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Course Transformation Using Mobile Technology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Topics in Civil ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.347.1 - 9.347.12

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Paper Authors

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C. Wayne Unsell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2549

Course Transformation Using Mobile Technology

C. Wayne Unsell Indiana-Purdue University Ft. Wayne

Abstract A course transformation grant was awarded by the university to implement the PC Tablet, wireless access, and WebCT in a senior level soils and foundations class for the fall semester 2003. The course is housed in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering Technology (CAET), the School of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science (ETCS), Indiana-Purdue University Ft. Wayne (IPFW). The grant was a university “pilot” project as a first step in investigating more widespread use of mobile technology across the university curriculum. Each of the 18 students enrolled in the course received a COMPAQ Tablet for their use for the semester. The instructor was also provided a Tablet. Seven specific transformation initiatives were identified, and seven specific impacts on student learning were predicted with the use of mobile technology. The project assessment was defined by a series of detailed surveys throughout the semester, culminating in an extensive student survey that measured the impact of the Tablet on student learning. As the semester evolved, other issues related to the use of the Tablet were identified and became part of the final evaluation.

This paper presents the results of the course transformation project assessment and makes recommendations related to the use of the PC Tablet for this particular course, for the department, for the school, and for the university community in general. Many issues related to effective implementation of mobile technology were discovered which will prove invaluable to university administrators as they evaluate potential models for more widespread implementation.

Introduction Mobile technology represents the latest evolution of personal computing. These devices include notebooks, tablets, and PDA’s. Wireless access is usually associated with use of mobile technology. The university administration and a core group of faculty believe it is necessary to integrate some form or multiple forms of this technology into the undergraduate education experience. A committee was formed to study the implementation of mobile technology in the classroom and the use of the wireless network to enhance the learning environment. The committee recommended that the level of integration would be approached using a three phase plan. The first phase would use a select group of individual courses representing various schools in the university that would integrate mobile technology. Based on results from the first phase, the second phase would integrate mobile technology in select departments or schools. The third phase would include the entire university in the use of mobile technology. In all phases, each student involved would be required to have a mobile computing device to be either leased or purchased. The exception would be in the first phase where the university would provide the devices for student use. An important consideration is that the specific mobile technology has not been specified.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Unsell, C. W. (2004, June), Course Transformation Using Mobile Technology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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