Progress Report: Hewlett Packard Applied Mobile Technology Solutions in Learning Environments
PI: Prof. P.B. Stark
Department of Statistics
University of California, Berkeley
In 2003 and 2004 UC Berkeley received grants from Hewlett Packard to use mobile technology to increase students' engagement with subject matter, with instructors, and with each other. The HP grants were used to expand a wireless network, initially covering large lecture halls and student gathering places such as on-campus cafes, libraries and study areas; eventually, all general assignment classrooms were included. Faculty in Anthropology, Chemistry and Statistics re-tooled large lecture courses to take advantage of in-class wireless networking. The Anthropology course replaced traditional lectures with forums in which students made team-authored multimedia presentations while graduate student instructors fielded questions using wireless instant messaging. Faculty in Architecture built virtual reality models of archeological sites for the Anthropology students to interact in. The Chemistry course supplemented lectures with rich content—video, slides, and notes—and tools to enable students to annotate those materials during class using the wireless network. The Statistics course supplemented lectures with online interactive demonstrations and simulations that students could follow and replicate using the wireless network. Course materials were distributed over the network, and homework was submitted online. Using online chat during lectures was also explored. Courses in American Studies, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, English, History, Information Systems, Integrative Biology, Mathematics, Molecular and Cell Biology, Physics, Political Science and Statistics have used in-class wireless for close-captioning. The HP grants have been transformative for UC Berkeley.
Faculty involved in the grant
- Yehuda Kalay, Department of Architecture
- Mark Kubinec, Department of Chemistry
- Philip B. Stark, Department of Statistics (PI)
- Ruth Tringham, Department of Anthropology
Grant cohorts: 2003, 2004
Impact on Student Learning
Course evaluations, personal interviews, and student surveys support the conclusion that many students found at least some of the uses of wireless networking helpful and engaging. See survey data and student quotations.
Impact on Teaching
All faculty involved found it valuable to re-think how to spend lecture time. Some experiments had negative results. For example, attempts to incorporate text messaging and chatrooms into classroom discussions proved more distracting than useful. Other uses of wireless networking, including online demonstrations and simulations, student annotation of online materials, discussion boards, and close-captioning, were very helpful and are being continued. Educational Technology Services and the Disabled Student Program have developed a new system for close-captioning using in-class wireless, the classroom PA system, and Skype. Materials developed during the HP grants form the basis of UC Berkeley's first online course, Statistics N21, Summer 2007. The instructor and teaching assistants will hold online office hours and tutorial sessions using tools for text and audio chat, whiteboards, and screen sharing.
- Number of students impacted to date
- core courses: approximately 10,000
- other courses: approximately 70,000
- Number of faculty involved
- core: 4
- other: hundreds
- Courses impacted
- core: Anthropology 2, Chemistry 1A, Statistics 21
- other: most courses on campus, especially large lecture courses
Students enrolled in Statistics 21, Spring 2005, participated in a survey of mobile technology use. The vast majority of these students are Freshmen and Sophomores who intend to major in Business Administration or Economics. Of 299 enrolled students, 240 responded. Detailed responses are available as a comma separated value file. Selected results are tabulated below.
|Own a laptop with wireless connectivity||yes||69.6%|
|Use campus wireless network to access course materials||> 5 times per week||11.7%|
|3-5 times per week||14.2%|
|1-2 times per week||13.3%|
|1-3 times per month||10.4%|
|less than once per month||18.8%|
|Use wireless network during lecture||> 5 times per week||4.6%|
|3-5 times per week||5.8%|
|1-2 times per week||10.8%|
|1-3 times per month||10.8%|
|less than once per month||20.0%|
|How useful is wireless network?||extremely||50.0%|
|not at all||18.8%|
|How useful is wireless network for coursework?||extremely||31.3%|
|not at all||30.0%|
|Would study more if wireless network were more available on campus||quite a bit||27.9%|
|not at all||23.3%|
|Is others' use of wireless network during lectures distracting?||extremely||3.8%|
|not at all||64.6%|
UC Berkeley students were surveyed more generally regarding their use of technology in 2006; selected results are available at https://osr2.berkeley.edu/Public/surveys/ucues/2006/wc2006resp.pdf.
According to a recent survey performed by the Office of the Chancellor, UC Berkeley students report that the highest priority for campus technology should be to improve wireless coverage.
This class has allowed me to go beyond the orthodox "lecture/section" aspects of a class and interactively work with my group members and GSI to put together presentations and films. I have never been able to remember the names of all of the students in my section before or have I been given the opportunity to give a presentation in front of a large class. This class has shown me how to productively work with others to benefit the class as a whole. (Anthropology 2)
The class was definitely my most enjoyable class. The way the class was structured made learning a lot more fun and interesting than the usual go to lecture and listen to some boring lecture. (Anthropology 2)
This class was a valuable experience because I worked with technology like never before. Through this class not only did I produce a power point presentation, but I was introduced to technologies and methods used in anthropology that I wouldn't know of otherwise. (Anthropology 2)
It was a completely new type of setting. It seemed like a preview of what education in the future would be like. It was fun and entertaining. (Anthropology 2)
At first, I wasn't sure if SticiGui [online Statistics materials] would pan out well. However, after completing close to half the course, I can safely say that it has exceeded my expectations. The only possible gripe I have is the network congestion that can be witnessed minutes before a problem set is due. Although I have only experienced this once (lesson learned), it would be nice if bandwidth/load capacity could be increased. . . . In closing, lecture has been great, gsi's have been helpful, and SticiGui is a killer app! (Statistics 21)
[wireless] is most useful in lecture halls where professors provide slides and such. Groupwork outside of class hours, but inside school buildings is made a lot easier by the use of [wireless]. (Statistics 21)
... I often use [wireless] during lecture as I access the online material for better learning. (Statistics 21)
I enjoy [wireless] mostly in lectures to access online material to go along with the lectures, to access my e-mail and get my things in order while at the same time listening to lecture. (Statistics 21)
SticiGui is a great tool for learning statistics. (Statistics 21)
Last modified 6 June 2007. P.B. Stark.