iPad Project Launched

Our little HEA Teaching Development Grant Project group met today for the first working meeting after the grant was awarded. The project is called “Internationalisation and Promoting Assessment Diversity (IPAD)”. Mary Deane is the PI and project manager. I am CoI and tech adviser. We are going to get 12 iPads and recruit 6 “home” students and 6 “overseas” students to be peer mentors in academic writing. There are a lot of variables and a small cohort but we will be investigating the use of technology-enhanced peer-led support for international students in British universities. Home and international students will be trained to mentor each other via iPads, and the rationale is that by supporting each other’s production of assignments using this popular technology, all students will engage more fully with the scholarly conventions they need to employ in British academia (Trowler and Trowler 2010:2; Borg and Deane 2011). In particular, participants will be trained to give and receive feedback on written assessments via iPads (Deane 2010; Temos 2011; Borg and Deane 2011).

Tablet computers have been relatively neglected in UK HE for peer-to-peer support for international students, although they are widely used by diverse students groups in North American universities, and increasingly in British schools. iPads revolutionise the models of online interaction that have been developed through the Internet, and using the iPad’s multimedia collaborative features, participants in this project will gain experience of both sides in a diverse range of assessment types.

Well, that is what we said. For now we have some tasks to get done: Mary is going to recruit the participants, write the ethics proposal and kick off the Lit review; I am going to do the workplan, develop the technical inception workshop; Caroline is going to purchase the kit.

Oh, and we will be using the OCSLD blog for on-going reporting.

George Roberts

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About the author

George Roberts

George has been at Oxford Brookes since 2000 and joined OCSLD in June 2006 as an Educational Developer (e-Learning). In his previous role he advised the Head of e-Learning and the Senior Management Team of the University on policy for off-campus e-learning and e-learning partnerships.

He leads the MA Education (Higher Education) and teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) as well as conducting Course Design Intensives (CDIs) and other educational development activities: workshops and consultancies.

He leads the organisation of the annual Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference (BLTC) and is Managing Editor of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching.

George is a visiting Lecturer at Cranfield University and a Visiting Fellow of Edge Hill University.

He wrote his doctorate (July 2011) at the University of Southampton on biographical narratives of adult users of a community IT centre on a large social housing estate.

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2 responses

  1. Avatar Matt Bury

    Hi, I’m going to be abrupt and critical to some of your acquisition decisions. People in the education sector appear to be poorly informed about some of the fundamental issues in web technologies…

    iPads for an academic writing course, seriously? I know they’re marketed as uber cool and are very shiny and new but wouldn’t your academic writing learners be better served with a real keyboard and a screen that can be angled easily for viewing while typing? Presumably academic writing involves more than microblogging and posting updates on Facebook and Twitter.

    And Apple products and services for Open Education Resources? Apple’s walled garden approach is far from conducive to open access and sharing:

    Closing thoughts on Apple’s greedy, “crazy evil” iBooks license: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/closing-thoughts-on-apples-greedy-crazy-evil-ibooks-license/4414

    Eric S Raymond Defends Richard M Stallman Over Steve Jobs: http://www.muktware.com/news/2623

    Matt Bury

  2. Avatar george

    Hi Matt
    In your face. That’s OK. Thanks for reading the blog! In the spirit of openness. I, too would prefer a more open “ecosystem”. I am no fan of IOS and the tight vertically integrated monopoly of hardware, software (apps) and data (music, “books”, etc) that Apple is building. It is fundamentally anathema to my understanding of good computing practice. And, I can also see that as a Flash developer you might feel personally miffed at Apple’s cavalier contempt for a vast amount of legacy and still current (e.g. BBC) content that is inaccessible via IOS devices. But, that said, there are many students and teachers who have iPads. Yes, they are shiny and fashionable. Just look at all the senior managers who now sport an iPad. To ignore the phenomenon would be ostrich-like. To be clear, this is not an “academic writing course”. This is a small scale research project into the use of personal tablet computers for peer mentoring of writing. It is as much about using the communication platform for a particular purpose. Who knows what we might discover. I couldn’t prejudice the outcome.