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sheldonj1
Community Contributor

Should we "now" assume that all students will use their smartphone to access "the class"


This has been wandering around in the back of my mind because of the threads about the physical process of uploading pictures, etc.

A decade ago the head of my apartment was adamant in a college wide discussion about "how much should we require students to do "online"?

His position was that "not all students have access to a computer and therefore we should not require the use of a computer even if the college had multiple kiosks available".

And that view held the field until the last year or so.

"Kiosks" kind of "dates" me. lol

Anyway..... last week I found out that if the student does "Pell Grant / FAFSA " etc. stuff by paper application that it will take a VERY long time for anything to get done at the state or federal level ( the college does it expeditiously ). 

So the college is now..... "assuming".... that all students will be on-line a regular amount of time, but I discovered this last week that at least a third of my seated class just do not "do" computers because I requested that they reply to an e-mail about "stuff" because we missed a day due to ice and it would behoove them to do this "stuff".

They had not even viewed the e-mail over a two day period.

So...........since "we" the eddication establishment ASSUMES that all people will be able to get onto a computer/laptop/tablet  "before the next meeting of a class"......

Should we NOW, or in the "near future",  ...assume......that all students will access an LMS through a smartphone?

yea or nay... and comments if desired.

I would post a yeah or nay poll but don't know how to do it.

jts

45 Replies
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @sheldonj1 

I think that is a likely assumption - yesterday or the day before that. Not now and not in the near future. We currently test all our own course design work on a smart phone. Anecdotal experience on our own campus indicates a very high percentage (well into a majority) of our students are accessing their online courses through their cell phones.

I'm going to ping  @rseilham ‌ on this, because his school just completed a student survey regarding the extent of mobile use on his Campus. I don't want to try to remember the actual numbers and over-quote, but they were truly an eye-opener.

Kelley

sheldonj1
Community Contributor

Hi

Thank you for the very nice and helpful reply.

Data is ALWAYS a good thing! Smiley Happy

However, your reply is tangential to what the head of my dept. advocated.

He advocated that "not all' of the students would "even have access" to a computer..

So, if the surveys say that "the majority" of students would use an LMS on a cell phone...

....what about the "not the majority"?

Are they now second class citizens?

Is the college open to a lawsuit by a student who can demonstrate in a provable manner that she or he did not have access to a cell phone and the person received a "less than desireable grade"?

One "could', one would suppose, argue that if the syllabus said that the student was REQUIRED to have a cell phone that such a declaration would fend off such a lawsuit.

However, that, in and of itself opens up another rabbit hole which a "good lawyer" could put before an "amenable" jury... and juries always "seem" to go for the sympathetic voice.

Are students who do not have cell phones now part of a "protected class"?  after all the "way of doing things" is that the student attends a seated lecture and uses a physical book.

In other words.... what if a student "needs" to take a certain class for a certain degree and that certain class requires the use of a cell phone then the student will not even be anywhere near being able to get the degree.

Does this imply that the department will offer a class that does not require a smart phone ALL THREE SEMESTERS?  Not just "one" semester"... because the student might not be able to get "at" that ONE particular class because of.... say...work..or a newly born child?

But, again, thank you for the thoughtful and timely comment!  Smiley Happy

james

Hi again, James!

I am not sure I completely understand the arguments - a Canvas course can be designed to work on both a computer, and a cell phone, so I do not see the relevancy of a dichotomy. Why require one or the other? There was a time when it made sense to require a computer, and that time is still here. But what need to require a cell phone? What advantages in terms of an online course, do they bring to the table?

Or is that exactly your question? I can see on a course-by-course basis that requiring a cell phone might be necessary, and especially so in any course that is requiring field-work and documentation of that work while in the field. We have an Environmental Sciences course that does have that requirement now. And, I can imagine many other examples where this might be a requirement.

Was that what you were really asking, and I missed it in my Monday morning fog?

Kelley

sheldonj1
Community Contributor

Hi

thanks for the question.

Yes the question is, simply, "do we now assume" that ALL students will use a smartphone?

the collateral discussion was about what would happen if such was the requirement and a student does not have access to one.

I tend to wander a bit, but the "questions" is "do we now assume that all students will use a smartphone" today, or in the near future...

...which is a "step beyond" assuming that all students have access to a computer / laptop.

The logical next step in the sequence AWAY FROM A COMPUTER...would be to assume that all students would have access to a "smart watch".

jts

Now we are having fun, and can anticipate that soon we would need to require that all students have an implantable processor with retinal output!

I think we are close to assuming that all students have a smart phone, but we are not quite there yet - just very close. From an educator's perspective this concerns me to a certain degree, because not all computer functionality can be accomplished on a phone, and even if it can be accomplished, it is not always the best route to go - for either the student or the teacher. The big example we share with our students are high-stakes assessments. While we rarely loose connection on our computers, it is still fairly common to lose connection on a cell phone regardless of what the cell-carrier TV commercials would like you to believe. So we always recommend to our students that they use a hard-wired PC for high-stakes assessments.

This is a hard time to be tech prognosticators, because change is happening at a rate that Alvin Toffler could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. I think that by the time we decide that all students must have a cell phone some other newer tech will have already supplanted it - like that retinal display implant.

Kelley

ericwerth
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @sheldonj1  and  @kmeeusen , perhaps it is not exactly the question at hand but I thought I would mention that effectively we are going to have to plan classes and other content as though students are accessing them via cell phones.  A couple times each week now I am being asked to help create a Canvas location for student clubs and other organizations.  The push is coming from students who indicate they "live" by the Canvas app.  So, could we at this point assume that all students have a smart phone?  Not yet, but we probably could require a mobile device and students are currently pushing us toward smart phone accessible content more effectively than I believe a mandate would.

sheldonj1
Community Contributor

I agree about the students "pushing" toward the phone but it still leaves out people who do not use a phone.

And....as a side note....an article appeared today on the net that "kids coming to school" (elementary) can't PHYSICALLY manipulate a "pencil" because their musculature is "adapted" to a cell phone or tablet.

lol

james

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Even in Elem most teachers want the kids to type their papers and are having the kids do a lot of work on computers - even in kindergarten, as they are teaching them to write. I’m not saying that writing by hand isn’t needed, but times they are a changing...

ericwerth
Community Coach
Community Coach

Yes, it is amazing how much change has occurred in the last decade.  When I was teaching in K-12 there was still one projector per department (at best) on a rolling cart.  Now many classrooms have 1-1 with tablets or laptop computers and my kids use Alexa to check spelling and math homework or conduct basic research.  

In practice the two places where I have felt like I need to consider student who do not have mobile devices are when the discussion of polling arises and communicating across campus.  If students all have smart phones or another mobile device, it changes the options of what polling and clicker options make sense to require.  In terms of communication, I highly recommend that students and faculty allow Canvas to text them for announcements and consider the same for grade updates and other forms of communication, but across campus we still need to consider when trying to get information to students how or how quickly those not using smart phones will receive a message.  There are probably others areas but we largely haven't flipped mentality yet from "will this be accessible to those on smart phones" to "will this exclude those who don't have smart phones".