Tech-savvy university grows mobile learning with $1.8M award

The school’s experimentation with mobile technology on campus continued in January when professors from the political science and journalism programs assembled 30 students to gauge reaction during President Obama’s first State of the Union speech.

The anonymous student responses encouraged nearly complete participation throughout the barrage of questions posed to students on their Apple devices, ACU officials said. As faculty who teach online classes have reported, student participation is consistently higher in a virtual environment than it is in pressure-packed face-to-face classrooms.

“It gave us an indication that a lot of students don’t want to get into the debate, but they want people to know how they feel about a certain subject,” said Dennis Marquardt, ACU’s education technology manager, adding that participation “exceeded” university officials’ expectations: “There’s definitely an element of conflict in there.”

ACU also made mobile-learning headlines in April when the university’s student newspaper, The Optimist, announced it would make its content readable on the Apple iPad, making it one of the first student papers available on the popular eReader. The university bought 20 iPads this spring for faculty members to research applications that can be used in the classroom.


Abilene Christian University