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In the fall of 2007, 25 UNC-Chapel Hill students received a loaner Tablet PC for the 2007-2008 academic school year to explore the value of tablet PC technology in teaching and learning at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Students were required to participate in a basic orientation program, follow-up training sessions, regular blog postings and focus group meetings.

The UNC Tablet PC Pilot was a partnership between Information Technology Services Teaching and Learning (ITS-TL) and the College of Arts and Sciences Information Services (OASIS).

Tablets give professors more options in the classroom… Our goal is to provide them with a computer that gives them the right tool at the right time.

– Kathy Kyzer, ITS

The purpose was to form the UNC Tablet PC Research Group, which explores the effect of tablet PCs on learning, organization and classroom participation.

The participants were selected by Student Government from more than 750 applicants. Every week, participants answer a short survey about their use of the machines. This data, as well as student feedback and opinions, will be used to evaluate how the computers can aid and advance teaching and learning on campus.

Tablet PCs, which are now available through the Carolina Computing Initiative (CCI), are laptop computers that convert into a ‘digital notebook’ by rotating the screen around and writing on it with a stylus. This allows a new type of interaction with the computer, combining the benefits of handwritten notes and drawings with the convenience of personal computing.

The student tablet pilot came out of student interest in a similar faculty pilot, held in fall 2006. ITS provided tablet PCs to 10 instructors from a variety of schools and departments who teach classes ranging from 12 to 240 students. The pilot included participants from the School of Public Health, School of Education, School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The instructors used the tablets in a number of ways:

  • Annotating slides and skeleton notes during class
  • Performing paperless skills evaluation
  • Conducting virtual office hours and discussion sessions
  • Accepting and grading assignments