The MOOC series 2011 began with Professor Zoraini’s project of implementing the mobile technology in Open University Malaysia.
The SMS technology in Open University Malaysia has been used to support first semester learners in a blended context by means of providing learners studying tips, sending motivational messages, and reminding students to participate on the discussion forum and complete the readings before the meetings with the tutors. The mobile learning technology was adopted based on an initial survey showing a high penetration rate among the learners (98.9%) as well as a high level of readiness from the students (82%). A series of studies conducted between 2009-2011 showed that the SMS technology was well-received by the students, many of whom described the use of SMS as good, motivational, useful, helpful, reminding them the course content better.
My first skepticism
My first skepticism regarding the studies remains to be whether there are or will be more objective measures, other than student satisfaction, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SMS technology. However, does the support system provided by the technology indeed
a) help students to improve their academic performance;
b) increase the amount of discussion board participation;
c) encourage persistence (lower dropout rates);
d) lead to a decrease in late assignments
My second skepticism
I further wonder whether the use of this technology will lose its appeal once the students find out that the messages that they receive are rather centralized and standardized (which are, perhaps, useful for the purpose of the study), the same way that urban legends passed along in email are usually directed to the junk box immediately.
My third skepticism
My further concern was regarding the nagging effect, though Zoraini commented that perhaps “holding the hands” of the distance learners may be necessary, especially when they are in their first semester, which is reasonable.
This project is ongoing. Perhaps more studies in the future will answer the above concerns. Look forward to learning more about this.
To learn more about the project
Find the papers written on the project here : http://eyeonlearning.blogspot.com/ or the presentation slides here: http://www.livestream.com/ett/video?clipId=pla_2f3491bd-128b-4d76-93db-bb746d7f6e71 Or view the presentation