What difference is iTunes U course making to anatomy learners?

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This study was presented at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education CCME14, 25-29/April/2014, Ottawa, Canada. …

This study was presented at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education CCME14, 25-29/April/2014, Ottawa, Canada.

Context/ setting: Technology-based learning by means of mobile handheld devices have been among the newly emerging tools of multimedia learning of which the use is getting increasingly popular. This study is intended to explore and evaluate the use of iTunes U as a learning management platform on mobile handheld devices during an anatomy course.
Intervention: Two iTunes U anatomy courses were initiated in parallel with classroom anatomy teaching for second year medical students. iTunes U manager was used to post course material and assignments to enrolled students who have iOS devices. In addition, links to related posts on integrated Facebook Page and YouTube channel were also provided.
Observations: The course played a major role of being a single platform mapped against the academic calendar, which students would be able to view by session’s date and title. Students reported that some of the unique features of iTunes U like “notification”, “reminders”, and “notes” enhanced students control and or follow up of their learning during the anatomy course. It also provided the opportunity to link to related material on social networking sites and benefit from the interactive and collaborative environment of these platforms.
Discussion: Students shared their experience through a focused group discussion, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of this tool and envisaged its potential applications and the room for better utilization by the students and their faculty.

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  • 1. Dr.AkramJaffar What difference is “iTunes U” course making to anatomy learners? Akram Jaffar and Ayad Al-Moslih University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • 2. Disclosure Statement I have no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this presentation. 
  • 3. Dr.AkramJaffar Rationale • Technology-based learning by means of mobile is getting increasingly popular. Generation Selfie Everyone shown in this presentation gave permission to appear
  • 4. Dr.AkramJaffar Student’s opinion Sabah
  • 5. Dr.AkramJaffar Aim • Explore and evaluate the use of iTunes U as a learning management platform on mobile handheld devices to deliver anatomy courses.
  • 6. Dr.AkramJaffar What is iTunes U? • iTunes U is an app for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. • The U stands for university since the app allows access to free courses that are taught by instructors in schools and universities.
  • 7. Dr.AkramJaffar Features of iTunes U • Access to free podcasts and videos.
  • 8. Dr.AkramJaffar Features of iTunes U • Access to courses with features that let users view the course assignment list, track progress, and make notes.
  • 9. Dr.AkramJaffar Types of courses • Self-Paced: – Allow students to begin and end a course at any time. • In session: – Taught in real time with calendar-based posts and assignments
  • 10. Dr.AkramJaffar Enrollment • The course instructor shares an “enroll code” with students. • Each student enters the code in iTunes U app. • The course instructor receives the enrolment request and approves it through the iTunes U course manager. Enroll code • GITAnatomy2014: J3Z-QXM-ZJ6 • GUAnatomy2014: HNV-7M4-N6A
  • 11. Dr.AkramJaffar iTunes U support
  • 12. Dr.AkramJaffar Methods - Targeted users UAE Middle East
  • 13. Dr.AkramJaffar Methods – Orienting the users • Students were introduced to iTunes U during the orientation session at the beginning of each system unit. • A step-by-step video was provided on YouTube. • Additional FAQ section was customized within the app. “iTunes U in the context of anatomy course”
  • 14. Dr.AkramJaffar Methods – Anatomy courses • Gastrointestinal anatomy • Genitourinary anatomy 2013, Feb.-Jun.2014, Feb.-
  • 15. Dr.AkramJaffar Methods – Materials upload • iTunes U course manager.
  • 16. Dr.AkramJaffar Methods – Focus group discussions • Guided to generate a variety of ideas and opinions.
  • 17. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring iTunes U Anatomy Courses • Fixed tabs in which the course materials were customized and distributed.
  • 18. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring - Info • Default sections: – Overview – About the instructor – Course outline • Customized sections.
  • 19. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring - Posts • Paced according to course syllabus. • Can also be reviewed as assignments according to their due dates.
  • 20. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring - Posts • Once an assignment has been fulfilled, it can be ticked as done. • Push notifications are received once new posts are uploaded.
  • 21. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring - Assignments • May contain links to downloadable files or online material. Downloadable file Downloadable file Online material Online material
  • 22. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring - Posts • Syllabus item • Human Anatomy Education Channel on YouTube • Selected YouTube videos • Self-assessment • Miscellaneous
  • 23. Dr.AkramJaffar Human Anatomy Education Channel on YouTube • Provided the additional advantage of viewing videos on an online social network where they engage the viewers in multiple ways of interaction.
  • 24. Dr.AkramJaffar Selected YouTube videos • Scrutinized for appropriateness. • Apart from credibility issues, they matched student levels of anatomy knowledge and the objectives of the course.
  • 25. Dr.AkramJaffar Self-assessment • Students commented and were engaged in discussions with other Facebook page fans. • The instructor, through Facebook, received notifications about students’ engagement and provided feedback when necessary.
  • 26. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring iTunes U features - Materials • Lists course items according to file type.
  • 27. Dr.AkramJaffar Exploring iTunes U features - Search • To select specific material within the course, particularly for revision before the examination. • Assignments were tagged with certain terms when uploaded so that searching for the word “question” would list all the self- assessment questions within the course.
  • 28. Dr.AkramJaffar Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Students were comfortable communicating via smart phones and other mobile devices. • Easy navigation: furnished a true App experience as opposed to websites.
  • 29. Dr.AkramJaffar Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Fostered collaborative teaching and learning by incorporating social networking sites. Sulaima
  • 30. Dr.AkramJaffar Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Delivered more media richness which the students expect to be a part of their learning experience particularly in anatomy. Sulaima
  • 31. Dr.AkramJaffar Noor: “it actually encouraged me to read anatomy. I actually never read anatomy this much before, during my year and a half here!” Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Motivated students to follow up course content.
  • 32. Dr.AkramJaffar Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Functioned as a study organizer through features like organized view of course content, push notifications, to-do style learning tasks, and notes. • Afforded flexibility in following and retrieving the course materials; assignments can be accessed either according to a schedule or according to search key word.
  • 33. Dr.AkramJaffar Evaluation of iTunes U anatomy courses • Provided on-the-move access to course material. • Satisfied time management need of students. Tariq
  • 34. Dr.AkramJaffar Suggestions for iTunes U anatomy courses • Include more flash cards and summarizing ideas to cope with the on-the-go nature of mobile learning. • Cross referencing to a previous anatomy resource. AbdulRahman
  • 35. Dr.AkramJaffar Suggestions for iTunes U App • Compatibility with other mobile manufacturers. • Include a forum or a chat on iTunes U for interaction. Dalia
  • 36. Dr.AkramJaffar Conclusions • Provided a single platform mapped against the academic calendar, which students would be able to view by session’s date and title. • Enhanced students control and or follow up of their learning during the anatomy course. • Provided the opportunity to link to related material on social networking sites and benefit from the interactive and collaborative environment of these platforms.
  • 37. Dr.AkramJaffar Acknowledgment I would like to appreciate the contribution of our enthusiastic students who encouraged us to make their learning different.