Designing Mobile-Friendly Courses

This session led by Jason Rhode will share steps faculty can take to make their courses more mobile-friendly. The presenter will share actual examples of mobile-friendly course elements and in-classroom activities utilizing mobile devices as well as tips for getting started creating mobile-friendly instructional resources. Due to the nature of this session, and slides will not be shared but rather actual examples during this breakout session from courses the presenter has taught.

Session Outline:

I. Course Content

    a. Syllabus

    b. Calendar

    c. Rubrics

II. Communications

    a. Announcements

    b. Podcasts

    c. Email

    d. Discussions

    e. SMS Reminders

III. Assessments

    a. Interactive rubrics & feedback

    b. Posting grades


  • Survey your students at the beginning of the course to see how important mobile formats and modalities are to them
  • Rather than prohibiting mobile device use in class, look for ways to engage students with them (example: Twitter experiment)
  • Enable Google Voice on mobile devices. Rather than sharing personal cell phone number, give out a Google Voice number that students can call/text. You can place limits on when/how to receive calls/texts.
  • Post syllabus, calendar, and other general information items in PDF form
  • Create a Google Calendar to serve as your interactive course calendar that student can add to their personal Google Calendar account to access on their mobile devices
  • Whenever possible, use RSS, not email. If you’re delivering instructional content through a blog (Blogger or WordPress), encourage everyone to subscribe using RSS for timely updates through an RSS reader like Google Reader - free yourself from the email monster.
  • Create course podcast for short audio messages for students. Look for a free podcasting service include AudioBoo
  • Send reminders to students using free text messaging service like remind101 or classparrot or send them yourself via email
  • Use Dropbox or Box. Share files, collaborate, less excuses for losing important data/flash drive. Access files between mobile and desktop
  • Ask your students to show you what different content or communications look like on their mobile devices

General Mobile Learning Information:
Best Practices for Designing mLearning:
  • Design for short bursts of activity. Rather than designing a full-blown mLearning module, create mLearning content designed to augment and support learning. 
  • Keep things simple. Consider the efficiency of the UI and interaction design: mobile screen size, and develop interface that delivers just the basics.
  • Consider gestural interface. Keep exhaustive gestures to a minimum; design for one thumb if necessary; ensure lowest error rate possible with tapping, etc.
  • Optimize cognitive load. Practice good chunking techniques and minimize high cognitive load (remember user interface and mobile screen size)

Data Collection:

Supplementary Resources:
Software and Applications for mLearning Design and Delivery:
  • LMS apps optimized for mobile devices: Blackboard Learn, mTouch (Moodle)
  • Designing a WordPress course site with mobile-theme enabled
  • Diigo
  • Adobe Captivate, Adobe Flash, Adobe Fireworks
  • PDFs/eBooks option
  • Synchronous options for meetings: Skype, Google+ Hangouts