In a fast-paced, interactive session, Phil Rothwell, Learning & Technology Developer at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) took the audience along the university journey to discover how students approach mobile learning. Not only was it ‘standing room only,’ but it was so popular, that people happily sat where they could, to learn more.

As much of the world’s population increasingly conducts a significant portion of its life on mobile devices, academia must explore new and sustainable ways of teaching and engaging students through these devices. As Mr. Rothwell explained, “Mobile learning is not about mobile nor learning, as previously understood, but rather, it’s part of a new mobile conception of society.” He continued that, “Mobility can be divided into 3 areas: mobility of tech, mobility of learning, and mobility of the learner.”

LJMU uses Blackboard Learn 9.1, which works well for professors and students. Bb Student and Mobile Learn are also quite pervasive at the university, and students are taking control of their teaching and learning through their devices.  With an ultimate goal of broadening the students’ academic experience, the university conducted a survey, real-time with over 3,600 students, utilising Responseware and the Blackboard Enterprise Survey Tool to execute it. The concept of the survey was to capture ‘Mobile Moments,’ the brief windows (~30 seconds) in which students complete small tasks pertaining to their studies, while using a mobile device.

Mr. Rothwell demonstrated to the session attendees how the survey worked, by having them also participate in a fun, live, mini Responseware survey, in order to get a feel for what the students actually experienced while completing their survey.

The survey was enabled by partnership between LJMU’s Teaching & Learning Academy and IT Services and was created using Blackboard tools. This way, the UI was already familiar to the students, and authentication had already been granted.

The students polled were geographically wide-ranging – from 77 yards from campus, being the closest – to 420 miles away, being the furthest. They were asked about their current and future device use/purchase, and were assessed on their Digital Literacy.

The results were intriguing, yet invited more questions as to next steps:

  • There was no real correlation between distance & digital competency and engagement
  • Ubiquity of smartphones is here, but laptops still rank highly – especially when completing homework assignments in ‘traditional’ settings, such as home and the library
  • The Bb Student App is used the most by the respondents, and is central to Mobile Moments
  • Students clearly desire flexibility from their hardware and software, which the university must be mindful of when planning infrastructure
  • There are issues surrounding ‘Bring Your Own Spare Battery’
  • What is the scope for wearables in Teaching & Learning?

According to Mr. Rothwell, the survey results suggest that Mobile Moments have a place in academia and there is definite potential for Mobile Moments to be a meaningful concept, within Teaching & Learning. However, a hot question remains: ‘what is the best way to plan and implement them?’

Click here to download Phil’s presentation.

“Mobile moments: how modern students make learning their own” is one of the many success stories presented at the Teaching and Learning Conference EMEA 2016.

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