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Makerere University, Uganda

At Makerere University in Uganda, students can receive e-mails in the form of SMS messages, containing information such as upcoming test dates and reminders of assignment deadlines. SAIDE (2008)

University of Pretoria, South Africa

At the University of Pretoria, mobile phones are being used to ask learners questions via SMS and provide feedback on their answers, for learners to phone in to listen to mini-lectures, and to direct learners to specific resources for tasks via SMS. SAIDE (2008).

University of the Free State, South Africa

Geyer (2008), a Medical School lecturer, reported on a course in which he put all his lectures for a first year course into MP3 format. Learners were given the choice to either listen to the audio files on the university’s computers, or to download the files onto their cell phones. They were required to listen to the lectures before coming to class.

The face-to-face sessions were all turned into tutorials, so that learners had many more opportunities to ask questions than before.

The pass rate on this course increased dramatically and learners stated that they appreciated having the opportunity to listen to the podcasts in their own time and at their own pace. (See section on asynchronous communication for more on podcasting.)

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

According to Le Roux (2008), students on a course in computer programming were given mobile handheld devices (PDAs) with internet access, to enable them to carry out programming assignments without needing to use the university’s computers. Students reported feeling more motivated because of the flexibility afforded by the PDAs, even though the PDAs had to be shared.

Teachers also reported feeling more motivated in this study.

Clearly this example could not easily be replicated, since it was based on the funded provision of PDAs to learners. Nevertheless, it shows an innovative approach that may be applied in other cases where institutional funding is available.

Reflection

According to Le Roux (2008), students on a course in computer programming were given mobile handheld devices (PDAs) with internet access, to enable them to carry out programming assignments without needing to use the university’s computers. Students reported feeling more motivated because of the flexibility afforded by the PDAs, even though the PDAs had to be shared.

Teachers also reported feeling more motivated in this study.

Clearly this example could not easily be replicated, since it was based on the funded provision of PDAs to learners. Nevertheless, it shows an innovative approach that may be applied in other cases where institutional funding is available.

References

Geyer, Hendrik. 2008. To podcast or not to podcast? Students’ feedback on a different learning experience in Histology. ECEL Conference Proceedings

Le Roux, S. 2008. Implications of utilising mobile handheld devices in teaching undergraduate programming learners in a developing country. Available at http://tinyurl.com/qkk7r4

SAIDE. 2008. Using Mobile Technology for Learner Support in Open Schooling. Project Report for the Commonwealth of Learning.