Thursday, 19 February 2009

BOS's, Focus Groups and Other Things...

Over the last week I have constructed 2 Bristol online Surveys (BOS), begun to organise 4 focus groups and attempted to arrange visits to other institutions to see mobile learning in action.

The BOS’s have come along nicely. The first one has already been launched and is aimed at our Distance Learners; it is important to ensure that we survey a good sample of our students. When I carried out the face-to-face student surveys I was based at one of the three LRC sites, on-campus, hence the respondents (generally) fell under the traditional undergraduate category. The aim of the first BOS is to get a balanced view across all our student groups. Considering students who study at a distance tend to be more assured with technology as they study electronically, and therefore may find mobile learning more beneficial than most.

The second BOS will be linked to via the LIS webpages and will be open to all our student groups. It is currently under review but I hope to have it launched next week (fingers crossed)!!

The focus groups are slowly but surely coming together. I have contacted some of the students that showed an interest at the face-to-face interview stage of the project with a view to holding four focus groups: 1 at each LRC site and 1 for the trainee Information and Library Management students. It will be interesting to hear the views of the professionals of the future with regards to the changes and advancements in the field.

I will be going to visit West Cheshire College next week to see the logistical side of mobile learning – the loaning of hardware etc. – the support needed for students in a mobile learning culture, and the production of mobile content. In March I will also be travelling down to London to go to London School of Economics and Political Science to have a chat with the Learning Technology Librarian there about mobile learning.

Unfortunately I have not come across many other institutions that support mobile learning. I am awaiting contact from a couple of other people but I must admit the outlook is pretty bleak. It seems that we are all talking about it but there isn’t much ‘doing’ taking place which is a real shame!

On a more positive note, it looks like there is a possibility of us obtaining some mobile devices to trial in a learning and teaching context…so watch this space!!


  1. You might find in fact that a lot of distance students aren't more assured with technology. Often distance students are working and studying at a distance because either they can't come to uni to study or because they have been directed to do the course by managers. In my experience they are often returners to learning and aren't necessarily that confident with technology, that's not to generalise of course. Be interested to see the results

  2. Thanks for that Cath. I think the point I was trying to make was that the distance students are obviously more inclined to utilise Blackboard as it is a big 'support' element for them with not having the same sort of physical support as full-time undergraduate students. Because they have less contact-time with their lecturers (I presume, either rightly or wrongly) that they rely more heavily on Blackboard and e-learning, having said that it doesn't necessarily mean that thir confidence levels are higher than other 'traditional' students.

    As you say it will be interesting to see what results the survey returns. Watch this space!