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Athabasca University e-Lab

Mobile Learning

The Mobile Learning group is comprised of a number of researchers from the School of Computing Science and Information Studies, the Library, the Centre for Distance Education, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Current Mobile Learning Research & Development Projects

QR Coding of the Town of Athabasca

Funded by Alberta Tourism and the Town of Athabasca - $7000.

Leads: Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Tony Tin, Head, Digital Initiatives & Electronic Resources, Athabasca University Library.

A pilot project aimed at QR Coding historical sites and points of interest in the Town of Athabasca is helping the University to build its capacity in this area of educational technologies, reinforcing its relationships with the Town of Athabasca and surrounding district. Knowledge gained from this project will be applied to the development of educational resources at the University. 

App Development for a Course “Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Funding from Alberta Access to the Future -- $5700.

Leads: Dr. Linda Chmiliar, Assistant Professor, Psychology; Tony Tin, Head, Digital Initiatives & Electronic Resources, Athabasca University Library; Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies).

Using knowledge gained from previous app projects in the e-Lab, we have been working with Dr. Chmiliar to develop an app that will assist teachers in teaching students with autism. The teachers and other educational professionals that will work with these children during their school years have little opportunity to receive training in how to work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The course makes extensive use of readily available multimedia embedded into the course content.  Participants can read and "see and experience" content.

The app also integrates online learning activities that are accessible from the app.  Participants view video presentations then respond to the content by answering questions and adding their own content.

An innovative addition to the app, is an interactive case study of a student with autism spectrum disorder.  In each part of the course, participants receive information about the student that corresponds to the content covered in the course.  Participants apply what they have just learned to the case and come up with solutions that are shared with others in the course.

An app prototype of the course is expected to be released shortly.

The prototype will be tested with several groups of individuals - all Autism Spectrum Disorder stakeholders.  Feedback will help to shape the final version of the course.

Completed Mobile Learning Research Projects

The E-book Reader: Affordances of Mobile Technology for the Needs of Senior Users

Funded by Athabasca University’s Mission Critical Fund - $6000. [Publication in preparation]

Investigators: Dr. Mohammed Ally, Centre for Distance Education and Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies

The research asked whether e-reader technology might benefit the senior learner? What aspects of e-reader technology could accommodate the needs of more mature users? Were there any specific challenges that needed to be met? What skills and abilities did senior learners bring to the use of e-readers? The area of seniors and new technologies is an under-studied area that can tell us a great deal about how to ensure that older generations can continue with their learning using emerging technologies such as an e-reader to support life-long learning.

Wellness in the Workplace iPad App

Funded by Athabasca University’s Mission Critical Fund - $6000. [Publication in preparation]

Investigators: Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies and Nicole Collins, Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Athabasca University.

This usability study investigated the potential benefit of using a mobile delivery system for educating and engaging employees in health and wellness activities in the workplace. Volunteers were given a iPads and iPhones in order to use a university-developed app that allowed them to program when they would be reminded to step back from their computers for a health break. Users were able to choose short exercise videos produced by the Occupational Health and Safety office to follow while at their work stations.  Feedback from the project is being used to further innovate and improve mobile information delivery in the workplace.

Now available in the iTunes store, the “Wellness in the Workplace App” won the University’s 2012 Health and Wellness Award.

Completed Mobile Learning Development Projects

Communication Studies 610 “A Study of Canadian Feature Film Policy” app

Funded by Centre for Learning Design and Development through Community Adjustment Fund grant - $4000.

Leads: Fil Fraser, Adjunct Professor, Communication Studies and  Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Associate Professor, Communication Studies.

Development of the University’s first course app, this project developed design and coding that will be of use to any faculty members wishing to make their courses available for mobile delivery. --  




Workplace Language for Accountants app

Funded by Edmonton Centre for Newcomers -- $5000

Leads: Dr. Mohammed Ally, Centre for Distance Education; Tony Tin, Head, Digital Initiatives & Electronic Resources, Athabasca University Library; Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in partnership with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers - EMCN

As part of the Edmonton Centre for Newcomers’ bridging program for accountants, the e-Lab, the Digital Resources unit of the Library, and the Centre for Distance Education worked with EMCN to develop an interactive app calculated to ease the transition of immigrant accountants to the Canadian workplace. This app is one of several developed at the University with a target audience of people whose native language is other than English.

Additional Projects

For other related Athabasca University development projects, see Concise ESL Support – an accessible and detailed introduction to solving problems with English language grammar, idioms, and pronunciation; as well as three app projects completed by the Library’s digital resources unit: Mobile Learning to Prepare ESL Adults for the Workplace; Introduction to Workplace English (English, French and Chinese); and Mobile French.