The Mobile Learning Initiative
AU students use iPads in courses from biology—where they make stop-action animated films to describe biological processes—to Christian studies, where they use an iPad app for in-class, collaborative research to deepen their understanding of the Bible.
Anderson University's Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI) revamps courses to enable professors to use iPad tools and apps to enhance lessons and equip students to create projects that demonstrate their understanding of course material. The initiative provides all incoming freshmen with the latest version of an iPad to use for classes and to keep after graduation.
Anderson pioneered the widespread, university use of tablet computers because today's students expect instant, digital access to information and people. Recognized in U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges rankings as both an up-and-coming university and one with "an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching" we see the Mobile Learning Initiative as a way to leverage technology to advance teaching and learning here.
What Does Taking a Class With an iPad Look Like?
Through Anderson's MLI Fellows program, each year AU professors develop ways to teach their courses with the iPad's mobile technology and apps. Here's how profs are tailoring a few AU courses:
Introduction to the Bible (CHR 105)
The professor places the bulk of his voice-annotated, PowerPoint slides online so students listen to his lectures before class. This placement of course content online frees up class time that students use to complete collaborative research with their iPads. For example, instead of having students passively listen to the professor explain 15 salvation-related revelations in scripture, students pair up to research the 15 revelations with their iPads and share their findings in class.
The Mobile Learning Initiative also enables students to use the iPad app Glo Bible: An Interactive Bible as their main textbook. This app gives students access to an interactive atlas, videos, virtual tours, and other aids for studying the Bible.
Principles of Biology I and 2 (BIO 110 and 111)
Gone are the days when biology students had to take turns peering into a microscope to see a slide set up to describe a cell. At Anderson, profs position wireless microscopes in front of their specimens, and students get a close-up look on their iPads, whether they're in the back of the class or across campus. In another biology project, students use iPads to create stop-animation models of the cell division processes of mitosis and meiosis.
Other ways AU professors and students use iPads in courses include:
Students create and collaborate to produce content in the form of wikis, blogs, apps and podcasts and access it outside class from any location.
Demonstrations and Animation
Students take private, online music lessons through FaceTime and Skype. Professors record and distribute stop-frame animations for in-class and online instruction. Students download e-texts with 3-D animation, modeling software and embedded video.
Greater Student Engagement and Success
Ninety-six percent of freshmen who took our introduction to the Bible course that was tailored for iPad use, believe using the iPad improved their learning of the course material.
And AU professors agree.
AU professors who taught courses redesigned for the iPad say students in their classes were more excited about learning. And almost eight percent fewer freshmen earned a D or F in Introduction to the Bible during the first year the course had been redesigned, compared to the previous year when it was taught without an iPad.
AU's leaders say the Mobile Learning Initiative represents the university's progression towards using technology to make the most of the learning experience. The hybrid model of putting course content online—as we do in courses designed for the iPad—allows professors to transform classes into labs where students can gain a deeper understanding of subjects through discussion and collaborative work. School officials expect that nearly a third of all AU courses will be redesigned for mobile technology in the coming years.
In addition to the Bible and biology classes, AU courses that have been redesigned for iPads include:
English 101 and 102
Pathophysiology (Nursing 310)
Art Foundations (ART 105)
Christian Worldview (CHR 305).