Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Mobile Device Users Meeting Report

The Darling Library hosted our first Mobile Device Users meeting on April 30, 2012. (I hesitate to advertise any experimental event as the "first" before it occurs because that implies there will be a second. However, this one was worthwhile and we do hope to have a second.)

It seemed to be well received among the fourteen attendees. There were representatives from faculty (mostly online Ministry and Biblical Studies), staff from the co-host Department of Learning Technology (HopeOnline), Information Systems (IS), and five from the library. We had one Traditional Undergraduate student and one M.Ed. student (who is also a Library Assistant).

We distributed a handout with a brief Mobile Devices Glossary which listed mobile resources at HIU. We also gave out T-shirts to anyone who downloaded the Mango Languages App. (There are three left if you are interested in downloading the app to claim one!)

What did we learn?

  • Our IS representative learned that the majority (about 75%) of devices brought to the event operate on the iOS platform - iPads and iPhones. The other 25% were Android, including one tablet.  
  • There were iPads - at least one first generation and four were iPad2s - and three different bluetooth keyboards. Some either didn't have them or forgot to bring their "toys" but still engaged in the conversation.
  • Besides the Mango Languages App, the library shared the EBSCOhost App which was of interest to the Biblical Studies professors since the ATLA Religion Databases are on that service. And the mobile version of the library's web site and search discovery tool. The library's website automatically detects mobile devices and redirects them to the mobile interface.
  • Hopeonline has a mobile version at http://m.hopeonline.edu but at this point, to use it you must enter this URL using your mobile device’s web browser. It does not automatically detect mobile devices as yet.
  • Professors told us about Bluefire Reader, a cross-platform eBook reader App enabling you to use a variety of eBooks from different sources with a common interface and three PDF annotaters that can be used to write on PDF files (i.e., grade papers) electronically.
  • Interestingly, not all Apps work the same on every devices. The Bluefire App did not work on the Android tablet but does work on Android based phones. The Mango Languages works better on Android phones and iPhones than on the iPads.
  • One of our librarians was not able to connect to the Internet using his iPad2 and the library's WiFi. Our IS representative did some troubleshooting and they decided it was a problem to be reported to the IS Help Desk.
  • We also learned that we probably should not have hosted the event in the library during such a busy time of year. The group was shushed several times!

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