STUDENTS on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Exercise and Sport Science distance learning course are thought to be the first in the country to benefit from having custom-made iBooks to support them through their studies.
The 200 students currently enrolled on the programme visited the university’s Cheshire campus to collect iPads which they will use to download interactive iBooks in physiology, biomechanics, psychology and practical skills which have been specially created by staff from the department.
The iBooks contain a blend of text, images, interactive tasks, video lectures and videos from external sources such as the Khan Academy, an online educational video library.
Links are also provided to the University’s virtual learning environment to enable students to complete quizzes and other assessments.
Programme leader Damian Keil said: “From the moment I started to use an iPad, it had a profound effect on the way I worked. I quickly realised how much it could enhance education and that I wanted this for my students. With the efforts of the project team and the backing of the department, these ideas have finally been realised.
“The department has been the UK's leading provider of distance learning in Sport Science for the last 15 years, with the new eBooks delivered by the iPad, we hope to maintain that position and deliver exciting material in a cutting edge way. Given the variety of our student population, this can be at the training ground in between sessions, while posted in Afghanistan, or sitting on the sofa while the kids watch TV.”
The iBooks have been created by dedicated e-learning technologist Adam Palin, who was employed by the university in 2011 to spearhead the conversion of existing resources using Apple’s iBook Author.
He was joined in the project by the department’s learning and teaching co-ordinator, Adrian Burden, Damian Keil and academics Steve Day and Dave Smith, who wrote some of the iBooks.
Dr Burden confirmed that the university is currently developing iBooks for the students to use as they progress to level five, and will be using iTunesU to host the resources.
Adam Palin said: “We regard the students very much as partners in this venture so their role as evaluators is key for the project’s development. I am already ready looking forward to gathering their feedback on the resources and seeing how we can develop the iBooks further.”
Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.
Manchester Met has invested £350 million in its estate and facilities during a ten-year plan to create a truly world-class campus in the heart of Manchester and in Cheshire.
The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability, in the top 3% of global universities as ranked by the Times Higher Education and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.
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