LaunchPad Initiative

LaunchPad Initiative

Gather. Lift. Launch.

These words are the driving force behind everything we do at Southern Virginia University. Our purpose is to gather Latter-day Saints, lift them to heights they never imagined, and launch them into meaningful lives and careers.

We constantly strive to equip our students with the tools they need for academic and career success. That’s why this year, we will place an Apple iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil in the hands of every student and every faculty member at Southern Virginia.

Launching Fall 2017.

The Plan

The University will supply a new state-of-the-art 10.5” iPad Pro to every student, faculty and senior staff professional. This is the highest performance tablet ever made, launched at the Apple global conference in June. Each iPad Pro will also have an advanced auto-docking Smart Keyboard cover and a digital Apple Pencil for highly precise writing and drawing.

In addition, our classrooms will have new 55”, 65” and 75” high-definition monitors and self-contained Apple TV systems for live interactive teaching and learning. The entire campus also will receive major upgrades to the WiFi network for faster and more reliable Internet.

The Purpose

Our educational model has never been top-down. Teaching and learning take place through collaboration, discussion, and participation, with both faculty and students favoring a “guide-on-the-side” more than the traditional “sage on-the-stage” approach. Adding iPad Pros and other technology to the classroom will complement and enhance the student-centered approach to teaching and learning already in place campus-wide.

This fall, some faculty members will already be introducing new, content-rich, interactive class materials such as self-published Smartbooks, as we move toward full LaunchPad integration by Spring 2018. Over the next few years, we expect the LaunchPad Initiative to enhance many areas of campus and improve student learning outcomes, all while driving down the cost of expensive textbooks.

Are you ready to Launch?


When and how do I receive my iPad Pro?

During the first University Forum, this Friday, Sept. 1, you will receive a ticket with a scheduled time to pick up your iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil. One week later, after everyone has started to work and become familiar with their new devices, the University will hold a LaunchPad Kickoff Forum with a visiting team of our partners from Apple Inc. The entire Sept. 8 Forum will focus on the iPad Pro and the Apple partnership we call the LaunchPad Initiative.

Will I own my iPad Pro?

Yes, after you graduate! The University will own the devices while you are a student, but they are yours to use. When you graduate, the iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple pencil become yours to keep if you’ve earned at least 60 credits from Southern Virginia. If you’ve earned fewer than 60 credits, you will have the option to buy the devices at a significantly discounted price based on their age.

Do I have to pay for my iPad Pro?

No, to get the LaunchPad program started, the cost of the iPad Pro is included in tuition this year. Since there is no additional fee for the iPad Pro, a student would not save any money by requesting not to receive a device. The University will assign an iPad Pro to each degree-seeking student. Personal computers or devices will not replace the assigned iPad Pro, although you are always welcome to use personal devices in addition to your iPad Pro.

Can I keep my iPad Pro over the summer?

Yes! Access to an iPad Pro is one of the privileges of being a Knight and attending Southern Virginia University. Full-time students keep and use their iPads year-round until they graduate, when they will own them permanently.

Can I keep my iPad Pro after I graduate?

Yes! Starting this semester, Southern Virginia graduates who have earned at least 60 credits here will be able to keep their devices free of charge upon completion of their degree. All other graduates will have the option to purchase their iPad Pros for a significantly discounted price based on the age of the device.

What if I am a part-time student (less than 12 credit-hours)?

Most part-time students will rent an iPad Pro at a subsidized rate. The rental cost depends on the number of credits the student is taking: $100 per semester for students taking 1-6 credits; $50 per semester for students taking 7-11 credits.

Typically, part-time students return their devices to the University at the end of the semester, while full-time students keep their devices between semesters. Southern Virginia will work with students on a case-by-case basis if their status changes from full-time to part-time, such as a senior finishing a final semester of classes. Enrollment status will be established the day after the add/drop deadline, after which the University will notify part-time students who have received iPad Pros that the rental fee will be applied to their student accounts.

Who pays for repairs if my iPad Pro is damaged or stops working?

The Apple iPad Pro has the reputation of being a very reliable and durable device, needing very few repairs unless the device is physically damaged. Apple’s warranty covers most repair issues for the first year other than damage to the iPad Pro, such as a broken screen. The University will subsidize repairs except in cases of repeated or intentional damage.

After the first year, there may be a co-pay for repairs (depending on the issue), with the University significantly subsidizing repair costs. In rare cases of repeated or intentional damage, the student will need to cover the full repair cost. Please let our IT staff know if you need help; they are available to help with most questions and repairs, usually free of charge!

Will my use of my iPad Pro be monitored?

You are free to use the iPad Pro for personal and school use, but please remember that the iPad Pros belong to the University until you graduate. The primary reason for Southern Virginia to own the device is to have it enrolled in the University’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) system, which enables the IT department to push specific apps, texts, and important notifications to the iPad Pros of all students and employees, or to subsets of these groups. The MDM also​ enables​ IT to collect aggregate data, such as the number of students who have downloaded a particular app. The University will not generally or routinely access individual iPad Pros except in extreme circumstances, such as a missing or stolen device.

In other words, you should feel free to use the iPad Pro for personal use, as well as school purposes, ​but you should not assume that its use history and downloads are completely private — although they almost always will be under normal circumstances. Use a personal device (phone or laptop) for activities you want or need to be completely private.

What options are there for ​colors​ or storage capacity?

All iPads will come in the popular​ Space Gray color​ and are upgraded to 256GB of storage. They are all upgraded from the lower cost iPad or iPad Air models to the brand-new, high-end, 10.5″ iPad Pro with Retina Display and rapid refresh rate. Every iPad Pro will also come equipped with the Apple Smart Keyboard and the fantastic Apple Pencil.

While we expect 256GB of storage to be more than enough for most users, our partnership with Apple also comes with access and storage in iTunes U. We expect many of our outstanding faculty will take advantage of this feature for storing course materials. Thanks to our email partnership with Google, students also have virtually unlimited storage on Google Drive via a free app accessible in the App Store.

Can I personalize my iPad Pro and download new apps or media?

​Yes! Please protect your iPad Pro by purchasing a favorite protective case! There are many effective, affordable options; choosing a colorful or patterned case is a great way to personalize your device and express your personality. Feel free to decorate your case, but please do not use stickers or write directly on the iPad Pro or Smart Keyboard.

You may also download the apps or media you like — with the Code of Honor in mind — just as if the iPads were your personal property. In the future, specific classes or other campus programs may automatically load certain apps, electronic textbooks, or documents onto student devices.

When will professors incorporate digital content or iPad-required assignments into courses?

The Fall 2017 semester will be used to “soft launch” the LaunchPad Initiative, with further integration in the Spring 2018 semester. Adoption of new technologies will be a gradual process across campus, with each professor deciding how and when to incorporate the new devices into a given course. Some students will begin using the iPad technology​ immediately in their courses, while others may not see many changes until January 2018 or later.​

What if I take a semester off or transfer to another school?

If a student transfers from or suspends enrollment at Southern Virginia, that student will have the option to return the iPad Pro to the school or purchase it at fair market value, based on its age.

Can the campus Wi-Fi network handle the additional load?

The LaunchPad Initiative includes a major Wi-Fi upgrade across campus. The University has scheduled the installation of new fiber optic cable, Wi-Fi access points, and upgraded network security software for completion early in the Fall 2017 Semester. Students should see a dramatically improved Wi-Fi environment compared to last year, which will cover most, if not all of the campus.

What else will be different on campus?

The LaunchPad Initiative includes a substantial upgrade to campus Wi-Fi and new flat screen monitors and Apple TVs installed in virtually every classroom on campus. Flat screens are also scheduled to be installed in many of the campus common areas, such as residence hall lobbies and the Kimball Student Center. Several other technology upgrade projects are in the planning phase and will happen through the coming​ year. Over the next few years, we expect the LaunchPad Initiative to enhance many areas of campus and facilitate student learning and collaboration, all while helping to reduce the amount of money our students spend on expensive textbooks.

Will I be required to purchase apps for my classes?

Although Southern Virginia will select and purchase some university-wide apps on behalf of students and faculty, it is possible that a professor will require a specific app or a Smartbook​ for his or her course, similar to textbook requirements. In general, Smartbooks are less expensive than printed text books. ​Over time, we believe that the LaunchPad Initiative will significantly reduce the cost of books for our students.

What happens if my iPad Pro gets lost or stolen (or destroyed)?

If anything happens to your iPad Pro or accompanying devices, please report it to the IT staff as soon as possible. Because every device is enrolled in the university Mobile Device Management (MDM) system, our IT staff may be able to determine the location of a lost device and help retrieve it or report a theft to campus security or the local police. If the device cannot be recovered, the student will need to pay a $150 co-pay towards a replacement device, and the University will cover the rest of the cost. However, if the same student loses​ the second device, the student will be responsible for the full replacement cost of the​ iPad Pro. For lost or destroyed Smart Keyboards or Apple Pencils, the same principle will apply; a subsidized co-pay in the first instance with students being fully for responsible for replacement in subsequent instances.

If a device is missing or damaged​ when a student returns the devices to the University — such as when transferring or withdrawing — the student will need to cover the costs according to the policy described above.

Should I buy a case for my iPad Pro?

Yes. We strongly encourage all students to purchase a case to protect their​ iPad Pro. Each student’s use will be different, so each should consider their own circumstances and usage when selecting a case. Choosing a colorful or patterned case is a great way to personalize your device and express your own style. Feel free to decorate your case, but please do not use stickers or write directly on the iPad Pro or Smart Keyboard.

Are there limits to how I can use my iPad Pro?

The only limits are those outlined in the Code of Honor—to be kind and to be morally clean. This means avoiding cyber-bullying and backbiting, and to avoid pornography. Otherwise, you are free to use it to download movies or music, to play games or watch programming content, if you wish—after finishing your homework of course!