First-year students evaluate iPads in the classroom

The class of 2020 was the first cohort of students equipped with iPads to support administration of high-stakes tests through ExamSoft and applications related to classroom instruction.

Early this semester, the Office of Teaching & Learning surveyed first-year DVM students to assess their levels of satisfaction with iPads, as well as how they used the mobile device to support learning. The results were generally positive, with recommendations for making them even more valuable.

57 students responded to the survey. While 70% of respondents had not planned on purchasing an iPad before entering the College of Veterinary Medicine, 63% indicated that the iPad was a “positive addition to my learning experience” and 80% agreed that they “[made] good use of [the] iPad in the classroom.”

Nearly two thirds of respondents also indicated that they did not need to print hard copies of their notes as a result.

Looking at app use among students, 92% of students had a positive view of iPads and the student response system Top Hat.

67% of students reported they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the Canvas platform in the browser.

One surprising result was feedback on use of the Canvas-specific iPad app. The students were spilt 45% to 50% in their satisfaction and dissatisfaction rates respectively. Further exploration into the differences between the Canvas browser and app may explain why students were divided, and may provide guidance on how to format files and tasks for the app.

Overall, the feedback indicates it may be beneficial for the college to standardize course organization to a greater degree in the learning management system and optimize course materials for the iPad.

Apps students surveyed find useful:
  • Quizlet to make flash cards.
  • Notability, OneNote, iAnnotate to review notes.
  • OneNote, Box, and Google Docs to collaborate.
Suggestions from students:
  • Incorporate more in-class quizzes in Top Hat.
  • Incorporate the iPad into lab sessions.
  • Provide additional information about how to use the iPad for learning.

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