Deployment of Mobile Learning Course Materials to Android Powered Mobile Devices

Deployment of Mobile Learning Course Materials to Android Powered Mobile Devices

Lee Chao (University of Houston—Victoria, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jdet.2012070101
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The objective of this article is to facilitate mobile teaching and learning by providing an alternative course material deployment method. This article suggests a course material deployment platform for small universities or individual instructors. Different from traditional course material deployment methods, the method discussed deploys course materials by using services provided by Android Market. After comparing the traditional course material deployment and the alternative deployment, the author presents strategies to take advantage of Android Market in delivering course materials to mobile devices. Through a case study, this article illustrates the application of these strategies in deploying a class menu for an object-oriented programming course in the computer science curriculum.
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To efficiently transfer knowledge from instructors to students, various instructional design theories have been developed by researchers. For example, as a generic instructional design model, the ADDIE model has been widely used by instructors and trainers to deliver knowledge to students (Branch, 2009). The ADDIE model breaks the entire knowledge transformation process into five manageable units, including Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. A comprehensive coverage of the ADDIE model is provided by Strickland (2010).

In the implementation phase, course materials are transferred from the instructor to students through various channels (Alajmi, 2009). The tasks accomplished by the implementation phase include course material deployment, technical support, and training. The process of distribution and deployment of course materials include testing, packaging, and making the course materials available to the students (Magliaro & Shambaugh, 2006). The implementation phase often has issues to be addressed and requires strategic actions. Therefore, the implementation phase is one of the actively researched areas. Agostinho, Meek, and Herrington (2005) discussed the issues related to effectively implementing online learning. Their study indicates that their adopted implementation method requires significant support in order to fully facilitate an engaging and authentic learning experience for students. Orhun (2004) studied the implementation phase of the information and communication technology (ICT) innovation in education. Orhun (2004) discovered some problems in the implementation phase. The practice of “learning with computers” usually took place in vocational schools while most of the other schools were mainly focused on “teaching about computers.” The research by Ho, Kuo, Tsai, and Kuo (2006) confirmed Orhun’s finding. In their research, Ho, Kuo, Tsai, and Kuo (2006) found that elementary school teachers spent most time in the implementation phase of the instructional design process. These research studies have indicated that one of the key factors for successful implementation is to keep the deployment platform simple and avoid letting students spend too much time on learning how to use the distributed course materials. In the case of mobile learning, the implementation phase posts even more challenges. Wang (2008) listed the promises and challenges about the implementation of mobile learning. In the research, the servers were developed to distribute the course materials and the mobile devices were used as the interfaces and data collection tools.

Traditionally, the deployment of course materials could be done through mailing the CDs or floppy disks to students. It was reported that the high speed and high performance ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) network technology was used to implement a distance learning environment (Littman, 1997). Streaming audio and video technologies are also used to deploy course materials (Hartsell & Yuen, 2006). Lately, a Web which allows reading and writing activities is used to deliver course content to students (Conboy, Hall, & Thompson, 2009). Rang (2006) summarized the trend in the course material deployment technology. Even with these advanced deployment technologies, the deployment of course materials is still a challenging task. As pointed out by Rollins and Almeroth (2004), the deployment process is a difficult process even for a technically savvy person. In the case of mobile learning, it is even more difficult to deploy course materials to students’ mobile devices. Some types of course materials distributed through the traditional delivering methods as described above may not work well on mobile phones. For students to use their Android powered mobile devices to run course materials, an appropriate deployment method is needed.

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