This paper reports on an international collaboration in which students from different universities designed and developed mobile learning applications, working together in interdisciplinary teams using social and mobile media. We describe the concept, process and outcomes of this collaboration including challenges of designing and developing mobile learning applications in virtual teams.
Designing and Developing Mobile Learning Applications in International Student Teams
From the field Designing and Developing Mobile Learning Applications in International Student TeamsAuthors This paper reports on an international collaboration in which students from different universities designed and developed mobile learning applications, working together inIlona Buchem, Professor forDigital Media and Diversity, interdisciplinary teams using social and mobile media. We describe the concept, pro-Faculty of Social Sciences and cess and outcomes of this collaboration including challenges of designing and develop-Economics, Beuth University ing mobile learning applications in virtual teams.of Applied Sciences, Berlinbuchem@beuth-hochschule.deWolfgang Reinhardt, 1. Future Social Learning NetworksComputer Science Education Future Social Learning Networks (FSLN) is an international collaboration aiming at buildingGroup, Department of learning networks of higher education students and lecturers by means of social and mobileComputer Science, University media. The concept was conceived at the University of Paderborn in the Computer Scienceof Paderbornwolle@upb.de Education Group (Heinze & Reinhardt, 2011) and was successfully carried out in 2010 and 2011 in collaboration with the University of Augsburg (Reinhardt et al., 2011). In the summerTimo van Treeck, AcademicDevelopment in Higher term 2012, six different universities from Germany and Israel participated in the third imple-Education, Project Centre for mentation of FSLN. This time, the collaboration aimed at bringing together students fromCompetence Development different disciplines to design and develop mobile learning applications in interdisciplinary,for Diversity Management virtual teams. The FSLN course 2012 (FSLN12) focused on two specific aspects of mobilein Teaching and Learningat Universities in NRW, learning: contextualised information support and gamification. The participating partner uni-Cologne University of Applied versities are summarised in Figure 1.Sciencestimo.email@example.com PAD BEU LEV HOL BRA DUEMoshe Leiba, Instructional Beuth Heinrich University Levinsky Holon TechnischeSystems Technology University Heine Name of College of Institute of UniversitätDepartment, Holon Institute of Applied University Paderborn Education Technology Braunschweigof Technology (HIT) Sciences Düsseldorfmoshel@hit.ac.il City Paderborn Berlin Tel Aviv Holon Braunschweig DüsseldorfAlexander Perl, Information Country Germany Germany Israel Israel Germany GermanyManagement, Departement Computer Media Educational Instructional Information Socialof Business Information Domain Science Didactics Sciences Design Sciences SciencesSystems, University of Wolfgang Ilona Moshe Moshe Timo vanBraunschweig - Institute of Mentor Alexander Perl Reinhardt Buchem Leiba Leiba TreeckTechnologya.firstname.lastname@example.org Figure 1: FSLN12 partner universitiesTags 2. Designing and developing mobile applicationsmobile learning, FSLN12 combined on-campus, course-related face-to-face and online learning phases withcollaboration, mobile off-site, synchronous and asynchronous web-based learning phases in virtual teams. The col-applications, virtual teams, laboration process in FSLN12 was based on the paradigm of design-based research (DBR) inlearning network which development takes place through the continuous cycle of design, enactment, analy- sis, and redesign (Collins et al., 2004). Teams were composed of students representing each ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eueL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012Pap www 1
From the field mobile learning applications starting from idea generation, through the analysis of the state of the art, definition of user requirements, elabora- tion of the learning design, to the technical development, test and evaluation. Each team consisted of 5-7 students and one mentor. Students took on one of the core project roles, i.e. (a) manager (ensuring seam- less team collaboration), (b) designer (conceptual design, including learning design and interface design), (c) develop-Figure 2: Composition of FSLN teams. er, (technical development of prototypes integrating learn-participating university and were guided by one of the course ing design and interface design), and (d) administrator, (techni-leaders as team mentors (Figure 2). In this way, diverse knowl- cal setup and support of team tools, e.g. team wiki and blog).edge and skills were brought together to design and developFigure 3: FSLN12 core collaboration phases. ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 2
From the fieldThe collaboration encompassed all key stages of mobile learn- common online environment for all FSLN12 teams, diverse web-ing development, i.e. (a) idea generation, (b) user requirements, based tools were combined (Figure 5):(c) learning design, (d) user interface design, (e) technical proto- • Team spaces were created using team wikis (PBWorks) fortypes, and (e) test and evaluation. FSLN12 encompassed three intra-team asynchronous collaboration, and web confer-core collaboration phases (Figure 3): encing (Adobe Connect, FlashMeeting, Skype) for synchro- • Phase1: Explore and generate ideas: students investigated nous communication in teams. the state of mobile learning, brainstormed and described • The common project space was created using team blogs first ideas for a mobile learning application. (Wordpress) for inter-team communication of develop- • Phase 2: Design and develop: students specified user re- ment steps (milestones), documenting team progress and quirements and user stories, elaborated on the learning providing feedback between teams; microblogging (Twit- design, created elements of user interfaces and developed ter) for quick, spontaneous communication and sharing functional prototypes. of resources on stationary and mobile devices, using the • Phase 3: Evaluate and report: students tested mobile learn- project hashtag #FSLN12; web conferencing (Adobe Con- ing application with selected users, evaluated usability and nect) for synchronous meetings of all teams after reaching documented the collaboration process and outcomes in fi- each milestone, enabling teams to present their outcomes nal reports. and receive feedback students and mentors, video portals (Vimeo) for sharing videos.FSLN12 teams used a number of social and mobile media tocommunicate and collaborate over distance. In order to cre-ate collaboration spaces for each team and at the same time aFigure 4: Collaborative spaces in FSLN12. ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 3
From the fieldFigure 5: Selected prototypes developed in FSLN12.By using Web 2.0 tools for collaboration it was possible not only course leaders acquired a number of valuable teaching skills.to create a common project space but also to share and com- Some of the key teaching outcomes include experience in men-municate with a wider public. toring international, virtual teams, managing diversity in teams of students from different cultures and domains, creating tech-3. Outcomes of the course nology-enhanced spaces for virtual collaboration, designing the educational process of design and development of mobileThe outcomes of FSLN12 have been manifold and can be de- learning applications and incorporating design-based researchscribed from three perspectives: principles into their teaching repertoire.3.1 Learning Outcomes 3.3 Application OutcomesBeyond the subject-matter knowledge of each participating The key application outcomes of FSLN12 are the mobile learn-course (e.g. learning design, application development), the ing applications developed in student teams, including the dif-FSLN12 students acquired a number of generic, extra-curricular ferent stages of the development which were reflected in theskills. First, students learned how to work in interdisciplinary, project milestones (Figure 4). The teams were not only free invirtual teams applying different skills and competences to reach the choice of the specific application area, but they could alsocommon outcomes. Second, students learned to use and inte- choose the programming language and mobile frameworks. Ingrate Web 2.0 tools in project-based learning. Third, students consequence, students developed for both Android and iOSlearned to create learning designs and implement technical pro- platforms, using native Java, Objective-C and HTML5 frame-totypes for mobile learning applications. The learning outcomes works. The bandwidth of developed applications ranges fromrelated to the subject-matter differed for each participating uni- language learning applications to applications aiming at helpingversity. users structure study tasks. Selected prototypes are depicted in Figure 5.3.2 Teaching OutcomesBy bringing together courses from different universities anddisciplines and integrating technology into teaching, FSLN12 ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 4
From the field4. Conclusion ReferencesFSLN12 was a truly international and interdisciplinary col- Collins, A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). Design Re-laboration with more than 90 students from Germany and Is- search: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. The Journal of therael, integrating various disciplines, knowledge and skills in the Learning Sciences, 13 (1), 15–42.team-based process of mobile learning applications design anddevelopment. The many benefits of this virtual collaboration Heinze, N. & Reinhardt, W. (2011). Educating Educators withhave been accompanied by problems resulting to a large extend Social Media,Vol 1 of Cutting-edge Technologies in Higherfrom the lack of face-to-face communication accompanied by Education, Chapter Future Social Learning Networks at Universi-the high degree of collaboration (teams worked on the com- ties – an Exploratory Seminar Setting, pages 153–170. Emeraldmon goal). Other challenges included coordination of activities Publishing Group, 2011.within and between FSLN12 teams, and psychological and socialeffects associated with intercultural and mediated communica- Reinhardt, W., Moi, M. & Heinze, N. (2011). Analysis of Twit-tion, such as uncertainty about roles, different perceptions of ter usage in an exploratory seminar setting. Form@re, (74), http://team-work and leadership, different degrees of commitment, formare.erickson.it/wordpress/it/2011/analysis-of-twitter-usage-difficulties in establishing trust. Despite these difficulties, all in-an-exploratory-seminar-setting/FSLN12 managed to collaborate and to find solutions in design-ing and developing mobile learning applications in virtual, inter-cultural and interdisciplinary teams. Due to the distributed na-ture, FSLN12 mentors had to conceive effective ways of guidingand supervising teams, overcoming language, knowledge andcultural differences. The outcomes of FSLN12 are encouragingwhen regarding the learning progress that both students andmentors made. The prototypes developed by FSLN12 teams canbe found in the respective team blogs, linked in the FSLN12 pro-ject blog, URL: http://imhotep.cs.upb.de/blogs/fsln12. Edition and production Name of the publication: eLearning Papers Copyrights ISSN: 1887-1542 The texts published in this journal, unless otherwise indicated, are subject Publisher: elearningeuropa.info to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks Edited by: P.A.U. Education, S.L. 3.0 Unported licence. They may be copied, distributed and broadcast pro- Postal address: c/Muntaner 262, 3r, 08021 Barcelona (Spain) vided that the author and the e-journal that publishes them, eLearning Phone: +34 933 670 400 Papers, are cited. Commercial use and derivative works are not permitted. Email: email@example.com The full licence can be consulted on http://creativecommons.org/licens- Internet: www.elearningpapers.eu es/by-nc-nd/3.0/ ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 5