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University Of Wisconsin-Madison MBA Students Scrap The Paper, Go With iPads

Executive MBA Program Says Goodbye To Traditional Binders

Girls on iPad in auditorium
Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Many college courses use online materials. But until this fall, the University of Wisconsin-Madison didn’t have an entire academic program that relied only on computers instead of paper.

That’s changing.

The Wisconsin Executive MBA Program at the Wisconsin School of Business has scrapped its traditional binders and is giving 41 students iPads to do course work this fall.

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The primary reason? Money, said Leslie Petty, assistant dean of the Evening and Executive MBA programs. The cost of binders, copyright fees and photocopying were more expensive than the iPads.

“We also included human resource; the time it was taking us to actually put the binders together,” Petty said.

Each iPad Pro was about $900, including a stylus and case. The gadgets were paid for through fees students included in the MBA program, Petty said.

The iPads will make it easier for students to work on case studies together because they won’t have to haul around bulky binders filled with course materials, Petty said. They will also benefit faculty.

“We decided that the iPad would be much more efficient for students and also a learning device in which the students can use, and the faculty can think about how they can start looking at their courses in a much deeper context with technology,” she said.

The students will use the iPads for two years, the duration of the program, before being passed on to new students.

The Evening MBA program will get iPads next fall.