From I Looneyversity

About.com hosts a site called The Most Common iPad Scams and How to Avoid Them (http://ipad.about.com/od/iPad_Guide/a/The-Most-Common-iPad-Scams-And-How-To-Avoid-Them.htm). Their list of common scams includes the infamous Free iPad Giveaway. “There are some legitimate giveaways, but they are very few and far between. Apple does not really like giveaways using their products and have rather stiff guidelines about them, including a restriction that ‘free’ not be used prominently in any display of the giveaway, so anytime you see ‘free iPad’ posted in bold letters, you know it is a scam.”

Perhaps About.com will need to revise their scam listing in light of the announcement from Kerri-Lee Krause Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at UWS that all new students in 2013 will receive a free iPad. She tells us that this giveaway is “being driven by students who increasingly seek to engage in learning when and where they choose.” (notice how she makes them sound like infants: “I want my lecture and I want it now!). But does she think we are stupid enough to fall for this? The giveaway was announced on the day that all Australian high school leavers received their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. That the iPad giveaway is a transparent scheme to encourage students to select UWS is made clear on the following website (http://www.uws.edu.au/learning_teaching/learning_and_teaching/ipad_initiative/ipad_faq), which states that the iPads will remain the property of students, provided they stay through the census date (one wonders how the university plans to confiscate iPads from students who drop out earlier, but that’s probably just one in a long list of inconvenient truths that the university has not thought through). Current students do not get the iPad. (Apparently, the university has not considered the equity issues involved in giving students differential access to learning technology). We all know the old advertising ploy: “Offer does not apply to existing customers.” Except that these are NOT customers, Dr. Krause. And you do NOT work for a private company, but for a university funded by tax payers, to whom you will be held accountable for squandering 5 million dollars on a device that, according to your own data, only 45% of UWS students said they would like to have (and just because they said they would like to have an iPad does NOT mean that they wanted you to sack their lecturers in order to pay for it). You also tell us that 77% of students already own a computer, which leaves me to wonder why an iPad is so crucial to blended learning. Congratulations UWS! Today you went where no university dared to go before. You went to the media with the message that you CAN afford to pay for iPads, but you CANNOT afford to keep economics, Arabic and other majors afloat. You chose to make staff redundant so you can tempt prospective students with a shiny new toy. You chose machines over people, and so today you lost whatever tattered threads still remained of your educational soul.

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