Using portable computing devices with wireless and mobile data plans enables mobile learning and allows teaching and learning to extend to spaces beyond the traditional classroom. Even within the classroom, mobile learning gives instructors and learners more flexibility and new opportunities for interaction.
In recent years, there has been a larger emphasis on mobile learning in education, particularly in regards to using tablets for online coursework. There are a wide variety of tablets, operating systems (Android, IOS, Microsoft, and others), and versions of operating systems. Even though new mobile devices and versions of mobile operating systems come out every few months, we can share some basic guidelines on what to expect when using mobile devices for taking online courses.
It is our goal that all courses we offer would be mobile compatible. Most courses are mostly mobile compatible, with many of our courses being completely mobile compatible. We will continue to work closely with our providers to make more and more courses mobile friendly and for more of the course to work in the mobile environment.
Most courses are rated as “mobile-friendly.” Mobile friendly means that the student can complete the course and that all videos and learning objects have text-based alternatives. Mobile friendly courses allow students to complete the course in a mobile environment but will present some information in an alternative method.
Our providers understand the importance of mobile learning and release new versions of courses regularly to make them more mobile-friendly. So, just because a course today is not mobile friendly, it is likely that the course will be mobile friendly in the near future.
Courses are best completed with a mobile device with a screen size of 7 inches or larger.
Learning Management Support
We use Buzz for online courses. Buzz needs no special instructions for mobile usage.
Note: There are items required by the courses, such as software installs, digital textbooks, Java, and Shockwave player which are often desktop-only features. There are less of these requirements all the time as our courses are updated from our providers, but some work may still need to be done on a desktop computer/traditional laptop to finish a course.
iPad and iPhone Support
OS devices are common in the educational market and work well with our services, with some small tweaks needed for some courses. Maximize your experience with these tips and best practices:
Mobile Safari does not support every feature in every course, as a result, you may want to try another browser for your course. The Chrome browser on iOS
does a little better in some navigational regards than the stock Safari browser.
iOS devices do not support Flash in the default browser, and some of our courses do still use Flash. However, you can work around that by installing the paid Puffin web browser
. If you choose not to, you will see that all-important Flash material in the course has a “Text Only” link below the Flash box that provides a text version of the necessary information for the student.
iOS devices also cannot directly upload files to dropboxes
. The workaround for that is to post links in those assessments for your instructors from a service such as Dropbox or Google Docs instead of submitting the file itself.
- Watch Using the iPad in the Classroom to learn more about mobile learning.
Android tablets and phones are becoming increasingly common in the classroom. And our services work great on those as well. But again, some workarounds and tips are needed.
There are dozens of browsers available from the Google Play market for Android devices. The browser that seems to be rising to the top is the mobile version of Chrome
, produced by Google who also makes the Android operating system. We recommend using the latest Android OS, but there are options that will work with older OS versions too.
What about Flash?
Adobe, the developer of Flash software, has discontinued support for Android. There are workarounds that allow you to turn on Flash for any version of Android, but those steps are complex. The easiest way to view Flash content is to use the text-only links below the Flash content in our online courses or to use the paid Puffin web browser
, which has responded well to our tests and re-enables Flash-like functionality.
Android will allow you to either submit the document file in dropboxes, or upload your document to Google Docs storage and then link your document to your instructor.