A framework for integration of mobile devices in distance education: a case of University of Nairobi
Distance education was introduced many years back and has continuously gained popularity among institutions. Students heartily embrace it as it gives them the flexibility they so require, while for institutions they are able to offer educational opportunities to many who would not be in a position to attend class on a daily basis. Even with the exponential growth of distance education the delivery of content is still wanting. Most distance education courses still rely on print media to deliver content to students, with minimal media being introduced to assist. However with the advancement in technology distance education should be accessible to students whenever and wherever they are. This is not so, due to over reliance of delivery modes as mentioned above. The study sought to determine how tointegrate mobile devices in distance modelearning so as to make it accessible whenever and wherever one may be. It looked upon the current mobile technologies in use by the students so as to determine the most appropriate and effective mobile technology for them. The study endeavored to propose a framework for the integration of mobile technology into distance education based on the findings. According to the study, 79.6% of the respondents own a mobile phone while 17.5% own a laptop. This shows that a majority of the students have mobile devices which are readily available for their use in learning. Further analysis on which materials they access using their mobile devices 25% stated the modules while 48.3% study notes. Therefore, a large number of students use their mobile devices to learn and the framework for the integration of mobile devices in distance learning would enable facilitate learning using mobile devices. The framework looked into specifications such as communication in the way the students and the institution can be able to communicate with one another. The other specification was administration of users, whereby users would be traces to the student management system so as to avoid duplication of data. Other specifications identified were access to courseware, to enable access regardless of location, and support for all clients, that is, traditional and mobile device clients.