Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

Arkansas State's First Year Experience Program Earns Recognition as an Apple Distinguished Program


Apple Distinguished Program

JONESBORO, Ark. – The First Year Experience program (FYE) at Arkansas State University has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2014-2016 for its integration of iPad and digital learning into the curriculum.

For the past two years, all incoming freshman at Arkansas State have participated in a FYE course entitled “Making Connections,” establishing the course as a requirement in all undergraduate programs.  All course materials - from textbooks and additional readings to classroom assignments and interaction - are created with digital tools optimized for iPad. 

“The selection of A-State’s First Year Experience as an Apple Distinguished Program highlights our success in developing an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment,” Chancellor Tim Hudson said. “We know this generation of students benefits from a digital environment that leads to improved educational performance.”

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

“Our faculty are developing multimedia content that will be available for students to access anytime and anywhere they want,” Provost Lynita Cooksey added. “We’re confident this will enhance the traditional classroom experience.”

The Making Connections course is a required subject for all incoming freshmen. It focuses on transitioning students into college-level learners by introducing critical academic skills and campus resources. Faculty and students explored study skills, personal organization and research using iPad apps as well as accessing course text and other books using digital text.

“We have seen students and faculty embrace this technology with enthusiasm,” Dr. Gina Hogue, associate vice chancellor for academic services said. “A digital curriculum is providing our students with an alternative to traditional textbooks, in which iBooks can be loaded onto iPad at a lower cost than purchasing the hardback textbook. Students were able to access course text on their iPads for several classes, including the ‘Making Connections’ class.”

Arkansas State’s Office of Academic Affairs is working with other campus programs to share the successful implementation of technology into classrooms and coursework.