Listen to the UVA Today Radio Show report on this story
Leaders from Darden were in New York City today as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the new Kindle DX and announced the details of the program.
The project is a two-semester pilot program in which students will use the Kindle DX, Amazon's latest generation wireless reading device with a large screen, to access academic materials. In addition to Darden, Amazon selected four other schools spread across a broad range of academic disciplines, to participate in the project: Princeton University, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University and Oregon's Reed College.
"The sky is the limit in terms of the positive outcomes this project can produce," said Dean Bob Bruner, who is in Singapore today to address the Eighth Annual Darden International Finance Conference. "It has the potential to have a great impact on technology, environmental sustainability, student and school savings, teaching and learning. I'm pleased that Amazon selected Darden as the business school to participate in this important pilot program."
Darden's goal is to make the device available to two groups of students in the fall. Plans call for one group from the school's full-time MBA program and another group in its MBA for Executives program to receive, test and assess the Kindle DX.
"We expect considerable interest from our students in terms of pilot program participation," said Darden's associate dean for MBA programs, Robert Carraway. "Having the case studies and textbooks required for classes on the Kindle DX will be a wonderful benefit to students."
Amazon introduced the Kindle in November 2007. The education project is the first company-sponsored project for Amazon that involves students and institutions of higher learning.
Students in the pilot program will be able to take advantage of Kindle DX's popular features, such as its larger screen; auto-rotation; wireless, cellular connectivity; the ability to take notes and highlight; search across the library; and access a built-in dictionary.
It provides the opportunity for students to carry all of their books and case studies in one device that is as thin as many magazines and weighs just over a pound. Darden professors and students participating in the pilot program will receive orientation on how best to use the Kindle DX for teaching and learning.
"A neutral third party will develop and administer survey and online research throughout the program to determine effectiveness," Michael Koenig, Darden's director of MBA operations, said. "The Darden School will also conduct its own research. There will be much to learn in the next academic year."
In addition to the education project, Amazon's Bezos announced a program that will offer three major newspapers at reduced prices for long-term subscriptions on the Kindle DX. The Washington Post, New York Times and the Boston Globe will be available to subscribers on the device this summer.
"This project is significant," Carraway said. "It affects many segments of the population. Education, journalism, the textbook industry, consumers and others could greatly benefit from the new device and the pilot study. It will be exciting to follow the progress of the program."