Mobile Learning: It Takes a Village

Robin Robinson, Director of Education Technology and Support
Clair Waterbury, Instructional Technologist
Framingham State University

Backchannel – http://todaysmeet.com/bbvillage

The Background

About Framingham:

  • 175 years in 2014
  • 20 miles West of Boston (metro West)
  • 6506 students – 4489 Undergrads, 2017 Grad Students
  • Blackboard Users since 2000
  • Liberal Arts College
  • Undergrad Laptop Requirement started in 1998
  • State University
  • Faculty Union

The need was clear, students were bringing more mobile devices to campus, and faculty were beginning to ask to use mobile devices (iPads). One biology instructor wanted to use tablets and mobile technology to be more green in her courses. She wanted to have iPads to use in class, with apps on them.

The Approach at Framingham:

  1. Assembled a team
  2. Create a process
  3. Identify resources
  4. Build support (from faculty, upper management, …)
  5. Define policies and procedures

Mobile Task Force:

  • Operations: Policy, Procedure and Support (define what a mobile device is, at Framingham it was a kindle, Android, iOS Device, and Windows Device)
  • Our Mobile Footprint
  • Teaching and Learning Environment

The Village:

The Village at Framingham

The Approach: Innovative Grants

  • Develop technology proficiency
  • Design new instructional strategies
  • Improve teaching effectiveness
  • Increase student learning
  • Limited resources

Success Stories:

  • Community Building (cross departmental communication and collaboration)
  • Integration into the Curriculum
  • Mobile Task Force
  • Tablet Breakfasts (would sit over breakfast with faculty and tablets, personal connections happened and so did sharing of Apps)
  • Innovation Grants

Mobile Presence Currently:

  • The students adopted Bb Mobile Learn before the University did.
  • FSU Go Guide
  • FSUgo – mobile web application

Initiatives:

  • Art Education: Art teacher students will learn how to teach art with mobile devices (tablets).
  • Computer Animation: The goal was to have students do more work with their mobile devices to animate. The Mac lab is very confining, there are 5 Macs and 10 students.
  • Social Media: Victorian Literature, engaged students in victorian literature by using tablets in creative ways.
  • Graphic Novels: Original goal was to have students create iBooks in iPads. It is necessary to use the Mac to create iBooks which then can be viewed on iPads.
  • Student Engagement: Faculty Champion

The Details

iPad Pilot 2012-2013: Mobile Engagement

Fall Semester:

  • Hardcopy text
  • eBook on laptop (only a few were originally willing to use the eBook on their laptop)
  • eBook on iPad
  • Free Apps only
  • Pearson Platform

Spring Semester:

  • Instructor selected iBook
  • Institution purchased apps, Apple Suite
  • Text on CourseSmart
  • Took volunteers, everyone had an iPad in the classroom, true 1-to-1 experience

The Results:

  • Blackboard Mobile University License was purchased
  • Evernote Electronic Lab notebook
    • a faculty member purchased a one year subscription to Evernote which allowed her to share out notebooks. Pictures, videos, and images can all be added to notebooks.
  • Mobile Task Force
  • Creation on Web App: FSU Go

Tablet Grant 2013-2014: Mobile Engagement Comparison

In this grant, during the first semester, 1/2 of the students were given iPads and 1/2 were given Lenovo ThinkPad Tablets. The second semester, they allowed students to choose, and the majority of students opted to use iPads. The other technology used:

  • Camtasia
  • Poll Everywhere
  • Dropbox
  • Blackboard Mobile
  • Overdrive, links to the library
  • Study Blue flash card creation, a free web service which has an app for students to create flash cards, or find already created ones to use.

Results:

  • Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner in 2012
  • EDUCAUSE Review Online

Graphic Novel Grant 2013-2014: Creating for Mobile

  • The first semester, the faculty member attempted to have his students use iBook author to create graphic novels. It was very difficult since iBook Author is built more for creating textbooks and not highly graphical books such as graphic novels.
  • Based on the feedback from the first semester, the faculty member used InDesign – Foliotool in CS6.

Social Media Grant 2013-2014: Mobile in Victorian Literature

  • Technology Used
    • iPad
    • Google + Communities
    • Classroom Salon
    • Puffin (browser)
    • Blackboard Mobile
  • Use of Dynamic Annotation
    • Classroom Salon, allows you to annotate over text.
    • Public and Private Annotation
    • Tagging
    • Collaboration with Carnegie Mellon
    • Commenting
    • Analytics
    • Personalized with Avatars
  • Uses of Google Communities (private group)
    • Role playing, adopting Victorian personas to use in their private Google + Community
    • Scavenger Hunt
    • Hashtags for assignments
    • Victorian Tea

What’s Next, Academic Year 2013-2014

  • Art Education: iPads for student teachers
  • Communication Arts: Computer Animation Techniques
  • English: Victorian Communities – continue to refine social media
  • Biology: lecture capture piloting Tegrity and Panopto and on-demand polling

Lessons Learned

  • Assessment is essential
  • Collaboration and Communication is key
  • Share the support
  • Embed sharing and support in Blackboard
  • Learn from others, share with others
  • BYOD is the reality
  • Students adopted Blackboard Mobile Learn (no prompting)
  • Convenient
  • Not a replacement for the laptop, yet
  • Opportunities to innovate

Make it Yours

  • There is an App for That
  • Make it fun! (Table Breakfasts…)
  • Innovation Grants (There are grants available out there! Start small…)
  • It will take a village.

Birds of a Feather Session: Designing Courses in Blackboard 9.1

The new platform is so flexible! You can name items anything and place them in any order on the navigation…but at what price? Is it alright to allow faculty the ability to call their test area whatever they want or are some standards a good idea? Some ideas from the crowd:

  • Create a Branding Guide, sort of like Best Practices for your institution to keep some things similar from course to course to make a student’s experience from course to course, semester to semester a good one
  • Create a video or document that you include in the an Orientation or Course Information section to introduce your students to the layout of your course and how you name things, and what you have put in the various buttons, folders, and learning modules.
  • Develop an institutional (departmental, program, school) template that locks down some certain things in Blackboard for consistency.

Learning Modules. There have been many comments at the conference about how when using learning modules in Blackboard 9.x, when you go to an assessment or a discussion, you are thrown out of the sequence of the learning module. One work around for this from a design standpoint, is to have links to these areas open in new windows so that their spot in the learning module is still open. A second option is to use the course link to send students to these various objects.

Customized Icons or actually images added in the visual editor. Note that on the Blackboard road map for sometime next year, this icon situation is supposed to be addressed.



It was great to hear all of the discussion in the room, and to hear Kathy Seville from Marshall University! I’ll be interested to get more in to course development and design at GRCC and learn how our culture uses Blackboard 9.1.