January 20, 2018

Call for book chapters on mobile learning

mobile learning St. Edmunds


Title: Advancing Higher Education with Mobile Learning Technologies: Cases, Trends, and Inquiry-Based Methods

The focus of this book will be on assessing the effectiveness of mobile technologies within 21st century classrooms and possibly the Constructivist/inquiry-based learning environments on the teaching and learning processes and outcomes.


The book will be edited by Jared Keengwe, Ph.D., University of North Dakota, USA and Marian Maxfield, Ph.D., Ashland University, USA


More details can be found here.

Inquiries and submissions can be forwarded electronically (Word document) to:

Prof. Sagini Keengwe,
Department of Teaching & Learning
University of North Dakota
231 Centennial Drive, Stop 7189
Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA
Tel.: 701.777.3189
Email: editedbook.keengwe@gmail.com


Potential contributors are invited to submit a 2-3 pages chapter proposal outlining the proposed topic and/or issue to be discussed on or before September 15, 2013.

Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by October 15, 2013 about the status of their proposals and will be sent chapter guidelines.

Full chapters are expected on or before December 15, 2013.

So get writing!

Thanks to ACCP/CAID for providing this information.

Mobile learning for women and girls in Africa

Zelezny-Green, R. (2013) Boosting mobile learning potential for women and girls in Africa: lingering considerations E-learning Africa News Portal, February 14

This is an interesting summary of five major mobile learning initiatives have been implemented in Africa that sought to directly benefit women and girls, or which included women and girls and provided some evidence of benefits to them. A key conclusion:

The need to involve men and boys in mobile learning activities designed to benefit women and girls. Gender-themed mobile learning projects sometimes focus on supporting women and girls only, often to the detriment of the project’s sustainability if awareness-raising is also not done with the men and boys that live in the communities where projects are implemented.

The article is well worth reading in full.

Research and development in online learning from the Open University of Catalonia

Media TIC, home of the eLearn Centre

Two weeks ago I visited two open universities (the UK OU and the Open University of Catalonia) and a research lab of the Institute of Education at the University of London. Full reports of the visits will be appearing later this month on the Ontario Online Learning Portal for Faculty and Instructors managed by Contact North. These reports are looked at from the perspective of key ‘game-changers’ in online learning, and provide an overall picture of each institution.

However, I want to use my blog to discuss in more detail the research into online learning that is being conducted in these institutions, because as a result of these visits I want to question why here in Canada we are so disorganized and frankly ineffective in the way we conduct research in this area, despite having several world leaders in online learning research and development.

First though I will provide a series of posts on the research and development being done at the three European institutions we visited. The first post is on research at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), where there are two research and development units as well as a program of innovation specifically on online learning.

the eLearn Centre.

The director is Albert Sangrà, a former colleague of mineThis unit has 10 full time researchers and 134 researchers across the world (including some from Canada) affiliated or collaborating on research with staff from the eLearn Centre.

The time factor

The eLearn Centre decided to focus on a four year program of research on the time factor in online learning. The four year period ends this month. This study covers topics as diverse as learning rhythms, the timing of curricula and courses, student time management, and the effect of timing on feedback and learning. The research team leader is Elena Barberà.

Research students doing dissertations as part of their graduate studies in the eLearn Centre, and affiliated researchers, have been asked to include a least a question on the time factor when collecting data and analysing their results, whatever the topic of their thesis or dissertation. As a result the centre has been able to produce a six monthly journal on the time factor in online learning.

There are now five issues of this journal published to date, with 28 different papers published, covering the time factor in assessment, collaborative learning, time management in networked learning, and the time factor in online teaching and learning in maths and physics.

Open educational resources

The eLearn Centre is a partner with several other European universities in a European Commission project called OERtest, whose objectives are:

  • creation of a single portal for accessing Euro-centric OER content
  • development of quality standards, assessment guidelines, financial models, curricular provisions and any other administrative requirements necessary to allow for HEIs within the EU to assess learning received exclusively through OER
  • assessment of the feasibility for EU HEIs to offer assessment services for OER
  • establishment of a European network to promote and follow the development of OER and Open Educational Practices within the EHEA.

eLearn centre staff are also engaged in another European Commission project, OporTunidad. The project intends to foster the adoption and pilot of open educational practices, and open educational resources), at an institutional level, in Latin American countries. The focus here is on institutional strategies that promote the adoption and use of OEPs and OERs. Contact at UOC: Lourdes Guàrdia


Another focus of research is on e-portfolios. The centre has taken a lead role in developing a Spanish national community of practice on the use of e-portfolios in post-secondary education, with 14 institutional members, with a focus particularly on the use of e-portfolios for assessment. Staff from the eLearn centre are also particpating in another project funded by the European Commission, Europortfolio. The aim is to create a Learning Community Portal as a space to publish, share and review data and resources on ePortfolio practices and technologies across Europe. Contact at UOC: Lourdes Guàrdia


eLearn Centre staff disseminate their research and experience through establishing a community of practice for UOC faculty for training in how best to use OERs and e-portfolios, as well as drawing on the research for more formal teaching such as in UOC’s Masters in e-Learning.

The eLearn centre also worked in collaboration with the New Media Consortium to produce the Iberoamerican edition of the Horizon Report 2010, which specifically looked at the Spanish/Latin American context, and has an invited visiting scholars program, and a program for inviting institutions to visit.

In addition to its research, the eLearn Centre also provides training in e-learning through its Doctorate program, and its Masters, Diplomas and Certificates in Education and ICTs.

I have touched on only part of the work of the eLearn Centre. There are 10 other research groups associated with the eLearn Centre. More details can be found at: http://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/elearncenter/index.html

A 'xarcuteria' on Carrer Casanova, Barcelona

The Office of Learning Technologies

Its mission is ‘to create the learning environments of the 21st Century for the new digital generations and global citizens.’ It has a staff of 42, and its director is Magì Almirall. This is an educational technology development group. This department develops a wide variety of tools and applications for use in the university. In 2011 it was working on a total of 38 projects.

A major focus at the moment is the development of ‘My mobile UOC’, that enables students to access their learning on any kind of devices, websites and other environments such as SmartTV or Chrome Operating System. Several of the projects focus on helping students with disabilities, by making the online environment more accessible.

The Office has developed a number of social media applications and tools, such as microblogging tools and small group online videoconferencing facilities, as well as augemented reality tools for creating virtual worlds.

All these tools are integrated or interoperable with the university’s in-house developed Virtual Campus, an open source, combined learning management and administrative system. Once the tools developed by the office become adopted and operational, the responsibility for maintaining them passes to the Learning Services division. However, the Office is also responsible for the overall design of the university portal and the community services that are run through the portal.

The Office of Learning Technologies reports to the Vice Rector, Technology, who manages a fund of around 100,000 euros a year for innovative projects that are bid for internally through an RFP process. The theme this year has been mobile learning, including the development of apps for learning.


The Open University of Catalonia is a fully online university with more than 60,000 students and an annual operating budget of 100 million euros ($125 million). This has enabled it to set up these R&D units at a sufficient scale of operation that they can take on substantial projects that will have direct impact on the operation of the university, both pedagogically and technically. Given that both these units are relatively new, their influence on the external world of online learning is likely to grow, despite language and cultural differences.

A Modernista building on the Rambla Catalunya



Why Canadians lag in mobile learning

Steinberg, S. (2012) Mobilicity research suggests smartphones play increasing role in education Mobilicity Newsroom, August 9

A survey conducted for the Canadian mobile phone company, Mobilicity found that

  • 66 per cent of Canadians would use a mobile phone to conduct online research anywhere, anytime;
  • 46 per cent would download mobile apps to help stay organized;
  • 41 per cent would record lectures and tutorial sessions; and
  • 42 per cent would coordinate school and social activities if they were a student.
  • the majority of Canadians (56 per cent) think that mobile phones are an invaluable tool for students.

However, the survey also found that Canadians consider themselves poor mobile consumers:

  • 19 per cent of Canadian mobile phone users would give themselves a near-failing ‘D’ grade saying they think they are “paying too much”.
  • only 17 per cent of Canadians give themselves an ‘A’ grade for having done their homework and having the best plan.

Mobilicity suggest the following uses for mobile learning:

  • Do real-time research at school in the palm of their hand
  • Record lectures and tutorial sessions to avoid missing key study points
  • Collaborate on group projects virtually using cloud-based applications, such as Dropbox and Google Docs
  • Photograph instructor notes or drawings for reference and/or transcription
  • Tweet peers using a class #hashtag to create a discussion and clarify any confusion with the professor.


This is a survey by a new Canadian mobile company seeking to break into a market dominated by three large telcos (Bell, Rogers, Telus). Canadians have traditionally paid high mobile tariffs, especially for data, compared with most OECD countries. Mobilicity’s survey co-incidentally (!) comes just after they have announced a $25 a month unlimited data, talk and text plan that undercuts most plans currently available. Obviously, the cheaper mobile phone costs are, the more likely students are to use them.

However, another reason may also be that most institutions are not designing for mobile learning. Mobilicity itself assumes that mobiles will reinforce classroom teaching, rather than looking at designing courses in such a way that tools such as smartphones and tablets can be used to do learning outside the classroom, through project work, online research, and digital data collection (photos, videos, audio).

So good for Mobilicity in helping bring down costs; now the baton passes to us as educational designers.

Apps or web sites for publishing on mobile devices?

Pontin, J. (2010) Why publishers don’t like apps, Technology Review, May 7

This article is sub-titled: The future of media on mobile devices isn’t with applications but with the Web. Although focused on ‘traditional’ publishing such as magazines and newspapers, there may be lessons here for academic institutions that have online programs with large amounts of text and graphics.


It could be argued that in education we should no longer be designing large quantities of text and graphics, but  instead should consider the design of online courses from the outset with mobile devices in mind that take advantage not just of the ‘linkyness’ of mobile devices, but also their unique technological ‘affordances’ that may well include special apps.

On the other hand most institutions have ‘legacy’ text-based courses that cannot be redesigned from scratch for cost reasons. This article may be highly relevant for making such courses available on mobile devices.

Well worth a read, but I’m not altogether convinced by Pontin’s argument (except for his criticism of Apple’s digital publishing system) – what’s your experience in porting online courses to mobile devices?

Thanks to Matt Bury for directing me to this via LinkedIn