Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

mLearn: Rationale

  • The Horizon Project is a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organisations. For the last three years mobile learning has featured as the number one emerging technology both internationally and in Australasia
  • Maintain CSU's position as a leader in L&T and Information Communication Technologies (ICT). Already 14 other Australian Universities are using iTunesU for mobile access to learning materials.
  • Mobile devices (such as Phones, Smart phones, PDA's, Tablets, Netbooks and Portable Gaming Platforms) are more common and we are seeing an increase in usage of handheld 'mobile' devices by staff, community members and students. Many of these are Internet capable, able to connect to the Internet via a wireless connection, or via the 3G mobile phone network. As a greater percentage of potential website users start using small screen, low bandwidth mobile devices, there is a greater potential need to cater for them. Investigations at CSU indicate the need to explore mobile learning. For example David Cameron recently stated "Since 2005 we have surveyed our first year students in the School of Communication about a range of technology/media issues. Of the 207 we surveyed today - 94% own a portable media player (eg iPod), and 80% use iTunes at least weekly."
  • CSU students doing fieldwork need to access CSU's learning and teaching systems through mobile devices.
  • The envisaged increase in students from lower SES backgrounds could see a decrease in  privately owned laptops with a resultant higher ratio of mobile (small screen) devices.
  • Enables and increases the opportunities for flexible delivery of CSU subject resources and other L&T content in line with CSU's vision to be a leader in the provision of flexible delivery by 2011.
  • A changing trend in hardware towards mobile computing in a variety of forms. A multitude of Mobile Operating Systems are in development including Apple's iPhone OS, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows Mobile and various Linux based systems.  These are being launched in conjunction with the next wave of Tablet hardware (See: Apple iPad http://www.apple.com/ ; Microsoft Courier http://tinyurl.com/yktkjga and HP Slate http://tinyurl.com/y9thjye). There is a considerable market push towards Tablets and Netbooks and these devices will be heavily marketed towards students, who will be attracted by the functionality, portability and significant price difference compared to traditional desktop and laptop computers.