Seven colleges and universities in the United States, including the Darden School of Business, will soon launch the Amazon DX pilot education program, in which students will use the Kindle DX wireless electronic reader. To prepare faculty and administrators, Amazon hosted a forum at Darden on August 10.
Amazon invited representatives from participating schools located on the eastern half of the United States – Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, Pace University and Darden – to attend a day of discussion on the Darden Grounds about the Kindle’s functionality, use in the classroom and plans for assessment.
“After a welcome from Darden Dean Bob Bruner, we devoted the morning to learning about the nuts and bolts of the Kindle,” said Michael Koenig, Darden’s director of MBA operations. “In the afternoon, we looked at the big picture.”
Susie Kroll, Senior Business Development Manager for the Amazon Kindle, led the sessions. In addition to sharing tips on bookmarking, searching, text to speech and the dynamic electronic index, Kroll asked for feedback on participant’s perception of the future of electronic e-readers.
“What do you feel is the promise or potential of electronic texts?” Kroll asked. “What are some pain points (besides back pain from lugging around heavy textbooks) that the Kindle could solve for you, for students, or for academic departments?”
“At Darden, we care about sustainability,” said Koenig. “We want to protect the environment, and our students demand it. We are trying a number of different options to deliver course material electronically – and the Kindle is an important option to consider.”
Other topics of discussion included the nature of the interactive e-reader and whether or not “open source” textbooks threaten traditional printed textbooks.
The Kindle DX Pilot Program at Darden will involve one section of First Year MBA students selected at random from the full-time MBA program. The selected section will be announced on the first day of school, Monday, August 17.
Participating students will receive Kindle DX e-readers and will use them throughout the 2009-2010 school year to access textbooks, case studies, newspapers and other learning materials. By the time students attend the Kindle DX orientation on Thursday, August 20, between 80 and 100 cases will have been uploaded onto their wireless e-readers.
“The big question for us,” said Koenig, “are our students really ready to go totally electronic? We’ll soon find out.”
Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.
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