The iPad is almost completely reliant on an Internet connection for functionality. The device is heavily dependent on Cloud storage and access to a PC to sync, manage and transfer content, settings, files and backup. This imposes some challenges relating to the provision of content, in particular traditional learning resources.
Files cannot be copied from physical storage straight onto the device, as there are no inputs for third party peripherals. Instead, files must be accessed online or transferred via the iTunes application on the user’s PC. The reliance with online storage has significant implications for the provision of copyright material as it exposes CSU to different copyright statutes, which are more limiting than those applied to print or digital copies on a disc. This has significant implications for subjects or study areas heavily reliant on provided readings.
The reliance on online storage also poses some issues with regard to access and equity. WiFi connections are dependent on physical infrastructure to be in place in the student homes, in the workplace or on campus. On campus, students are covered by CSUConnect during their time in class or on the grounds, but once they leave they are left to their own devices. This is felt far more acutely by those studying in blended or distance modes, as they are completely reliant on providing the infrastructure themselves.
The 3G and mobile data options are a work around for many students and staff, but suffer from a dependency on an external service provider. Students may live in remote areas that have poor or no service available. Cellular data is also far more expensive and limited than that available from a home broadband plan. An increase in the adoption of services that have high data requirements, in particular those with rich media, such as video lectures and online meetings, may place an additional burden and cost onto students.