Accommodating Mobile Learning in College Programs
Mobile devices and applications are expected to have a significant impact on teaching and learning in the near future. Yet colleges and universities are currently facing severe budget constraints and discretionary funding is restricted for new initiatives. The question addressed in this paper is: “What strategy should an institution of higher learning with limited resources use in adapting the capabilities of mobile devices to benefit its academic programs?” To help answer this question, students were surveyed to identify their perceptions on the importance of a selected set of mobile learning functions, their experience with using those functions, their recommendation for a mobile learning adoption strategy, and information on the particular mobile devices they possess. The recommended strategy was “pick and choose special capabilities to develop” with the selected functions being (1) Receive alerts and reminders about assignments and appointments concerning the course being taken; (2) Communicate individually with faculty, an advisor, or other students using voice, email, or text messaging; (3) Post or reply to items in a poll, discussion board, or other application; and (4) Download and review lesson materials from a course being taken. Other recommendations included techniques for faculty and student support services as well as institutional policies for limiting models of mobile devices for use in courses, making online courseware for laptops and desktops the same as mobile learning courseware, and making the opportunity for mobile learning optional.