CIT and DDI iPad loans 2010-2011: Brief outcomes report

In fall 2010 and spring 2011 CIT and DDI loaned a pool of about 90 iPad 1s for exploratory course use. Our goal with the loans was mainly to get faculty and student reactions and feedback on various course activities from reading e-texts to annotating work, viewing media, creating recordings, presenting, and accessing course content easily.

Instructors from a variety of disciplines borrowed iPads or had their students use them to explore various options in their courses. In Fall 2010, the course loaner pool supported the planning for or teaching of 16 courses or curricular projects (36 students, 14 faculty, 2 TAs), and in addition, monetary support was provided for 2 other projects (Read, Johnston, below). In Spring 2011, the expanded pool supported 13 courses or curricular projects (71 students, 13 faculty, 2 TAs). For a more detailed report, see the DDI 2010-11 Annual Summary.

Some example projects:

  • Jen’nan Read (Global Health Institute) explored use of the iPad as a¬†Global Health Fieldwork Research Tool.
  • Denise Comer (TWP) and two other writing instructors (Ken Rogerson and Rebecca Vidra) explored how e-reading technologies impact the teaching of writing, text analysis and student writing.
  • Brenda Scott (Music) and her students used of iPads for annotating music scores, comparing recordings of masterworks, reading textbooks and PDFs, and watching videos.
  • Dave Johnston (NSOE) created an iPad-based multimedia book.
  • Linda Franzoni (Engineering) tested iPads for displaying video tutorials in the Pratt Student Machine Shop.
  • Richard Lucic and Robert Duvall (Computer Science) taught students to develop iPad applications.
  • Deb Reisinger (Romance Studies) used iPads in her French writing class for tasks such as student grading and paper reviews, and for in-class writing workshops.
  • Satti Khanna (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) used iPads in an advanced Hindi class to support students viewing and commenting on videos.
  • Jonathan Dueck (TWP) had students mix audio recordings, mind map sketches and text notes from field research on sports and sound.
  • Brad Perez (Department of Medicine) and Megan von Isenburg (Medical Center Library) explored use of iPads to provide access to clinical tools and patient education information, and assess how these tools impact clinical decision making.

Faculty & Student feedback on the iPad for academic work

iPads were actively used in a variety of courses across all discipline areas, for various course-related tasks:

  • Student reading and writing
  • Viewing and annotating multimedia resources, such as maps or videos
  • Exploring the potential of sketching and stylus use
  • Editing and annotating documents within and outside of class time
  • Exploring iPad applications in discipline-specific context, such as interdisciplinary field research or in music education by combining digital scores, annotation and digital audio
  • Viewing and creating social media content
  • Displaying video and audio content created by students
  • Showcasing student project work
  • Developing a digital textbook with Duke multimedia resources
  • Testing out applications for annotation, peer feedback, and grading assignments
  • E-reader use for text-based course materials

Benefits reported by faculty and student users:

Ease of use
Large screen
Long battery life
Fast boot-up / overall speed

Drawbacks reported

Difficult / awkward to type on
Lack of Flash support
Projection limitations (iPad 1 devices)
Cost (particularly 3G models)

iPads were reported to be useful for….

Notetaking (with external keyboard)
Surfing / browsing online / checking email
Dictating (using speech-to-text app)
Watching online videos
Recording audio (Note: iPad 2 with video recording was not available AY 2010-11)
Reading e-books / PDFs
Sketching with stylus
Social media

Not so useful for….

Notetaking (using on-screen keyboard)
Annotating student/peer work
Projecting (Note: iPad 2 with improved projection capabilities not available AY 2010-11)
Sharing among students

Lessons learned about supporting iPads as teaching tools

Support needs were higher for faculty than students, based on survey reports. One key element of the successful course use was a separate faculty exploratory loaner program, in which faculty could borrow iPads pre-loaded with a collection of useful apps, for a week of testing. Most of the faculty requesting course loaners had tested out short-term loaners first. These investigations enabled the faculty to focus their course experimentation.

Most faculty reported that a short “training” or office visit from CIT was necessary. Projection (or lack thereof) was consistently an issue for faculty, although some were not aware of the existing options, so iPad training for faculty should include detailed information about how to project, and which apps will project (updated as models and capabilities change). The overall sense from faculty and students was that those who expected iPads to function equivalent to a small laptop (easy content input, connecting to local desktop computers for file exchange, etc.) were least happy about the iPads’ functionality. The portability was noted as being very important to many respondents, outweighing the apparent drawbacks for at least some.