[LINK] Australian National University Going Mobile

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Nov 28 08:30:35 AEDT 2012

On 27/11/12 09:26, Karl Schaffarczyk wrote:

> ... Most other Australian Universities have implemented mobile versions of
> their learning platforms quite some time ago. ...

Many Australian universities use Moodle. As Martin Dougiamas, Moodle 
Founder said at the MoodlePosium 2012 last week, attempts to build a 
mobile version of Moodle has met with mixed success. The new approach 
from Moodle HQ uses HTML5 and JavaScript, aiming to work on a range of 
smart phones and tablets.

But it needs to be kept in mind that a mobile interface is of little use 
if the course content and approach to learning does not suit the mobile 
device. Large PDF, MS-Word and Powerpoint files do not suit the mobile 
environment, nor do large monolithic assessment tasks. My ICT 
Sustainability course has notes in HTML and a weekly discussion forum 
which could be accessed on a mobile device. But I would not expect 
students to do the large assignments on a mobile: 

> Equella and Turnitin are both highly controversial pieces of software -
> what protections of students' intellectual property and student privacy
> have the ANU considered when implementing these solutions?  ...

There is a "vigorous" discussion of IP, privacy and other issues with 
the technology going on in ANU, as at other universities. Also free and 
open source alternatives are being discussed. Keep in mind that at a 
university there is no one central decision maker: individual academics 
have some latitude to decide what is best for their students. As an 
example, off the shelf plagiarism detectors are designed for natural 
languages and do not work so well where the student is producing 
computer code or some other artificial language.

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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