School issues iPads to RAs

by Rebecca Fiore / Beacon Staff • October 1, 2014

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Matt Prince and other RAs received iPads meant to make their work more efficient.
Matt Prince and other RAs received iPads meant to make their work more efficient.

This semester marks the first time the Office of Housing and Residence Life distributed iPads to resident assistants. The iPads, which were checked out during summer training, were provided to make RAs’ jobs easier, and are to be returned at the end of the academic year, according to David Haden, associate dean and director of housing and residence life. 

The iPads are used to help RAs do resident check-ins and check-outs during move in and holiday breaks, complete room inventory forms, enter information on students locking themselves out or losing a key, and file any other incident reports, Haden wrote in a statement to the Beacon. 

“In order to streamline the completion of these tasks, the Housing Operations staff recommended that we invest in iPads as departmental tools rather than expecting RAs to have and utilize their own iPads or laptops to complete tasks,” Haden wrote. 

Haden declined to comment on the price of the iPads. 

With four residence halls on campus, there are a total of 58 RAs, some floors with two each: 20 in the Little Building, eight in the Paramount Center, 12 in Colonial, and 18 in Piano Row. 

Paramount RA Gen Davis said the RAs were surprised to find out they were now able to have iPads with them at all times. 

“We did have iPads last year but we weren’t able to keep them,” said the junior visual and media arts major. She said that before, the iPads were locked in the Paramount office and had to be checked in and out every time they were needed.  

“The reason [OHRL] told us they were letting us have them until the end of the year is that it is just going to make our job easier and more accessible,” Davis said.  

According to Davis, walking around with a laptop wasn’t an efficient system and that carrying an iPad makes it easier to fill out forms.

Matt Prince, a junior RA in the Paramount, said he likes using the iPads because it’s better for the environment.  

“The main convenience is that we really get to go paperless here because Emerson is trying to work on sustainability,” the visual and media arts major said. 

Each iPad comes with the RA manual and all the websites necessary for reporting any incidents in the residence halls. 

Prince said when it comes to having to perform rounds — monitoring the floors two or three times a night — carrying an iPad is much easier than a laptop.

However, there are some drawbacks to relying on technology, according to Davis. 

“The only real downside to them is that sometimes when I am doing crucial operations on the iPad it will glitch up or the wi-fi goes out,” she said.  “I’ll be in the middle of checking someone out, or I thought I had, and it turns out I hadn’t because the wi-fi  went out.”