Today WCET Frontiers welcomes Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, with the Tennessee Board of Regents, eLearning Initiative, as a guest blogger.

Mobilization (the use of mobile devices and apps) continues to change the way we communicate, conduct business, and entertain us. Higher education is not exempted from this impact. In fact, mobilization is transforming all areas of education from teaching, learning, recruiting, operations, student services, IT, and workforce development. However, many of these transformations are occurring without any strategic planning, or quality standards; nor alignment to educational goals, programs, curriculums, and student outcomes.

The latest wireless survey in 2011 by CITA noted that 91% of Americans use cell phones; up 15 million over the same time last year. It was revealed that instead of talking on their cell phones, people are now making use of many of the extras features that these smart phones and tablets are designed to provide such as browsing the Web, sending e-mail and text messages, and entertainment.

What is missing in mobilization is the use these devices and apps for educational and workforce purposes. According to the Nielsen App Study “AppNation” games continue to be the most popular category of apps followed by apps in ranking order for weather, maps, social networking, music, news, entertainment, banking, dining, productivity; whereas educational use was not listed by those surveyed. Note: The majority of apps developed for mobile devices are for games, social networking, and entertainment.

Mobilization offers educators an opportunity to deliver education “on demand and in students’ hands.” It is well documented that people carry their mobile devices; especially their phones, with them at all times. Infographic, 2010, reported that, “From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed, young people are constantly connected to their electronics, syncing their tablets and smartphones with all the latest updates that came in while they caught their precious shuteye. 83% of young people sleep next to their cell phones; 35% boot-up apps before getting out of bed; 40% use their devices in the bathroom; 70% of college students take notes on their mobile devices; 51% of people do online research as part of their job; 60% of TV viewers use a computer/mobile device at the same time; 50% of Americans prefer communicating to face-to-face conversation.”

Mobile apps provide easier access (touching and talking) to multi-media manipulative digital content that are preliminary showing positive results in student engagement. (Research is being conducted across the globe regarding any significant differences in using mobile devices and apps in improving teaching, learning, and workforce development.)

This blog is intended to launch a conversation (via the comments section below) about the following elements of mobilization on campus or other reflections on mobilization in higher ed:

  • What apps have changed the way you teach? Include the URL.
  • What apps have changed the way students learn? Include the URL.
  • What issues is your institution facing around mobilization and/or what strategies has your institution developed around key issues such as:
    • Strategic planning.
    • Business models/purchasing (due to the rapid changes and constant innovations).
    • Distribution models (faculty, students, locations).
    • Training /professional development.
    • Management (security, IT, networking).
    • Teaching and learning (best practices, curriculum alignment, instructional tools).
    • Student services (marketing, recruitment, ADA, communication, privacy).
    • Assessment/evaluation (effectiveness, student outcome).
    • Other
  • How has mobilization impacted your institution?
  • Does your institution have quality standards around mobile apps?
  • What pilot programs are you aware of?*Tennessee Board of Regents has created a Mobile App Educational and Workforce Resource Center for aligning apps in ninety subject/program areas    from PreK – Workforce Clusters at (over 50,000+ apps)
Robbie K. Melton, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, eLearning

References noted in Blog:

CITA Wireless Study Report:

The State Of Mobile Apps Created for the AppNation, Conference with Insights from The Nielsen Company’s Mobile Apps Playbook by The Nielsen Company:

How Do People Use Their Smartphones? Nick Corasaniti, BITS. September 14, 2010,

9 replies on “Mobilizing Higher Education”

WCET looks forward to everyone sharing their mobile apps that impacted teaching, learning, and workforce development, as well as quality standards that should be considered when utilizing mobile apps in education.

This blog will remain open and active throughout the summer; ending with the start of the WCET Annual Conference in October where a session will be presented highlighting the collection of information and list of the apps submitted to this blog.

Robbie K. Melton,
Tennessee Board of Regents eLearning & Mobilization:

After you have a couple of apps that you like, try this one: Discovr Apps (that’s “discover” without the “e”). Discovr Apps allows you to input an app that you like and then finds related apps for you, displays a diagram of the related apps, and lets you tap on the diagram to find even more apps. The entire web of apps can then be emailed to a friend who can then search and try the apps for him/herself.

When you find the apps that are a bit more expensive than you want to spring for, download App Tracker. App Tracker is the right price (i.e., it is free) and allows you to find free apps, as so many other apps about apps does. The added benefit of App Tracker is that it allows you to input your email address and send you notifications when your favorite-but-more-expensive-than-you-want-to-spring-for app drops in price

I work with teacher education candidates, and they identifying resources (including mobile apps) to enrich the instructional content. Here are some that were recommended:

Virtual Programming Ltd: American Civil War – the Blue and The Gray. $19.99. [Game.] 2011. Retrieved from Apple App Store

StudyPad, Inc. (2011). Splash Math: 1st grade worksheets of Numbers, Counting, Addition, Subtraction, & 11 other chapters (Version 2.1.0) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from

NRCC Games (Company). (2011). Aesop’s Quest. [Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later]. Cost: Free. Retrieved from

Palaware (Company). (2012) SpellBoard [iSO 3.2 or later]. Cost: $4.99. Retrieved from

3B1G Enterprises. (2011). AlloGator: Auto Money Allocator. [Website and Mobile App] Cost $4.99. Retrieved from

Hanks, M. G. (2012). Economics Study Aid and Quiz. [Mobile App] Cost $1.49. Retrieved from Android Market

McFarland, Jay. (2011). Aprendium: My First Money Tablet. [Mobile App] Cost: $0.99. Retrieved from Android Market

Tap To Learn Software, (2012, Feb 08). Grammar App. [Iphone App]. Cost 1.99

The Mint mobile app is of course also available on the internet at, so it is available everywhere you go. It shows a Net Worth so students could get practical, personal information that relates directly to them. It will show a Negative Net Worth as well, which is often the position students are in: owing more than they have in the way of assets, such as a vehicle and a few personal belongings in many cases.

The Kindle app is another one I like and of course very popular. It is associated with which is a tried-and-true company known for its excellent customer service. It is available for download on a PC as well as an iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac and Blackberry. It is free and you do not have to purchase a separate Kindle device. One of the features amazon has with its books is it allows you to download the first chapter of the book if it is in electronic form. This has proven to be an easier, faster and better way to determine if I want to purchase the full version than even reading the reviews.

At my university we have begun to talk seriously about the impact of mobilization on the entire campus community. The Information Technology unit is looking at a strategic plan for mobilization and I’m involved in some other mobilization initiatives that are focused on the impact mobilization has on teaching and learning. Through a Mobile Devices in Teaching and Learning Workshop Series and Mobile Mondays we are chatting with faculty to get a better perspective on what mobilization really means to them. At this point it’s more of a forum for sharing ideas about using mobile devices for teaching and learning and providing faculty useful teaching applications for their mobile devices.

Walters State Community College: A Mobilized Community College: Departmental Mobilization Plans

Walters State Community College in Tennessee (WSCC) has established a campus wide mobilization strategic plan aligned with their accreditation QEP of Engagement. The various departments at WSCC developed departmental mobilization plan, as well as, individual faculty and staff members. Listed are the departments and campuses that developed a mobilization plan:

-Natural Sciences mPlan,
-Humanities mPlan,
-Mathematic mPlan,
-Behavioral and Social Sciences mPlan,
-Health Education mPlan,
-Technical Education mPlan,
-Business Technology mPlan,
-Paralegal Studies mPlan,
-Public Safety Division mPlan,
-Student Success mPlan,
-Physical Therapy,
-Health mPlans,
-Nursing Faculty mPlan,
-Nursing Clinical mPlan,
-Culinary Arts mPlans,
– Chef Plan l / Chef Plan ll / Chef Plan lll,
-WSCC Off-Campus Mobilization Plans,
-Greeneville Campus mPlan,
-Sevier Campus mPlan.

*You may view the actual plans at: (scroll down to the bottom of the middle section of the homepage and click on [TBR Campus Mobile Initiatives] and click on [mWSCC] or go to the WSCC Website []

Robbie’s system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, is a partner of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) and we have worked with them on the mobilization effort. One can now add apps to the MERLOT collection. We are also in the process of selecting some of these submissions for the MERLOT Peer Review Process. It will be helpful to those who are considering using apps in their classes to see what expert MERLOT Peer Reviewers have to say about the mobile apps as far as the Quality of Content, Potential Effectiveness for Teaching and Learning, and Ease of Use.

MERLOT has a Mobile Learning Portal that you can find at:

The Portal features: Institutional Strategies, Faculty Development, Mobile Learning, Beyond MERLOT (other places to find information about apps), and Showcase (featuring TBR’s efforts).

We’re very proud of Robbie and TBR for the inroads they’ve made in making information about apps and mobile learning available.

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