With technology becoming more integrated into our classrooms and lifestyles, it's not shocking that those working within the university will also upgrade.
Starting this semester resident assistants, or RAs, will be receiving iPads to help them do their jobs more efficiently.
Schools such as the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Florida have been experimenting with using tablets, and in their efforts to be on the list of the top 25 public universities, UT will start using them.
Each RA will have to sign an extensive accountability agreement saying that the RA is finally responsible if they are lost or damaged. In the agreement, they are also consenting to comply with the university's appropriate use policy, saying that these will be strictly used for work and not play.
Executive Director of Department of University Housing Frank Cuevas said a main focus in training RAs when they get to campus is to make sure they understand the rules of the tablet's use.
"As we introduce technology, a number of top 25 schools have been using some kind of tablet to do their job," he said. "But when the RAs get here for training, we are going to be focusing on how these are tools and not toys."
Cuevas said they will also be using the iPads for attendance and must bring it to every Tuesday meeting.
Discussion began this past May when some of the housing staff began to talk about how to move towards a more efficient, online way of performance.
"Some of the staff had conversation about use and how we could do it, particularly as we were making our operation much more streamline and much more efficient and moving things towards an online environment," Cuevas said.
At any point in time, UT housing staff can obtain the iPads to check them and see if they are working properly. If any RA is terminated or resigns from their position, they will hand the iPad in.
All of the iPads will be tagged with a UT ID number, and the serial numbers are plugged into the database in the event that one is lost or stolen. But, because of the contract, any RA will be financially responsible for any incurring damage, including replacement.
Brittany Grogan just graduated this past May but was an RA for the past three years. She said she doesn't think the current RAs will be as susceptible to playing with the iPads as one might think.
"It will simply come down to each individual RA's work ethic and sense of responsibility," she said. "As a former RA, I have faith that the future RAs will see the iPad as a tool and not as a job benefit. Hopefully, the use of the iPads will be monitored closely by head staff and central housing authorities."
At the time, Grogan could not confirm for sure if RAs would be receiving iPads, but said she had heard rumors and she thought they would be used for administrative duties.
"Although I cannot say for certain, I imagine that they will be used to streamline various administrative duties," she said. "This would most likely apply primarily to the documentation process such as check-in, damages and policy violations."
As part of the fiscal budget, UT's housing department has set aside a certain amount of money for these iPads.
"As part of our overall operating budget, we budget for expenses," Cuevas said. "We have become a much more efficient operation in terms of making sure we are good stewards of our resources. In fact, our overall expenditures are going to be less than they were last year."