mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

Leave a comment

Project Achievements and Plans

OK I am due another update on the blog so here we are! I thought I would outline what we have done so far and what’s coming up for the team.

Subject Outlines

The project has been consistently working on mobilising the subject outlines on the web for use by students. The aim of this work is to deliver access to a high volume student site and provide significant benefit to the student experience. This service will be available for students for 201360.

Learning Resources

The project has undertaken an extensive exploration of the available learning resources and available techniques, file types, development processes and software available to deliver content to mobile.

Device Trials


Twelve iPads and seven Sony Reader devices were purchased for the Library to explore opportunities for lending to students. Initial plans for device lending included supporting students on work placements, lending to remote and distance education students, pre-loading devices with learning resources, eBooks, journal articles etc., and purchasing apps or other mobile friendly resources.

ITC594 – E-commerce Technologies

This subject provided the challenge of equipping and delivering support to multiple cohorts of students who were studying on campus, by distance and through the Melbourne & Sydney Study Centres. The devices were used to inform and enhance a research project into mobile technology and e-commerce and provide students with the tools to explore mobile technology uses. The project was also able to assess the process required for delivery and return of devices to non-internal students.

EML302 – Investigation: Literacy

In this trial students used the capabilities of the device to create multimodal text. They participated in weekly tutorial sessions and asked to develop writing tasks using the iPad and post these writing tasks to a class blog in an attempt to assess the efficacy of the iPad.

MRS222 – Nuclear Medicine Science 1

This subject formed a longitudinal study, as it is a yearlong subject and the same cohort of students have continued into 2013. The trial looked at many aspects of integrating the technology into the classroom including the addition of interactive elements to a standard lecture using responseware. The devices were used to provide an information access point and communication tool for students on placement and provision support to students on placement through video chat. The trial also explored the use of discipline specific applications as a learning resource, multimedia capabilities to record learning practice in a video diary and leverage 3G technology to provide ubiquitous access to subject materials.

Apps in Nursing – Simulation & Resources

The iPad was deployed with the patient monitor app SimMon to enhance the simulation environment in the skills ward at Albury campus in conjunction with simulation manikins that were already in situ. To use this app, one device becomes a patient monitor, displaying patient heart rate, blood pressure and SpO2. A second device is used by the facilitator to change patient vital signs on the first device (the monitor) in order to simulate a deteriorating or improving patient. The iPads are also used to access resources such as e-MIMS for students to look up different drugs and acquire the most up to date information. This also extends to a range of other resources available through CSU Library’s extensive digital catalogues.

iPads for Accessibility

The disability service evaluated the mobile learning environment and accessibility aspects of iPads. Students assessed how the devices cope with vision impairment, utilising on-screen enlargement and text to speech software.  The assessment extends to how learning resources may be delivered in a variety of accessible formats.

Demonstrating mathematics using an iPad

This group are investigating the use of iPads in mathematically based subjects to improve the student experience and performance. One area they are investigating is how to reduce or break down the barrier for distance students having difficulty with problem solving. Direct interaction with distance students would enable improved problem solving, concept development and retention in highly mathematical subjects. The final area of investigation is the use of apps to record drawing and handwriting with voice to create resources that can be stored and sent to students to explain difficult concepts and problem solving instruction.

iPads for Teaching

This cohort of participants will assess the utility of the iPad for a range of tasks in academic roles. This includes the use of the iPad to facilitate paperless marking, social media engagement with students, investigation of learning resources, implementation of paperless strategies and the integration of mobile technology into a range of teaching contexts across a range of discipline areas.

iPads for Writing

Students enrolled in the subject, Writing for Publishing, will assess the capabilities of the iPad for writing extensively and capitalise on its portability and extra functionalities. This trial will also investigate paperless marking and the use of social media.

Mobile Devices for Digital Media

Students in the subject, Understanding Digital Media, will assess the suitability of mobile technology as a means of production of digital media. Students are exposed to a range of technology from consumer grade gear through to professional production equipment. The large cohort of students will be able to loan the devices through the existing equipment lab in the school.

Further Plans in 2013

Mobile Hub

The project will develop a collaborative online space for disseminating and sharing resources, tutorials, reviews, research and information regarding the hardware, software and practices for mobile devices used by students, professional staff, academics and researchers in higher education.

Adaptive Digital Learning Resource

After our initial investigating the project has found that the existing formats are too specific for their delivery and in many cases that mobilisation of existing resources is too difficult to adapt to a huge variety of mobile devices. To provide a consistent user experience content needs to flow like water, changing its shape to match every presentation channel. In 2013 the project aims to address this by developing a proof of concept that would allow the development of adaptive educational resources that can be published for a range of platforms and purposes.


Leave a comment

Project Report

I am pleased to have added the 2012 Project Report to the blog! The report is available via the MLEARN 2012 REPORT link at the top of the page. Once you’re in the report is navigable via the links in the right sidebar.

The report has taken sometime to put together as it is a detailed account of the three main components of the project – Build, Measure & Learn. The report follows the same structure. Build discusses the work done by the project, Measure details the  feedback and survey data, and Learn which is an attempt to quantify the broader experience of the project into key lessons.

The full report is available to download in full or as sections Build,Measure & Learn. The report is also available as a collections of Tweets ready to share. The report is also available on Slideshare to improve access and simplify dissemination. Please feel free to pass on and circulate the report with your peers and social networks. We would love to get any feedback so feel free to get in touch – leave a comment or find us on Twitter @csumlearn.

The report will hopefully add to the conversation and broad questions around the role of mobile technology in education and the challenges and opportunities that it brings.

On Slideshare you will also find the Project’s Guide to iPads and Mobile Devices which are a handy resource for any institution looking at finding out more about mobile technology and its implementation.

Leave a comment

Using mobile to create an active classroom

Mobile is the most ubiquitous technology available in the world today. More people around the globe have access to mobile than radio, TV or cars. These pocket sized computing devices open up a range of uses to engage with students, remotely and in the classroom.  A web enabled phone opens up a range of applications to engage with students and make them active participants in the classroom rather than passive consumers. There are a range of Audience Response Systems, (or Classroom or Student Response Systems) that allow students to interact and participate in a range of ways, from answering questions, providing feedbacks or generating content. Lets have a quick look of the types of software out there.

These are free options but come with some limitations and caveats around class size and data transparency:

Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. There is a limit of of 50 students that can be logged in a one time, but for many classes this will be adequate. Engage in quick multiple choice questions, exit questionnaires, quizzes, games and get feedback and reports instantaneously.

mQlicker is another free Audience Response System. It has many of the same features as Socrative but a few extras that could be quite helpful including unlimited audience size, easy participation using session key or permalink, results displayed in PowerPoint slides with live updates and can be displayed as harts: vertical bar, horizontal bar or pie charts, table of responses, interactive ‘sticky notes’ or word cloud. The user interface isn’t as simple as Socrative and seems more set up for anonymous reporting.

There is also a number of commercial software options that requires payment by the institution or student:

 Turning Technologies has developed the ‘clicker’ market and provides these and now web based data collection solutions for learning environments. The response technology can create interactive presentations but also could used to deliver assessment. It offers multiple-choice, alphanumeric, multiple response and essay question types.

Top Hat Monocle is a web-based clicker and online homework tool. Students can use any device to participate in class or for homework use. Questions can be open ended discussions and part of interactive demos or incorporated into presentation software, such as PowerPoint.

Lecture Tools, recently acquired by Echo360, is a quite expansive suite of tools you can use to engage your students. It provides the ability to present Interactive lectures, assess student performance and respond with a web browser or via SMS. Students can use the system to take notes associated with slides. Ask questions as they arise and deliver real-time feedback to instructors during class. Particiaption can work via laptop or cellphone to  or using the iPad app. This is probably the most full featured suite here and with a roadmap that includes integration with the Echo360 lecture recording system could provide a robust and expansive system for use on campus or off for truly blended and flexible study.

Finally, GoClass is a cloud enabled teaching application for tablet devices that redefines the boundaries of computing in the classroom. Connect with your student, customize and fine-tune your lesson plans on the fly, engage students in new ways and continuously evaluate their understanding while you are in class.

Had experiences with the software? Let us know how you went and what you think? Something missing? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

Leave a comment

A bit of a break…

There’s been a considerable break since the last blog post and with a new year I decided to dust off the blog, update the look and start posting again!

2012: A Year in Review

2012 was a big year for the project – which is the most notable and credible reason for the lack of blog posts. We took a lot on in those 12 months and most of we did was completely new to the team – new ways of seeing, doing, reacting, working, communicating and in the end succeeding (most of the time). Lets have a look at some of those things:

  • 3 student iPad trials with 60+ students spread across 4 campuses and studying via distance education.This was spread across 3 different discipline areas -IT, medical imaging and education. 
  • Trials through the library and loaning devices, particularly to students on practicum.
  • A range of trials for teaching including; apps in Nursing for simulation,  demonstrating mathematics and across the science disciplines – community health, medical imaging and environmental science.
  • Trials of iPads with accessibility and writing students were conducted and the iPod Touch was trialled for the development of digital media.
  • There was continuos development of a web application for  CSU subject outline access which is being developed to run across multiple platforms and devices. It has been developed to leverage existing systems to create a new user optimised access point.
  • Extensive exploration of mobile develop and delivery of content was conducted.
  • Training and documentation was developed throughout the year.
  • There was extensive engagement in the development of a new ICT and mobile strategies for the university.

The range, depth and breadth of effort required to complete this body of work has stopped us from actually documenting and promoting it. It’s resulted in a long silence, not because nothing is happening – but too much.

2013: The Year Ahead

So in 2013 we want to rectify the silence – not to fill it with noise – but to start the dialogue. We plan to open up our development process, share our thoughts and ideas. This blog will be integral to that – but it may also be superseded by something else as there are some significant plans for 2013:

  1. Device Trials – Continuation of the device trials to provide real world examples, feedback and data.

    The trials to date have already provided an authentic experience of mobile learning practice in a variety of discipline areas and with different student cohorts. The pilots provide a clear way to experiement, develop and test mobile technology in our current environment.
  2. Development and delivery of mobile content – Investigation into the development and delivery of content to mobile platforms using a future proof system that can redeploy and transform content across a number of publishing points – apps, ebooks and online.

    Native apps provide another channel for students to learn and interact with their current devices. This capitalises on the ubiquity of mobile technology and in a sense takes the learning to them. A Single Source Publishing system will allow CSU resources to be reused and transformed across a range of platforms, applications and contexts. This will allow content to be more portable and provide a flexible solution for students. This work can demonstrate a tangible solution for disparate learning resources currently given to students online, in modules and print. A Single Source Publishing system can simplify workflow and reduce development and publishing turnaround time.
  3. Central CSU Mobile Resource – Development and dissemination of information to the CSU community relating to mobile technology through a central online resource.

    The resource developed will assist in answering some of the questions being asked around the impact and implications on the learning and teaching aspects on CSU Students, Staff, IT Infrastructure and Systems, Divisions and Suport Staff, Sustainability, Access in the Regions, and Pedagogy. The resource will also assist in answering a number of larger questions around the cost/benefits for the deployment of mobile devices, the available provisioning modes available for staff and students and the issues and risks involved with mobile technology.

So stay tuned! Feel free ask questions or contact the team at anytime.

Leave a comment

iPad Pros & Cons

My good friends over in ACU recently had their Spring Open House. One of the presentations at the event discussed their iPad trials that have now been running over 3 semesters.

So what are the pros and cons of 100% digital class?


  • True mobile learning device
  • Increase student engagement
  • Collaborative learning tool
  • Potential student productivity
  • Potential student efficiency
  • Improves student technology competency
  • Reduces faculty back end effort


  • Technology reliance
  • Motivation to change
  • Increased front end effort
  • Learning curve
  • Limited capacity
    •  Data entry examples
    • Manipulation of files

Here’s the slide