During the early 2000's, the Duke University approach to the Apple iPod was nearly spontaneous as it issued them to new students loaded with key academic schedules and campus information such as maps and tours. Although instructors at the college seem to appreciate the power of the iPad, the official policy of Duke University appears to be one of slow, methodical adoption as it studies the best ways to make the iPad a standard tool for students.
As the college plods along with its plans for adopting the Apple iPad, the school has instituted a program which loans out iPads to instructors, students, and staff to help them develop a familiarity with the device and to figure out ways it can best support the mission of the institution.
For now the college is using an empirical approach to the iPad which has generated mixed results. Students have been frustrated by the lack of a microphone and camera on the device, a limitation to multimedia interaction that should become a part of the new version of the iPad released this year.
Although some instructors at Duke report successful interactions with the iPad, a spokesman told Fox News that many had initially misunderstood the device, expecting it to be more like a traditional computer than it really is. Still, at least some of the university's professors seem to be excited about the potential for integrating distributed multimedia as a way to diverge from text-based instruction.
Although Steve Jobs seemed to suggest that the Apple iPad would help replace textbooks, Duke University hasn't made the use of electronic texts a primary objective.