Mobile Learning Fellows

Colleagues, 

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit a proposal for research as part of the ACU Mobile Learning Fellows Program. As you may be aware, current plans for the fall semester call for deployment of iPhone/iPod Touch devices to all faculty and to full-time freshmen and sophomore students. Over the past year ACU has received tremendous exposure related to this initiative and it is my belief that we are uniquely positioned to contribute visibly to the growing literature on the impact of mobile device usage on college campuses and in college classrooms. In light of this context, I encourage you to consider how use of these devices in and/or out of your classroom might be formed into a research question and submitted to empirical evaluation.

The Mobile Learning Leadership Team has made available funds for five Mobile Learning iPhone Fellow positions. Fellows are expected to be researchers who will help to conduct, document, and publish research on mobile learning at a national level. These positions will be appointed through a competitive application process under the oversight of the ACU Research Council and the Mobile Learning Leadership Team. Applications are open at this time and will be received through midnight (CST) on May15, 2009. Each of the five these positions will be funded with a $2,500 research stipend that can be used for such expenses such as student labor, travel, hardware, software, or, with the approval of your chair, a one course reduction in teaching load for one semester. The goal of the Fellows position is to generate quality research that broadly or narrowly examines one of the following topics: 

  • use of the device to extend or enhance student learning; 
  • use of the device to lead to more engaged student learning; 
  • or use of the device to enhance or improve the campus community or interactions.

Proposals will be submitted electronically by the deadline to perkinss@acu.edu and will be evaluated through a peer-review process consisting of members of the ACU Research Council and the Mobile Leadership Team. Announcement of awards will be made on June 1, 2009. The brief application form (2-pages) will be available early next week on the internet web at both the ORSP and Adams Center websites (http://www.acu.edu/academics/orsp/documents.html). Selected applicants will complete a more formal plan of research no later than July 15, 2009 and funds will become available upon completion. An interim progress report will be due by September 1, 2009 and a preliminary results presentation by February 2, 2010. A final report on the completed project will be due on July 1, 2010. As with all research involving human subject participants, formal approval of the ACU Institutional Review Board will be required on all projects.

As we were the first university to deploy converged mobile devices to an entire entering class of students, the research opportunities for our faculty as significant. We are however building upon decades of research from other universities that have investigated programs involving one-to-one computing (laptops), iPods, mobile phones, and/or classroom interaction systems in academically focused ways. Gauging from the interest other institutions, corporations, and researchers have shown, we expect Fellows to have ample opportunity for publication and presentation at the national and international level. We also regularly receive requests from doctoral candidates and faculty at other institutions who are seeking to partner with us in research regarding the ACU Connected program. A number of externally-funded grant opportunities also exist that may be of interest to our faculty. Partnerships such as these would be eligible and encouraged under the Fellows program. Our goal continues to be to elevate Fellows to the level of being viewed as national leaders in their chosen area of research.

Assistance with proposal development and deployment of assessment instrument will be available through both he Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning. We strongly encourage you to apply. Questions may be directed to me at perkinss@acu.edu.

Applicants who are not selected for Fellows positions may still be offered limited support for projects involving intensive iPhone/iPod touch usage in the classroom and in other academically-focused activities. Several summer institutes and lunchtime programs are planned to allow mobile learning researchers to expand their knowledge and further their experimentation ideas.

Sincerely, 

Scott Perkins, Director of Research, ORSP

Learning Studio: Year One
The Learning Studio opened its doors to the campus last March. Here is a look at some of the stories from year one.