Good morning to you all. We want to present the project iUOC, which is a project to enhance mobile learning at our university, the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain.
But first of all, let me introduce you to my institution briefly. We are the Open University of Catalonia, which is placed in Barcelona, Spain, and it’s a distance university which is wholly virtual. We have more than fifty thousand students and two thousand teachers who teach and learn through a virtual learning environment. We have virtual classrooms with different collaborative skills and applications in order to do the courses, as forums, wikis and blogs, and we have also the learning contents in different digital formats other than printed paper, as web of course, pdf, audiobooks, videobooks, daisy format for blind people and even specific formats of electronic ink, as epub and mobipocket.
But why are we interested in mobile learning; well, as you know, we are in a mobile society, and now for example it’s common to connect to the world wide web with laptops more than with a pc. Moreover, every one of our students have a mobile phone and around seven thousand of them use the internet connection. And on the other hand, it is very frequent for our students to take advantage of their time while commuting in the public transport, like the train or underground, to read learning materials, and this is an important question because the use of public transport is very common in cities like Barcelona, as you can imagine. In this sense, it’s very important for us to expand our concept of the virtual learning environment with mobile learning applications that are useful and friendly for our students.
In order to develop this mobile learning environment, we use an approach based on the user centered design process, which involves that first of all we should know what are the needs and expectations of our real users, both students and teachers. After that, we use this information to design the environment and their different tools and applications. For example, when we decide to move to a mobile learning environment, we interviewed students from our institution who profite their commute time reading contents and doing some activity related to the university. And we interviewed them at this mobile scenario, that is: we went with this students in their commute trip, asking about their learning tasks in general and related to this mobile space. It’s important to note that we choose commuting contexts because we considered that they are very paradigmatic scenarios for mobile learning.
First of all, whats i-UOC? i-UOC is a project which enables students and teachers to access to learning contents and notifications from the spaces of communication of our Virtual Learning Environment in different mobile devices, such as the iPad tablet.
And how does it work? Well, we think the best way to show you how the iUOC works is a visual one, and then we prepared this short and self explanatory video with our iPad application. This iPad application is our first native application in that sense, so enjoy it!
Now I will explain to you which is the technology that supports the iUOC. Our virtual campus is a customizable virtual environment, with a widget container where you can find different widgets with a fast access to the most important information. You can personalize what widgets you have in your home page, but obviously and as you can see the most important widgets for students are classrooms, email, agenda, news, etc… But how can we access to this information with a mobile device? Our solution is taking all this information from our virtual campus through RSS!
We know from this previous user studies that the most important information for a student in a mobile situation is: notifications from classrooms, email, agenda, news, alerts from the university and learning contents, so in this way they can access and enjoy this information in their iPad! Then, we take this information from its respective widgets through RSS. RSS from widgets allows us to conceptualize applications for different mobile devices and, in this way, this native ipad application is the first one in this sense.
This is the access to email, where you can read, answer, forward and write new emails
Here you have the access to virtual classrooms, with notifications of new messages in their spaces of communication.
This is the complete list of learning contents of a student, in different digital formats such as pdf, web, mobipocket, epub, videobook and audiobook
News from the university
And appointments in your agenda.
Finally,it’s important to say that we have made a pilot test in collaboration with the operator Orange Spain, and thanks to this agreement, 45 students and teachers can test the application with an iPad 3G for a term.
The main conclusion of the pilot test was that the project was evaluated very positively as a communication tool and as an interactive support for learning!
The iUOC provides fast access to learning contents and spaces of communication of the Virtual Learning Environment of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in a scalable way that allows us to provide the necessary information to design other native applications for different mobile devices. The conclusion from the pilot test is that we can state that the iUOC primarily shows how the iPad and connecting to the virtual learning environment using this device not only permits students to study anywhere and at any time, but also catalyses new learning experiences, owing to the tablet’s interactive capabilities. In that sense, we should complete the experience of access to VLE and digital contents with interactive and specific native apps for education, according to the subject area chosen
So that’s all! If you want more information, you can contact us by email, facebook or twitter.
iUOC: enhanced mobile learning at UOC_EUNIS 2011
enhanced mobile learning at UOC
Eva P. Gil-Rodríguez
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya - UOC
• more than 50,000 students & 2,000
teachers who teach and learn
through a virtual learning
• learning contents in different
formats (xml technology): paper, pdf,
web, audiobooks, videobooks, daisy,
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But why mobile?
Mobile society From Virtual Learning
Environments to Mobile Learning Environments
Our approach: UCD perspective in m-learning
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mobile scenario =
reading & news!
• virtual classrooms
• institutional news
What’s i-UOC? Main Goal:
To enable students & teachers
to access to learning contents
and alerts from the spaces of
communication of our Virtual
Learning Environment in
different mobile devices, such
as the iPad tablet
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And how does it work?
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But… how is it possible?
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The iUOC App
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• Agreement with Orange Spain:45 iPad’s 3G for
students and teachers in order to test this native app
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• Qualitative & Quantitative Assessment
• Focus group with teachers
• User Satisfaction Scale (both students and teachers)
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Students and teachers evaluated iUOC 4 iPad
positively as a Communication tool between
them and as an Interactive support for
Results: about the iPad device
• The iPad with 3G connection is a good tool for education; apart from the
iUOC, different applications help students and teachers in their daily tasks
• The iPad is well accepted and used for reading, visualizing and
• Despite its positive feature of fast access to information, the iPad is not a
good tool for writing and creating content!
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Results: regarding Pedagogical Innovation
• The iPad could help teachers to imagine and conceptualize new ways of
designing activities in a more dynamic way, which could involve a change in
the pedagogical model
• Students and Teachers do not know exactly which are the pedagogical and
technical possibilities of the iPad devices
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Results: about Connectivity
• Referring to the iUOC, both teachers and students reveal that the application
is user friendly and intuitive
• 3G connection is highly valued, like that of other technical aspects such as
speed and wifi connection
• 3G connection facilitates the use of the iPad anytime-anywhere, and this is
essential in order to incorporate this device in mobile learning environments
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• Development of iUOC app for Android and smartphone tablets (iPhone,
• Optimization of iUOC for other profiles (teachers and management staff)
• Beyond connection to the Mobile Learning Environment: conceptualization of
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• The iUOC project provides fast access to learning contents and spaces of
communication of the Virtual Learning Environment of the Universitat Oberta de
Catalunya in a scalable way
• Results from pilot test show how the iPad can catalyze new learning
experiences, owing to the tablet’s interactive capabilities
In that sense, we should complete the experience of access to our Virtual
Learning Environment and digital contents with interactive and
specific native apps for education, according to the subject area chosen
Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu19UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org