Educators and Mobile: Challenges and Trends

Educators and Mobile: Challenges and Trends

Kenneth E. Harvey (KIMEP University, Kazakhstan), Philip J. Auter (University of Louisiana – Lafayette, USA) and Samantha Stevens (University of Louisiana – Lafayette, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0469-6.ch004
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Abstract

More practical and experiential education was the demand of executives recently surveyed about how universities could better meet employers' needs (Harvey & Manweller, 2015). As an alternative, with enhanced Web and mobile technologies, executives are seeing the opportunity to provide employees access to essential education in the workplace. Global e-learning is expected to top $107 billion in 2015 (Pappas, 2015), and U.S. corporations each year are now spending $1,169 per employee on training (Bersin, 2014b). Bersin says organizations are facing not a lack of employees but a lack of key skills among employees, and that is driving the trend (Bersin, 2014b). Harvard's Clayton Christensen, famous for his theories on disruptive technologies, suggests that even Harvard could be in jeopardy if it does not respond to these trends (Christensen, 2012). This chapter explores different strategies and technologies that can help meet these demands, and includes a case study of a university plan that makes distance learning more faculty-friendly, student-accessible, and cost-effective.
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Curriculum

In order for a university’s curriculum to be successful, it has to address and fit the needs of its student body. In a recent study, Indonesian students cited concerns with their curriculum as an item of high priority (Budiman, 2015). At the completion of the study, the data suggested that lack of feedback, applying theoretical lessons, understanding different writing styles, forecasting the examination materials, ability to make translations, poor vocabulary, ability to understand grammar, the ability to write compositions based on specific instructions and ability to switch between writing styles were concerns shared overall by the students. While it is possible that this is the result of the appropriateness of the curriculum, it could also be a result of the instructor’s readiness to teach online.

Joo, Andres, and Shearer (2014) found in a study of students in online courses at Costa Rican National University of Distance Education that after initially teaching a course, the outcomes should be assessed and the course retooled to better suit the needs of the students. After the course they had taken was reviewed by students, educators modified the types of assignments that would be assigned, altered the frequency of fact-to-face communication sessions, and suggested facilitation strategies that would result in a better experience for the students, both cognitively and in terms of their learning outcomes. It is important to point out that the researchers did not see a direct correlation between the changes in curriculum and student grades. However, if the curriculum were permanently altered to better suit student needs, it is not unreasonable to assume that over time, this change could result in greater student satisfaction and overall course success.

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Technology

As more universities adapt their current curricula for mobile or online use, it has become apparent that a transitional issue between the two does exist. Rogerson-Revelle (2015) performed a study to determine what causes the disconnect between the two. The results of the study provided supportive evidence that online activities must be carefully aligned not only with desired learning outcomes, but also with the technological capabilities of the university and its students. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for faculty or students to see success in online courses.

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