iPad instead of paper-based study material
Pilot project „Mobile & Paperless Program“
In the academic year 2011/12, students can enroll for the first part of the "Medical Physics" course as a distance learning course without the usual printed course handouts previously required. The course handouts are now provided to the project participants in digital form by the Learning Management System (LMS) "Moodle" used by the DISC. Completing the digital course handouts can be accomplished via the so-called Tablet-PCs. Tablet-PCs for the first time allow convenient access to the complete course materials, which may then be studied during the so-called "time-killing" phases (e.g., in a bus, train, etc.), while at the same time offering a permanent online connection for research and access to supplemental teaching content (e.g., videos, simulations, etc.). The various communication options of the tablet-PCs and the possibility of flexible file transfer with worldwide access to online databases (buzz word "cloud" resources), allow for teaching/learning arrangements that could never before be established, for example, in the context of cooperative studies where it is now possible to form international, geographically separated study groups and learning partnerships virtually anywhere at anytime.
Project participants must have access to an "iPad 2" tablet-PC from Apple. For those participants who do not have their own iPad 2, the DISC has a stock supply of devices that can be loaned for the term of the project course. Students can expect support in technical matters as well as in operations-relevant questions from the expert staff of the DISC. In parallel to the digital course materials, students always have the chance to obtain the "traditional" printed materials. This option is intended to ensure that students, who because of individual learning patterns, encounter great difficulties with the mobile, paperless studies, will still be able to complete the course successfully.
The student's experiences are recorded during the term of the project and discussed with the student. The results are considered as a valuable basis for the continued development of the courses, especially, the distance learning programs at University of Kaiserslautern.
This pilot project is funded under the framework of the "Excellence in Academics" competition sponsored by the Stifterverbandes für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Foundation for German Science and Learning). The University of Kaiserslautern was the winner of the "Excellence in Academics" competition In October 2009, with its concept "Students as Partners" against a field of 108 other entries. Selected projects at the University of Kaiserslautern now aim to improve the quality of the curriculum and teaching as well as to examine new methods of creating teaching/learning arrangements while integrating the students into the equations.
Distance and Independent Studies Center (DISC)
Dr. Peter Decker