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Join us for the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, April 22-24, 2015 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, TX
CFP will open October 1, 2014

Check out the Conference Wrap-up pages from the 2014 conference. 

Missed the conference? You can still view more than 70 of the sessions by purchasing the recordings in this Virtual Package

Watch the Keynote Address
Reclaim Learning: A Domain of One's Own
Keynoter Jim Groom, University of Mary Washington, shares innovations that support the ethos of open environments for online teaching and learning. 

Get the inside scoop on the event from key presenters, sponsors and Sloan-C executives in these on-site interviews.

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Join the Friday afternoon Unconference Session virtually!


7 Reasons Why You Should Join Us In Dallas
7 Reasons Why

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Best-in-Track Selections announced - Read the Press Release

#launchpad Visit our Launch Pad page to find out more about our Launch Pad Participants!

Jim Groom, University of Mary Washington, to deliver Keynote Address

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Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

To What Degree Does Access to Mobile Devices Interfere with Attentiveness and Engagement in the Classroom?

Perry Samson (University of Michigan, USA)
Session Information
April 10, 2014 - 1:30pm
Innovative Media and Tools
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Lone Star C4
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 5
Virtual Session
Best in Track

This presentation offers an objective analysis of to what degree does the availability of mobile devices in a classroom interfere with attentiveness and engagement.

Extended Abstract

Results of research over multiple years will be shown that challenges the common belief that if students are allowed to bring mobile devices to class they will be more distracted. The research actually shows that on-line tools that promote participation can significantly increase both student engagement and attentiveness in survey courses. Given that it is likely that most, if not all, students will have access to personal mobile devices during class in coming years we are challenged as a community to design systems that take advantage of those devices to improve learning opportunities.

This presentation will invite the audience to participate in the use of LectureTools, developed by the author to increase opportunities for student response in larger classes and now used in hundreds of classes worldwide. With LectureTools students can:

  • Type notes synchronized with the lecture slides
  • Answer questions posed by the instructor
  • Self-assess understanding and indicate when they are confused
  • Pose questions to the instructor and view responses
  • Draw on the instructor's lecture slides

LectureTools enables the instructor to ask a wide range of question types including multiple choice, reorder list, free response, numerical and image-based questions, excellent for testing students understanding of graphs and weather maps.

Students are able to pose questions to the instructor during class and indicate when they are confused.
Women students, for example, report a reluctance to verbalize questions in a large class environment at the beginning of the semester but, because questions in LectureTools are answered in a way that the author is not identified, actually ask more questions over the semester than male students.

This session will be conducted in an interactive format wherein participants can play the role of students to answer questions during the presentation and recount their own experiences with mobile devices. The presentation will also demonstrate the added step of conducting class with a mobile device so the presenter can mingle with the audience (class) to interact and challenge.

Lastly the presentation will demonstrate how student notes and questions are being mined in real-time to offer students suggestions for additional readings and/or other resources of the instructor's preference. Research has shown significant increases in both student engagement and attentiveness in class from control groups when using tools that promote participation. The result of this research will be shown along with suggestions for how to design a class session to increase engagement using mobile devices.

Lead Presenter

Perry J. Samson--is the Associate Chair and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan. Perry is the recipient of the College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award, 2009 Teaching Innovation Award and the 2010 Distinguished Professor of the Year in the State of Michigan. Professor Samson is Chief Architect for LectureTools ( and is also the co-founder of the Weather Underground (