The University of Texas at Tyler will implement an iPad research project this fall that will assess the use of mobile-learning devices on student learning and engagement, UT Tyler President Rodney Mabry announced.

“Anecdotal evidence and some research show that mobile devices improve students’ engagement and learning. We want to collect solid data about this and find out more precisely how having the iPads work to the students’ benefits,” said Dr. Catherine Ross, UT Tyler associate professor of English and project coordinator. “We will also be looking for specific ‘best practices’ that are highlighted by the students’ achievements, so we may implement them in as many teaching situations as possible.”

University-owned iPads will be loaned to students in lower division math, biology, political science, economics, literature and rhetoric and composition courses in August.

During and after the semester, all students and faculty involved will complete surveys regarding their learning and teaching experiences. Faculty also will assess student engagement, comparing results and attitudes between the mobile-learning users and control students, Ross added.

The iPads will be reissued in spring 2013 to another group of students for the project’s second phase and eventual larger data set.

This research project is an extension of the iPad pilot program that began two years ago in which selected English and political science courses applied iPads for instruction. Last year, UT Tyler extended that program to freshman English and literary survey courses due to positive feedback from both students and faculty.