Mobile learning: Our iPad program pilot looked like it was about to leap off the tracks, since the way we were doing it was causing too much admin work for the program, which was defeating the purpose of the pilot to some degree. As the discussion evolved, we clued in that our bandaid workarounds were mainly caused by – believe it or not – the fact that our students don’t get JIBC emails. Put simply, it appears that without some sort of active directory authentication these kinds of deployments don’t work seamlessly. So we are trying a new way of doing things with the next cohort, at which point we should be able to determine whether this kind of tablet supported program is sustainable for our institution, whose technical resources are being maxed out for an ERP project.
Open Textbooks: Met with an instructor about creating a open textbook for project management (non PMI focussed) but as luck would have it, BCcampus was able to point us to a couple of great options that already exist. This may let us redirect money to another textbook in a more obscure discipline, which is perhaps a better strategy for us anyways. We are also lining up another instructor to work on a second criminology text for our Law Enforcement Studies diploma and degree.
Innovative learning environments: Our pilot “classroom of the future” is coming along nicely. This was somewhat inspired by Michael Minions’ ETUG talk this spring–his budget sensitive approach really resonated with us, so our Technology Services group has been working with us to reconfigure one of our classrooms with some new equipment. We’re putting in a document camera, a Swivl, a WePresent, and a 60″ LED screen to start. We’ll try out this configuration with some instructors and see whether this is a good alternative to podiums and projectors in the classroom. We’ve got 2 classroom sets of iPads that can be used with this setup, and it will be great if the WePresent lets us get to more of a BYOD setup.
Student lead innovation: I have a small fund in my budget for student-lead innovations that improve teaching and learning. This week I was got to meet one of our paramedic students who is also a robotic engineer by training. Over the weekend he was able to convert one of our simulation devices that connects to the simulation patient dolls so that it can be wireless controlled by an instructor to create a more high fidelity simulation. I’m not doing justice in describing the genius of what he was able to do since it has the potential to change the simulation experience of any paramedic or emergency medicine program, but it was a nice bookend to a week where things that should be simple seemed so hard, and hard things had simple solutions.