As the iPad 2 was being released in spring 2011, Associate Professor of Economics, Marc Tomljanovich, considered the impact this technology might have on Drew’s Wall Street semester. With an iPad, he thought, students would have access to up-to-the-minute information, as well as being able to take notes and create presentations, while participating in this highly mobile program.

The Wall Street Semester has been bringing Drew students into New York’s financial district twice a week each spring semester for the past fifteen years to learn from leaders in the financial industry and visit places that are central to the U.S. economy.

Matthew Altman C’11, an alumnus of the Wall Street semester, recalls needing to have real-time economic news as a participant in the program.  “When we arrived to class each morning, student teams were expected to present on daily trends.”

That used to mean getting your hands on a hard copy of the Wall Street Journal.  But, thanks to a donation from a Drew alumnus, Wall Street Semester students were provided iPads last spring semester which enabled them to study the Wall Street Journal, and other information sources, online while riding the train to their classes in Manhattan.

Kyle Reinhardt C’12 was one of those students who found that the iPad gave him “access a world of information on the go.”  According to Reinhardt, “This is critical as the financial industry places ever increasing emphasis on information and speed.”

In addition to the Wall Street Journal app, the iPads enable students to access textbooks for this course, share ideas and information with fellow participants through Dropbox, and review sophisticated financial data through Stocktouch.

Professor Tomljanovich has observed how this technology enhances the learning process.  “For example, Dropbox added a new layer to what we are doing.  It enables students to have an on-going dialogue – anytime, anywhere – about their responses to guest speakers, assignments, and daily happenings.”

Nick Canan C’13, who participated in the pilot project, found that in the iPad was also helpful in navigating around the city. “There were definitely days we wouldn’t have gotten to where we needed to be without using Maps or Hopstop for subway routes!”

The 2013 Wall Street semester begins in just a few weeks, and students will once again be armed with iPads.  They have the option to purchase the tablets at the end of the semester.  “I think it says something about the usefulness of this tool that all the participants of the pilot project choose to buy them,” Tomljanovich reflects with a smile.

Kimberly Ammiano

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