The iPad Initiative

You may have noticed many students on campus working on Apple iPads this year, or writing on them with a high-tech “pencil” in some cases. Norwich is one of a few universities leading the way in exploring use of the powerful devices in classes, labs and for homework.

So what do students using them think? Opinion depends on the students and the major, but based on interviews, the iPad initiative holds promise – and also some issues for Norwich administrators.

Professor Aron Temkin, the Dean of the College of Professional Schools, oversees the iPad initiative working with the Norwich president, board of trustees, and the provost. “The iPad initiative is an effort to enhance the access faculty and students have to technology in a way that supports their teaching, their learning and their scholarship,” explained Dana Routhier, the office manager of college of professional schools, who is playing an important role in the deployment of the iPad initiative.

According to Routhier, there are approximately 240 iPad users this semester. The users are upperclassman who are majors in nursing, athletic training, history, studies in war and peace, psychology, education, geology, environmental science and Chinese.

In interviews, students in those departments shared the experiences and impressions that had using the devices. Most students held a positive initial reaction when finding out that they would get iPads, but some expressed confusion about what they were supposed to do with them.

“For me, I have a lot of technology so I felt like it was another thing to try out,” said Alec Schreurs, a 20-year-old junior health science major from Ansbach, Germany.

Ariana Sala, a 20-year-old junior business management major from Mililani, Hawaii, said she felt that getting an iPad would be “awesome because they come with Apple pens that you can draw and sketch with.”

But one of the students was not sure why he was getting an iPad. “I was kind of confused, but I’m not going to turn down a free iPad. It’s pretty cool,” said Peter Caine, a 19-year-old sophomore double major in Chinese and communications from Springfield, Mass.

Temkin explained that the main goal of the initiative was to “provide a broad set of versatile tools” to students. “We wanted to make technology more easily integrated into a classroom, in a way that’s not just about technology,” Temkin said. He explained it could help “enrich students’ opportunities to learn.”

Some students got their iPad as early as fall semester of 2016. Those students were part of a test group that helped determine if it was beneficial to students to have the devices.

“I got an email from my administration in my major and they said, ‘You are the testing group and we are going see if we are going to further this project,’” Schreurs said.

Students that were not part of the testing group in 2016 received their iPad this fall semester. “I received an email in September telling me I hadn’t come down to pick up my iPad. I was kind of confused because I didn’t even know I was getting an iPad,” Caine said.

Ellie Vigurie, a 20-year-old junior health science major from West Palm Beach, Fla., and Schreurs, agreed to be a part of the test. They met up with “iPad distributors” and were given an iPad with an iPad protector, Apple pen and Apple pen charger, according to Vigurie.

Vigurie explained that when she got her iPad, the IT (Information Technology) department told her and other students that they “could have it until senior year and then IT would take the iPad from there.”

Temkin explained that eventually the plan is that the iPads will be acquired by students on a “lease to own” basis but currently the students do not have to pay for them. Norwich University maintains “liability” for the iPads, according to Routhier. Once the students graduate, they have to give the device back, or they could buy it if they choose.

Although the iPad is property of Norwich University, the students said they treat the iPad as if it were their own device. Sala said that she treats the iPad “like a baby.” She explained that because it belongs to the school she is more careful with it. Hunter White, a 20-year-old junior exercise science major from Hamburg, Penn., agrees, saying he treats it as if he “owns” it.

Students, especially those in the life sciences, said that the iPad is relevant and helpful to their academics. “I saw an increase in my anatomy grades because I could actively look up certain portions of the body, make annotations on it and view them more in depth,” White said. Vigurie said she used the iPad often during her sophomore year. She explained that she used it for lectures because the iPad “enabled her to draw notes on the PowerPoints to the lectures for class.”

Schreurs also used it for his classes. “On the iPad, we have a lot of apps that are angled towards our major so I can use those. It helps with studying,” Schreurs said.

But other students said they felt the iPad wasn’t relevant to their classes. Caine explained that IT did not tell him how he was supposed to incorporate the iPad into his majors of Chinese and communications.

“They really didn’t say anything about it. They were giving it to select people in my major but I really don’t see how it would be helpful,” Caine said. Caine said he also asked his language professors how he was supposed to use the iPad but they “were not sure either.”

Although the iPads were definitely utilized for academic purposes, they also found some uses Norwich officials might not have thought of. Speaking anonymously, one student noted that she knew multiple people who used the iPad solely for “inappropriate reasons.” “I remember within the first hour that we got the iPad, there was a group of us, and two of the guys said, ‘I’m straight-up using this for porn and nothing else,’” she said.

She also said that some of these people would watch pornography in class, especially in “big classrooms.” Another student who wanted to be anonymous admitted to using the iPad for porn and personally witnessed people watching pornography on the iPad in class “one or two times.”

“Sometimes it comes down to convenience. “The iPad’s got great quality, it’s bigger, and it’s handsfree,” said a third anonymous student.

Schreurs said that he thought “the school can probably see what we are doing on the iPad because they want to know what we use it for.” But that is not the case.

Jonathan Spaulding, a senior support agent for Norwich University IT, said that IT can see “what applications are on the device, when and where they are used, but not how they are used.” He added that IT “does not invest time in seeing where the network traffic is going.”

Other students said they used the iPad for more appropriate personal reasons. “I use the iPad for music in my room but I don’t use it for anything related to school,” Caine said.

White uses it for both academics and personal reasons. He said that if he was not using the iPad for academics, it was for “ordering things online and FaceTiming.”

In contrast, Sala, who already owns multiple technology devices of her own, said, “I don’t use my iPad for personal use ever.”

Students said there were certain aspects of the iPads that they really liked. Vigurie enjoyed that the iPad is “light and portable,” making it easy to carry around. White liked that the iPad enabled him to “actively make annotations to PowerPoints the teachers uploaded” on NUoodle.

Sala explained that she appreciated that the iPad will “record and type with certain apps.” She added that if an application for the iPad costs money, IT covers the cost, which is “great.”

Sala said she also appreciated the AppleCare that comes with every iPad distributed, which provides two years of AppleCare. If the iPad was damaged physically or from a technical end, there would be minimal to no costs to fix it.

Spaulding explained that for “Norwich network related issues,” IT would resolve the problem. He continued that “if it’s something IT can not solve quickly, we will refer students to contact Apple.”

However, other students found certain aspects of the iPad cumbersome or not useful. Vigurie said she didn’t like that there were “too many steps” involved with completing certain tasks on the iPad.

“In order to download a PowerPoint so that I could write my own notes on them, I would have to download an app, then open it through Safari, download it as a primary document, and then email it to my email,” Vigurie said. For that reason, she no longer uses the device.

For White, he found it odd that for “all of his classes” this semester, he was not allowed to use the iPad technology in any of them. He continued that the school needs to “provide a justification” to professors for why students are permitted to use the iPads.

“Why can we have iPads if we can’t even use them in class?” White questioned.

Another thing that students didn’t like was that the iPad does not come with a charger. “I bought an iPhone charger, and I know other people that didn’t, so they had to choose between charging their iPhone or iPad,” Vigurie said. White said that he only had one charger, and so he found himself having to “choose” what device to charge, which became “problematic.”

Still, summing up, White said that although there are negatives and issues with using the iPads, “the positives outweigh them.”

To stay or not to stay

When the end of the fall semester approaches, students at Norwich start to plan whether they are coming back for one more semester, going home or transferring. For international students, it is not a simple process and decision to make.

According to U.S. students at Norwich, it is normally not a hard decision. They are all in their country, and the decision of staying or leaving the institution is based on their academics or family issues. But for international students, it is based on a lot more, sometimes difficult, factors.

“It is the end of the semester, and I still don’t feel comfortable here,” said freshman Bivek Rana, who is 19 and a health science major who came all the way from Nepal. “It is a really hard decision to make, because I have to consider a lot of things when coming up with what is best for me.”

The long distances from their country and homesickness are always a strong factor that has a lot of weight in their decision. And according to international students, it sometimes gets into the way of their major goals as a student.

“I knew before coming here that I would have a lot of challenges, since I’m not in my country. But I knew the importance of getting an education here at Norwich for my future, and that is why I decided to give it a chance.” Rana said. “But it is harder than what I expected, I have been thinking a lot about it, and the fact that I miss my family and I’m not in my country started to be something that I can’t deal with.”

When international students struggle not to become preoccupied or distracted, their lives at Norwich become way harder. Though for some students that are able to adapt to their new life at Norwich, leaving the school is something that they don’t think about.

“Thankfully, I came to Norwich as a soccer recruit, so being here to do what I love made it easier for me to be away from home,” said junior Alessandro Delia, 22, a business major from Empoli in Italy. “If I didn’t have soccer I don’t think I would’ve stayed, because I would have struggled a lot to make new friends and to adapt by myself to the life here.”

According to international students involved with sports, the practices and games routine offers kind of a relief from stress for them.

“During my freshman year I still struggled a lot. I really wanted to be in Italy with my friends and family, but soccer helped me make new friends and to find a new family,” Delia said. “The soccer season really helped me while I was sad for not being in my country. Every time I practiced or played, I completely forgot I was so far from home, because I was doing something I loved, and the guys from the team always supported me a lot since they knew my situation.”

One of the things that add to stress for foreign students is the fact that their process of acceptance to transfer to another school is complicated and takes a lot of time.

“I was thinking about transferring to a school in a bigger city, but after I found out how complicated was for me to transfer, I decided to stay here next semester,” said freshman Rameshwar Shrestha, 20, another Nepalese student from Khandbari who is majoring in computer science. “I would have to come back home, and in Nepal go to the American consulate to transfer my visa and all the documentation, and that would take a lot of time.”

Shrestha also commented on how difficult and lengthy his process of being accepted to Norwich was at first. He said it took almost five months for him to receive an answer from Norwich, and he said that going through this process all over again wasn’t worth it.

“Transferring would not be worth it for me, I have everything I need here at Norwich, and for me to get this opportunity was really hard.” Shrestha said. “I wouldn’t even get accepted in another school in time for me to start studying there in the right date, so I figured the right decision for me, it’s to stay here and finish my four years at Norwich.”

Adapting to a new culture, language and lifestyle and dealing with distance from family and friends, were all issues mentioned by these international students when deciding what to do in the upcoming semester. But dealing with all of that in order to get the degree they want, is also part of maturing.

“I’m now going to my fourth semester here at Norwich, and I’m glad I decided to stay instead of transferring or going back home, back there in my freshman year,” said sophomore Ivan Bansah, 20, a health science major from Ghana. “It wasn’t easy, but it is not supposed to be easy. I knew back there that all these difficulties were only going to make me a better person and student,” Bansah said.

Students said that a key to overcoming the concerns about whether to stay or go is having the right mindset and knowing that it is a period of their lives that will define their future and the person they will become. If you can absorb that idea, it becomes an easy decision whether to leave or stay.

“Deciding to stay and accepting all the challenges of being an international student here, was the best decision of my life.” Bansah said. “I already became a more mature person, and I’m focused on the major goal, which is to get my diploma. I know it will always be challenging, but it will be worth it in the end.”

Norwich students find Tinder helpful in dating and social life in rural Northfield

Norwich students and the dating app Tinder have what you might call an up and down relationship: Sometimes, it’s rocky, other times everything is sweet.
Some students just use it for fun, as a way to talk to other people around them. Others use it to find a relationship or go on dates. If it’s successful, or not, is always a gamble, said Christopher Richards, 20, a junior criminal justice major from Minneapolis Minnesota.
“I used it before I came to Norwich,” said Cody Adams, 18, a freshman business management major from Newark New Jersey. “It definitely helps getting out there while up here because it opens up your window to talk to people from other universities,”
“Most people here at the school use Tinder as a way to get out there, so we aren’t limited to just Norwich,” agrees Steve Gordon, 19, a sophomore criminal justice major from Boston, Mass.
For those not familiar with it, “Tinder is basically a dating app that people can swipe left or right depending if they want to match with that person; when you match with someone you can go on a date or just talk to them,” explains Fredrick Fox, 19, a sophomore architecture major from Kansas City, Mo. [Read more…]

Norwich radio station WNUB will celebrate 50 years on air this December

Students do a show at Norwich’s radio station WNUB, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this December.                                                                                                      Evan Bowley Photo

WNUB has clearly been able to stand the test of time as Dec. 8, 2017, marks its 50th anniversary at Norwich University. A celebration of its 50 years will take place on the 8th in the Mill located in the Wise Campus Center.

Professor Doug Smith has been the manager of the station since 1999, and teaches classes that teach students the fundamentals of running a radio station, as well as how to run their own show.

“The experience is really good for them in terms of understanding how radio stations and radio broadcasting really works,” said Smith.

While the station itself is located on the second floor of the communications building, the signal actually broadcasts from an antenna atop Jackman Hall. The station features three studios: One is for on air entertainment, and the other two are used for production and editing.

WNUB was founded in 1967 by a group of engineering students. Up until the classes to teach broadcasting techniques were offered, the station was entirely student run as a club.

Smith is organizing the anniversary event.

“We’re having a big celebration in the Mill on Dec. 8th, counting down the top songs from the past 50 years, along with contests, prizes and giveaways,” said Smith. [Read more…]

Campus spooks? Some find Norwich a haunting experience

Alumni Hall leads the list of spooky stories on the Norwich campus. It’s got a lot of history inside, and maybe a ghost or two. Photo by Adam Ganz

At Norwich University, Halloween doesn’t just occur in October, but rather all year long. On a campus with 200 years of history, you’re bound to experience something haunting, whether it be rumors passed down from older students or a spooky personal experience.

Perhaps the most notorious locale for haunting stories is Alumni Hall, the oldest building on campus, built in 1905. In March of 2012, The Norwich Record featured a story titled “Spirits Among Us,” which outlined the terrible story of two cadets, brothers, who hung themselves in the same room a year apart.

“The hangings were viewed as tragic but unrelated coincidences until one fateful day, when a cadet walked into the same basement room and saw his buddy standing on a chair getting ready to hang himself,” wrote The Norwich Record. When asked “why?” “the cadet then explained that the woebegone victims had each appeared in the mirror, coaxing him to join them.”

The room was then sealed off by bricks, according to rumor, and is used as the building’s facilities room. However, when the wall is knocked on, there is a hollow sound where a door once was and there are countless stories of unsettling noises and events stemming from Alumni Hall to this day. [Read more…]

Corps of Cadets faces internal issues

Training rooks takes every level of leadership relying on each other to make the best decisions. Cadre and commandants work together to take care of recruits and to train them. But sometimes even the trainers have to pause to mend internal issues.

That’s been the case with meetings during the fall semester of 2017-2018 in order to fix concerns with communication and trust issues between the cadre and commandants.

The training of first-year cadets, known as recruits or rooks, takes place in two battalions. These battalions consist of three companies, which each consist of three platoons, the place where recruits are trained by cadre.

Each battalion has an AC (assistant commandant), a SEA (senior enlisted advisor), and a TAC NCO (tactical NCO). The commandants help facilitate training through the cadre, enforce disciplinary measures, as well as mentor and aid cadre in their leadership of recruits. [Read more…]

Semper Fi Society holds annual Walter N. Levy challenge

On the first of October, Norwich University’s campus was full of action as students and locals alike participated in the Walter N. Levy Challenge, a motivating and inspiring experience for those who do it or help out.
“For me, who has always volunteered, and never actually ran the course, I still get a lot out of it,” said Chandler Heath, a 21-year-old business management major from Atlanta, Ga. “I think it’s especially great for the Naval Battalion to help out, and instead of doing something for ourselves, actually volunteer and contribute towards something greater than ourselves.”
The Levy Challenge is a 10k endurance race “that will challenge you mentally and physically” according to the page on Active.com. The event includes obstacles such as: The Marine Corps obstacle course, steep grade of Hill 488, Quang Nam mud crawl, Rock Pile ammo resupply mission, pull-up challenge, Hue City ruck run, and the Da Nang serpentine.
This October marked the race’s eighth consecutive year memorializing Walter N. Levy, who graduated Norwich in 1963, and then commissioned and served in the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant Infantry Officer until he was killed in action on Sept. 18, 1965 in South Vietnam.
The Marine Corps branch of ROTC on Norwich’s campus has been organizing the event since its origination. “I think the organization was fine this year, Semper Fi always does a really good job of covering their bases, and making sure all the fine details of event organization are sorted out,” said Heath.
Also helping out with the event for its eight years has been Norwich’s Naval Battalion. Semper Fi handles the logistics including registration of racers, planning and finalizing a route, food for the racers after they finish, and the keeping of the contestant’s time. On the other side of things, Naval Battalion is there to man all the different stations, and “add to the body of volunteers as to ensure a smooth operation.” said Heath. [Read more…]

Pegasus players get a new theater director

Jeffry Casey, the new director of the Pegasus Players

Jeff Casey looked around at his new office in the basement of Webb. There were lights and props from Dole Auditorium strewn about.

The native Texan had just started this year as assistant professor of theater in the department of English and communications.

There were no windows in his office, surrounded by cold concrete walls, but it certainly looked as if he had made a home for himself.

Fresh from getting his Ph.D. and finishing work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison he had finally got settled at Norwich.

“You don’t need to justify doing theater,” Casey said. “No one cares, everyone just wants to do it, it’s fun.” [Read more…]

NU wi-fi upgraded yet some problems persist

Norwich University has invested a lot of time and more than $5 million dollars into upgrading the campus’ Wi-Fi network, but students still face some issues regarding the network’s strength and coverage capabilities.

Since this summer, Norwich has been working on a major network upgrade, with the purpose of improving the quality of Wi-Fi connection on campus, according to the members of the Information Technology Department (IT).

“Thanks to this project, more than 650 access points have been upgraded across campus,” said Frank Moore, the chief information officer at Norwich. An access point (AP) is a hardware device that allows wireless devices to connect to the network. By increasing the number of APs, and by improving the distribution, more users can get on a single access point without degrading the service and slowing it down.

According to the IT department staff, in order to keep current with the ever-growing demand for network service, the university favored supporting the network via an operational lease, which allows for renewal of innovation and technological transformation, at the end and beginning of each lease term.

“The university is going through a major network refresh,” explained the Director of User Services & University Outreach at Norwich, Joseph Morvan. “Part of that refresh was recalibrating our wireless environment.” Thanks to this project, previous complaints about the slowness of the WiFi, and the interruption of the connection, will be soon solved, he said.

The main priorities are the residence halls and the barracks, due to the high density and constant use of the connection by students. [Read more…]

Corps housing crunch causes some concerns

For the 2017 fall semester at Norwich University, almost 40 upperclass Corps of Cadets were assigned to live in lounges and classrooms instead of traditional barracks or dorms, according to student housing and admissions.

Typically, Corps students live in barracks that are located on the upper parade ground, which is commonly referred to as “the UP.” These barracks are separated from the civilian dorms.

Major Justin LeFebvre, the NUCC commandant adjutant, makes the decisions for where the Corps students will live. He has been working at Norwich University for 15 years, however, this is his first year being in charge of the housing office. He has had his “eyes opened” and is aware of the many “challenges” that housing entails.

According to LeFebvre, there were multiple reasons as to why certain cadets were assigned to live in a classroom or lounge. If a student didn’t “complete housing forms, tell housing they were coming back, or were readmitted at the last moment,” there was no reserved space for them.

“If I don’t know they are coming back I can’t give them a bed on the UP,” LeFebvre said. [Read more…]