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UT Tyler to Conduct iPad Research Project

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July 3, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

July 3, 2012

The University of Texas at Tyler will implement an iPad research project this fall that will assess the use of mobile-learning devices on student learning and engagement, UT Tyler President Rodney Mabry announced.

“Anecdotal evidence and some research show that mobile devices improve students’ engagement and learning. We want to collect solid data about this and found out more precisely how having the iPads work to the students’ benefits,” said Dr. Catherine Ross, UT Tyler associate professor of English and project coordinator. “We will also be looking for specific ‘best practices’ that are highlighted by the students’ achievements, so we may implement them in as many teaching situations as possible.”

University-owned iPads will be loaned to students in lower division math, biology, political science, economics, literature and rhetoric and composition courses in August.

“We have selected courses where the same instructor teaches two or more roughly identical sections. One section in each discipline has been randomly selected. Those students will be loaned iPads and asked to use various learning-related apps as well as eBooks. Other sections will not have iPads. As the ‘control group,’ these students will be taught in the traditional way with hard copies of books, blackboards, paper and pencil, etc.,” she said.

During and after the semester, all students and faculty involved will complete surveys regarding their learning and teaching experiences. Faculty also will assess student engagement, comparing results and attitudes between the mobile-learning users and control students, Ross added.

The iPads will be reissued in spring 2013 to another group of students for the project’s second phase and eventual larger data set.

This research project is an extension of the iPad pilot program that began two years ago in which selected English and political science courses applied iPads for instruction. Last year, UT Tyler extended that program to freshman English and literary survey courses due to positive feedback from both students and faculty.

For more information, contact Ross, 903.566.7275 or cross@uttyler.edu.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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