Faculty iPad Reflection Videos

In Spring Quarter 2013, Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) provided UC San Diego faculty in different disciplines with iPads to explore how the tablet could enhance their teaching. ACMS summarized their findings in a research paper released earlier this year.

Three of the faculty who participated in the pilot program reflected on their experiences in short videos. Hear their candid thoughts about the impact of an iPad on their courses.

If you are interested in partnering with ACMS to use new technology in the classroom, contact Instructional Technology Integration (ITI) at iti@ucsd.edu.


Spring 2014 Survey Winner

Professor Pei-Chia Chen receiving her iPad

Professor Pei-Chia Chen (right) and daughter (lower right) receiving her iPad from Michael Sullivan of ACMS (left) for completing the ACMS Spring 2014 Faculty Survey

Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) congratulates Pei-Chia Chen of the Chinese Studies Program on winning the Spring 2014 ACMS Faculty Survey drawing for an iPad Mini with Retina display. Professor Chen was randomly selected as the winner from 136 respondents.

ACMS’s quarterly survey gives UC San Diego faculty the opportunity to provide feedback regarding classroom media equipment and support resources, Ted (UC San Diego’s learning management system), podcastingclickers, and instructional support resources like computer labs. The data helps ensure ACMS deploys resources that best support faculty in their teaching.

The survey goes out to all faculty with courses scheduled in registrar-controlled classrooms.

Visit the Faculty section of the ACMS website for information about ACMS educational technology and support services.

Winter 2014 Survey Winner

Winter 2013 Carmen PulidoAcademic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) congratulates Professor Carmen Pulido of the Department of Psychiatry on winning the Winter 2014 ACMS Faculty Survey drawing for an iPad Mini with Retina display. Professor Pulido was randomly selected as the winner from 116 survey respondents.

ACMS’s quarterly survey gives UC San Diego faculty the opportunity to provide feedback regarding classroom media equipment and support resources, Ted (UC San Diego’s learning management system), podcastingclickers, and instructional support resources like computer labs. The data helps ensure ACMS deploys resources that best support faculty in their teaching.

ACMS sends the survey to all faculty with courses scheduled in registrar-controlled classrooms.

Visit the Faculty section of the ACMS website for information about ACMS educational technology and support services.

Spring & Fall Survey Winners

Professor Ken Anderson with his new iPad Mini

Professor Ken Anderson with his new iPad Mini

Congratulations to Professor Ken Anderson of the Department of Music! He was the winner of a brand new iPad Mini for filling out Academic Computing & Media Service’s (ACMS) quarterly faculty survey.

Professor Springer with Don Olliff and Craig Bentley

Professor Springer (center) with Don Olliff (left) and Craig Bentley (right) and her new iPad

We would also like to congratulate Professor Anna Joy Springer of the Department of Literature for winning the Spring 2013 Faculty Survey. Professor Springer received her iPad recently after being on sabbatical for Fall 2013.

A total of 116 faculty filled out the Spring 2013 survey with 115 faculty completing it in Fall 2013. The surveys covered a wide range subjects related to educational technology including classroom technology, instructional support resources such as computer labs, podcasting, speed and efficiency of support resources, and clickers. ACMS uses the data collected in the surveys to identify specific problems with classrooms or services. The survey also helps highlight where additional training resources or individual assistance would be useful.

ACMS sends the survey to all faculty with scheduled courses in registrar-controlled classrooms near the end of the quarter. The winner of the survey is selected at random. All faculty are encouraged to participate each quarter.

iPad Pilot Winners

Dr. Carl Hoeger and Marilyn Nguyen with their prizes as winners of the 2013 iPad pilot program.Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) would like to congratulate the winners from our iPad pilot program! The program was held during Spring Quarter 2013 and explored ways to use iPads to support learning in a higher education environment.

Dr. Carl Hoeger of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry participated in the iPad Pilot Program and was randomly selected to win the iPad that he used during the semester. Dr. Hoeger used his iPad to replace the document camera in his lecture hall and to annotate on top of his lecture slides for the benefit of his students. All of Dr. Hoeger’s work on his iPad could be captured through ACMS’s video podcasting service, which enabled his students to review lectures outside of class when as part of their studying.

ACMS also surveyed students who were enrolled in classes where professors used their iPads as part of instruction. This allowed ACMS to learn what Tritons liked and did not like about the use of iPads in the classroom. Over 258 students responded to the survey. Marilyn Nguyen, Class of 2016, was randomly selected as the winner of the drawing of a 2 GB iPod Nano open to all students who completed the survey.

Congratulations Dr. Hoeger and Marilyn! More information about what all the faculty who participated in the iPad pilot program thought about using an iPad can be found in the pilot updates on the ACMS Blog:

iPad Pilot Update 3

iPad pilot program participants learning new techniquesAt the start of Spring Quarter 2013, members of the UC San Diego faculty were given iPads to use in their courses this semester as part of a pilot program run by Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS). For the third and final time, participants gathered for a brown bag lunch to reflect on their overall experience using iPads as part of instruction.

One professor completely replaced his laptop by using the iPad. He used Goodnotes to upload his lecture slides directly from Dropbox. The zoom box in Goodnotes made it easy to annotate on top of his slides. He used AirPlay, which has been installed in some UC San Diego lecture halls by Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT), to wirelessly connect his iPad to the projector. This allowed him to display his lecture slides without being tethered to the front of the room. The professor also utilized the video camera built into the iPad to show small items and demonstrations in the front of the room through the projector so all students could see them. Additionally, everything that the professor did through his iPad was captured by ACMS’s video podcasting service, which captures all projected material with audio recorded in class. This allowed students to refer back to all of the professor’s notes from class at a later time. Student feedback collected by the Center for Teaching Development shows that students use video podcasts to review points of difficulty and to supplement notes from class instead of as a replacement for lecture.

Another professor used his iPad in conjunction with his laptop during the semester. He used Doceri to mirror his laptop screen on his iPad where he could annotate on top of his lecture slides. One of the benefits of using Doceri is that it allowed the professor to show his lecture slides, which frequently included animations. Goodnotes converts slides to PDF, which does not support animations, making Doceri a better application for this professor. Additionally, when there were lag or connection problems through AirPlay, the professor was able to seamlessly transition to his laptop and continue lecture without losing student attention.

One professor used the iPad on its own by plugging it directly into the audiovisual connections provided in the classroom. This had the benefit of guaranteeing zero connection issues, though it did tether the professor to the front of the classroom. This professor primarily used Notability to make non-handwriting annotations with varying line weight and colors on lecture slides and images. She said that students were very responsive to seeing annotation on the screen compared to previous classes where she had used a laser pointer. This professor also had her students draw on the iPad for certain assignments. This replaced previous assignments where students would have to describe their work. Students enjoyed being able to visually demonstrate their assignment, though doing so did take up more class time than anticipated.

The majority of participants expressed their interest in continuing to use an iPad in their courses. Many said that the iPad had already been beneficial to their teaching that they felt that further use and investigation could result in even greater student learning.

ACMS shared preliminary results from an ongoing survey of students from the participants’ classes. The survey was designed to provide insight into student preferences regarding the use of the iPad in the classroom. The participants themselves also filled out surveys about their experience to help ACMS learn about what worked well for them and what was challenging. ACMS intends to run another iPad program in Fall Quarter 2013 and use both student and faculty feedback to improve the program.

ACMS will be sharing full results of the pilot on the ACMS Blog later in the summer. Until then, enjoy the sunshine!

iPad Pilot Update 2

Picture of someone writing on an iPadAcademic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) hosted the second lunch meeting for participants in our Spring 2013 iPad pilot program. The program put iPads into the hands of UC San Diego faculty for use as part of instruction in a wide range of classes in order to explore the educational possibilities of iPads in higher education.


Discussion in the first lunch focused on how each participant used their iPad in the context of their discipline. In the second lunch, one of the biggest points of conversation was the role of writing on the iPad using a stylus.

One participant found that handwriting during lecture has worked very well. However, the professor noted that writing on an iPad is different from writing on a chalkboard during lecture. In particular, he noted that he had to train himself to slow down his handwriting when using an iPad as his regular writing speed often resulted in some “skipping” where parts of his writing would not register on the iPad, creating gaps.

The participant also shared that he uses his iPad in conjunction with screencasting, which ACMS offers as part of its podcasting services. Screencasts capture everything projected and pairs it with the audio from lecture, giving students a resource to refer to when they have questions about material covered in lecture. This participant said that he put blank slides in the middle of his lecture slides to give him space to do work by hand in a way that students could see in the screencast. Student response to having this resource available to supplement lecture has been overwhelmingly positive.

Some participants tried out the Hand Glider glove at the meeting, which is designed to improve writing on an iPad by covering the wrist and the pinky finger (some designs include the ring finger as well, but the testers preferred only having the pinky finger covered). The testers felt that using the glove drastically improved handwriting on the iPad as it allowed them to rest their hand and wrist against the iPad, rather than having to hold their hand above the iPad to avoid contact with the screen.

Other faculty shared that students told them that their handwriting on an iPad was not as legible as their handwriting on a blackboard. However, the professors also noted that students preferred a professor writing by hand to only using prepared lecture slides. Improved handwriting technique, coupled with use of a glove for writing, showed potential to meet students’ educational desires.

Handy Apps

Several interesting iPad applications were also shared with the group.

  • Dropbox is a popular application to access and share files on an iPad. One participant recommended turning on the passcode function on the Dropbox application. In the event the iPad is lost or stolen the passcode prevents unauthorized people from accessing Dropbox files. To add a passcode, go to the menu, select the gear icon to access the Settings, and there is an option to enable a Passcode Lock.
  • MyScript Calculator is a highly popular application for the math and science fields. It takes handwritten equations and not only makes them neat and legible, but also automatically computes the answer. One professor even shared that she used it as her calculator because it was such a great application.
  • One professor had trouble importing slides in PDF from Latec to notate during his lecture using Notability. The problem was solved by using TopNotes. Another popular program for combining handwritten slides and prepared lecture slides was Good Notes, which one participant used with great success.
  • Molecules provides three dimensional models of molecules in a way that can be manipulated through the iPad. A participant also said that he uses iSpartan extensively to convert two dimensional molecular models into three dimensional models.
  • History: Maps of the World is a free application that has a large collection of maps from different periods of history to show the state of geographic knowledge at different times. Users can zoom in and out of pictures to examine details and many maps have links to additional information as well.
  • Virtual History Roma features photo galleries and art of Rome as it stands today and recreations of what it looked like thousands of years ago. Historical information supplements many images. One of the most impressive features of the application are the 360 degree views of historic buildings and sites. Some views even enable the user to toggle between contemporary and historic recreations of the location.

The Teacher’s iPad Spectrum was also shared with the group. The Spectrum grouped apps under the headings of “consume,” “collaborate,” and “produce” and made suggestions about how to use each one as part of instruction.

The program participants will gather for one more meeting before the end of the quarter. Check back later to find out what their final thoughts are!

Faculty Feature: Dr. Julian Parris and Tablets

Dr. Julian Parris, lecturer in the Department of PsychologyThe current surge in popularity of tablet computers (most popularly in the form of iPads) has caused a buzz of excitement over the potential application of tablets in the classroom. But how exactly would this work? Dr. Julian Parris, lecturer in UC San Diego’s Department of Psychology, regularly uses a tablet as part of his lectures.

Dr. Parris uses his tablet to annotate his lecture slides during the course of lecture. He uses a program called OmniDazzle, which allows users to make marks over any other application with ease. With OmniDazzle enabled Dr. Parris can use a stylus with his tablet to move the mouse cursor, write notes, or draw formulas on top of his prepared PowerPoint slides. This creates a more visually dynamic experience for students rather than only using slides.

The ability to call students’ attention to information in the slides is one of the primary instructional benefits of using a tablet in the classroom. “One thing I find is really powerful about this is I’m standing up there and I’m lecturing and what I want to do naturally is just point to something so that I can notate where it is and [using a tablet] gives you that ability. I’m now often just notating where students should look,” Dr. Parris said, “From what the students tell me they can follow what I’m trying to indicate their attention should be directed to.”

Being able to direct student attention in such a manner dovetails with natural human behavior. “It is really important as far as interpersonal attention direction,” Dr. Parris said, “That’s a really important feature of how we teach people or just indicate things. We like to point. We’re a species that is built to know where people are looking or pointing.” Using his tablet with a stylus to draw on top of his slides has felt much more natural than using a laser pointer, the mouse touchpad, or PowerPoint animations. “One thing I don’t have to do all the time is now make slides that have, ‘Okay, a circle appears over this,’ before it animates next, because I can do that in real time.”

Using his tablet to annotate his slides allows Dr. Parris to seamlessly pivot in the middle of lecture to respond to areas where students are having trouble. “I can also change paths,” Dr. Parris said, “If somebody has a question I can go back and actually work something out.”

Dr. Parris also has his students use the tablet to apply concepts they are discussing in class. One example was having students estimate the next point in a graph based on a model developed over the course of a lecture. Dr. Parris sometimes connects an iPad Mini to his tablet through VPN, allowing students to do work the entire class can see from their seats rather than from the front of the room. “That was a boon to their confidence because they’re still in their little area, they have their computer around them. They’re not staring at everyone’s faces. They’re just in the crowd still. It’s much less intimidating,” Dr. Parris said, “In a big class like Pysch 60 with 300 people there’s no way anyone’s going to come to the front.”

Using his tablet also provides Dr. Parris with a way to centrally provide students with lecture notes that reflect everything discussed in lecture via screencasting. Screencasting records material projected during class. As a result, notes made on the blackboard are not recorded. However, all of the annotations Dr. Parris makes via his tablet are captured in a screencast. “I think that [screencasting] is a wonderful pedagogical tool and I haven’t seen declines in attendance, which is what most people’s concern seems to be,” Dr. Parris said. In fact, he’s found that students use his screencasts, provided through a private link on YouTube, as a way to review material, not skip lecture. “I have a class of 29 right now and the lectures from two days ago probably have 90 views on them, which means that most of them have gone back to it several times and watched particular parts and my students even tell me they plan to go back in parts of slides and really take notes.”

With such high enthusiasm for using a tablet to supplement his lecture, Dr. Parris has no intention of discontinuing using one in his courses, especially given how much students tell him they benefit from the practice.

Faculty Feature is a series of articles highlighting faculty and their creative use of technology in the classroom. Check back regularly to find out how UC San Diego faculty are moving the future of education forward!

iPad Pilot Update

Faculty at ACMS's first brown bag lunch meeting

iPad pilot program participants gather at ACMS’s first brown bag lunch to share their experiences.

Earlier this year Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) launched a pilot program promoting the use of iPad in the classroom during the Spring 2013 quarter. The pilot provided faculty with iPads to use as part of their lectures to enhance their teaching and improve student learning. Recently the pilot participants gathered for lunch at ACMS’s offices to share their experiences and discuss challenges they encountered using their iPads.


In Urban Studies & Planning, one professor uses her iPad to enhance student demonstrations in class. Students were given a project where they were to use Street View images from Google Maps to discuss urban design principles. Students used Notability (an app that allows the user to write on top of PDFs) and a stylus to draw on their images to illustrate concepts in different colors. The annotated images were then saved and uploaded to Ted for later reference. The professor found that this allowed students to explain their work more fully than if they tried to use words alone.

Learning a Foreign Language

Another participant who teaches a foreign language conversation course said that she used her iPad to swiftly and easily reference images and videos on YouTube to reinforce words and topics that her students were learning. One of the benefits to being able to reference information so quickly was that it kept the students from reverting back to their native language, strengthening their use of the foreign language. This professor also used Notability to label images in a photo in the foreign language, adding the real time experience of learning visually to her course.

Mobility in the Classroom

A professor in the Physics department talked about how he has used the freedom of the iPad to move around his classroom and interact with his students rather than be stationary in the front of the room. One specific application was to use his iPad to quickly reference notes during an exam in response to student questions. This allowed him to answer the questions in a way that was familiar to students and encouraged them to apply principles they had already learned.

Fielding Questions during Lecture

Two faculty work together with an iPadOne professor shared how she has used the app TextMe in conjunction with her iPad to receive student questions during her lecture. The app, which creates a cell phone number for her use so she does not have to share her personal number with her students, collects text messages on her iPad in a convenient format. She encourages her students to text her during class with questions. This minimizes disruptions to her lecture and allows her to respond to student questions when it is natural to do so in the course of the lecture. The professor also noted that many more students asked questions than in her lectures where students are only able to raise their hands. One reason for the increase may be that students can ask questions anonymously, eliminating anxieties about voicing a lack of comprehension in front of the entire class.

Helpful Tips

Several participants at the meeting shared general tips regarding how to best utilize the iPad.

  • One suggestion was to create as much content ahead of time as possible and use a program like Notability to annotate on top of the content to draw students’ attention to information in slides. Writing out formulas by hand on the iPad tended to disrupt the flow of the class.
  • For instructors who wanted an easy way to switch between applications in the middle of lecture, double clicking the home button at the bottom of the iPad’s screen brings up a menu of all active applications that allowed a seamless transition between them.
  • Faculty who wanted to experiment with different apps to support their teaching were encouraged to consult user ratings and reviews to find out more about a given app before downloading them.
  • The Padagogy Wheel was shared with the entire group, which showed how different apps for the iPad support different aspects of pedagogy.

As we continue the iPad pilot, ACMS will continue updating everyone with the latest discoveries and lessons to help other instructors who are interested in using iPads in their courses. Check back regularly with the ACMS Blog for more news!