mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

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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.


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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.

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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.

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2012: The Year of the iPad!

So far 2012 has been a fantastic year! We now have the development team all on board – Tyswan, Jared and Rod! All our equipment has arrived or is enroute – which includes over 80 iPads. At the moment I am surrounded by them! We have a mix of WiFi and 3G models that we will be rolling out at the end of the month. So development and testing will be in full swing from next week!

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A new team in the new year!

Well the end of 2011 is almost here. Tomorrow afternoon the university shuts down for the holidays. It’s been a big year! A lot to look back on and we’re ending this year on a high note.

I welcomed our first new addition to the project team yesterday. Tyswan Slater joins us as a Graphic and Interface Designer and in the new year the rest of the team will join us – Roderick Haggith as the User Interface Developer and Jared Hilliers who will also work as a Graphic & Interface Designer.

It’s a big milestone for the project! It’s the start of the next stage and signals the start of our work towards mobilising the University.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s worked with the project and wish you the best over the holidays and into the new year!

See you in 2012!

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mLearn will be at CSUEd

For everyone at CSU – the project will be making an appearance at CSUEd. Philip and myself will be presenting Mobile learning at CSU: Increasing flexibility for our students in building 754 room 103 at 1.35pm on Wednesday.

I’ll also be set up in the learning hub hallway during the breaks if you want to catch up with me, have a chat or find out more about the project!

Hope to see you there!