate the device on campus.
Princeton blocked a number of iPad users from accessing the Internet because the I.P. address used by the devices “causes a disruption on the campus network,” according to the university’s office of information technology.
Similarly, George Washington’s wireless network will be unable to support the iPad for at least a year, a university administrator told The GW Hatchet. Cornell, however, has not experienced any of these problems.
Many have speculated that the iPad, which was released earlier this month, could revolutionize the way students access course materials because of its iBooks application for accessing electronic textbooks.
Seton Hall has already decided to give every incoming student an iPad beginning this fall, the university reported. All students enrolling in one of Rutgers’ mini-MBA programs will also receive the handheld device in order to learn about digital marketing. George Fox University will begin giving students a choice of free iPads or laptops come the fall.
Since the product’s release, a veritable debate over the impact of iPads on the educational experience has ensued within the academic community, and many are weighing the extent to which iPads will give students a novel way to access information, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Tracy Mitrano law ’95, Cornell’s Director of Information Technology Policy, said that the full-scale integration of iPads into academia will require thoughtful discussion and agreement on a number of levels.
“It might well be the turning point device. But what higher education needs is thoughtful collective action to negotiate with publishers to make the price point appropriate not only for the device but for the content too,” she stated in an e-mail. “Leadership is essential in this initiative and remains yet to be seen in the landscape of colleges and universities.”