eCampus of the Month: Abilene Christian University

“It is our hope that our students will become leaders for innovative practice on their future campuses,” said Dana Hood, Teacher Education Department chair at ACU.

Kevin Roberts, the university’s chief planning officer, said education officials’ use of mobile learning devices on campus demonstrate how universally accepted the tools have become among ACU faculty and students in recent years.

“[Mobile learning] has so ingrained itself in the different cultures in the different departments in the university,” he said. “And that’s indicative of how flexible and usable this technology is.”

Using grant money for mobile learning

ACU on April 12 was awarded $250,000 in Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grants, doled out by a host of organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, EDUCAUSE, and The League For Innovation in the Community College, among other groups. NGLC is a $20 million grant program.

ACU’s mobile learning initiative, known as Connected, will use the grant money to demonstrate the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at two institutions, Del Mar College and California University of Pennsylvania.

Both colleges have low-income student populations that have a high risk of dropping out of school before finishing a degree program, according to ACU’s announcement.

“To provide new methods of learning to students who otherwise would drop out or fail is precisely the foundation of ACU’s mobile learning initiative,” said Dwayne Harapnuik, director of faculty enrichment at ACU.

ACU will use the grant over the next year and a half to integrate mobile learning tools into courses such as biology, zoology, and botany.