Starting in the fall of 2012, Seton Hall University will bestow a Nokia Lumia 900 on each and every all incoming freshmen to use throughout the campus.

According to a release on its website, the University chose the Lumia because it was “solidly built” to stand up to “the abuse a college student is capable of providing” and because it would easily integrate with the school’s existing Microsoft infrastructure. (The school will cover the first year’s service contract with AT&T; after that students will be responsible for costs.)

Students will also have access to SHUMobile, an app that provides campus news feeds and maps, in addition to a new customized app called “Freshman Experience,” which will have enable students to connect with classmates, peer advisers and roommates.

Michael Taylor, Academic Director, Center for Mobile Research & Innovation, said:

Mobile technology has become ubiquitous and pervasive, but we are just beginning to understand the breadth of its impact across campus. Smartphone use in higher education has tended to rely on finding a specific app to fulfill a specific curricular purpose. With the close collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft on the Lumia 900, the phone itself takes center stage.

The Professor also said that the initiative will increase opportunities for students to connect and collaborate with faculty, and enhance the University’s commitment to teaching and learning with technology by allowing it to take place not only in but outside the classroom. SHU has focused on integrating technology into the curriculum since 1997, and has ranked high as a wireless university.

The University also will track how the students use the smartphones. What do you think about the SHU Class of 2016’s shiny new toy? Will it bolster connectivity among students and faculty, or will it be a waste of resources? (Presumably, many of the incoming freshman will arrive with their own smartphones).

4 replies on “Smartphones for All Freshmen at Seton Hall”

  1. This might as well read: “Seton Hall thinks it’s 2005”. Or better: “Seton Hall thinks it’s 1984”

    This is so dumb. Such a waste. The obvious: why? I have to think that EVERY incoming freshman- rich and poor- already have a cell (that they call it a “smart” phone confirms how behind they are), so what’s the point?

    Configuring the various cell phones to a University infrastructure isn’t that hard– most schools already do it.

    But I suspect the real reason is the tracking and spying. With the University owning the phone, they will own all the messages and communication that travel through their servers (I would love to read the fine print in the user agreement).

    This is disgusting, overbearing and over the top! It reminds me of that school in PA that gave kids laptops, then remotely turned on the webcam to spy on them.

    If I were a student, or Prof there, I would advise all students to say thanks, but no.

  2. I think it’s much more about Microsoft trying to cut deals to get market share. The power in today’s smartphone makes this deal just like the deals Dell and HP made with colleges in the late 90s and early aughts. Most of those incoming students had computers as well, but getting a free unit subsidized by the University and the manufacturer was a chance to accelerate the normal 2-3 year hardware renewal phase.

  3. Yikes, Prof! I didn’t even think of the whole spying angle. Instead I was thinking, Whoo hoo! A “free” phone including one year of service! (For the bargain rate of an additional $999.98 per year in Student Technology Fees!)

    Aside from the spying part, as for tracking what the kids do with their phones, the school may be in for a rude awakening. And the first thing I would do is find a way to hack into the phone and disable the tracking cookies (or whatever). But wait! I could probably get expelled for tampering with School Property! Hmm…

    By the way, I personally do not have a “smart” phone, because I can’t afford the data plans. So I figure SHU needs to use the term “smart” phone in the description to differentiate from cheap-arse phones like mine.

  4. Even an entire student body armed with “Smartphones” won’t make this place appreciably better in terms of its academic standards. So why bother then?

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