A lecturer at the School of Communication of the Lagos State University (LASU), Mr Olasunkanmi Arowolo, has introduced Edmodo – a mobile classroom that will constantly keep students abreast of academic activities.
The virtual classroom is a mobile application created by Edmodo Inc for Android users. The mobile app will serve as an extension of physical classroom to help create friendly environment for students with low self-esteem. The mobile application allows the lecturer to assign and grade assignments while students can submit their assignment before the due date and time.
Speaking on why he introduced the mobile app, Arowolo said: “I discovered that most students usually have challenges asking questions in the class, because they are shy, because of the feeling that they could be mocked by their colleagues. Some have low self-esteem. Then, I felt the need to help these challenged students learn.
“Another reason is to reduce the volume of papers I receive whenever I give out assignments to students. Marking the scripts of such a large population of students is challenging and time-consuming. I felt technology should be employed to solve this challenge. Students have to be acquainted with this innovation.”
The mobile application also gives students access to recommended course materials. The lecturer said it would promote discipline among students and boost attendance at lectures.
Arowolo: said “With the mobile application, I can easily grade and comment on students’ assignments. It allows me to measure performance and to make recommendations to students. Another advantage is that, students can send direct questions to me on areas they need clarification and I will give real-time feedback, which I consider important.”
He said he was happy with the level of compliance in the school, saying many students signed up on the application after it was released.
He said: “The level of acceptance is very high. It is over 94 per cent among the 200-Level students. More than 23 students subscribed to the mobile application on the day of its release, and the figure went up 62 within a week. As time went by, more students joined and we recorded a peak is 304 students last week. Only seven students have not been able to join the virtual class.”
Since the virtual class application was introduced, students had been going round the school to share its success with their colleagues and other lecturers.
A 200-Level Mass Communication student, Azeez Balogun, said the application had made academic activities less cumbersome in the department. He urged other departments to replicate the model to reduce the stress students go through in academics.
A 300-Level Mass Communication student, Miracle Oladipupo, said the development had improved the level of interaction among students. He said the application created a platform for students to engage and reduce students’ propensity to copy others’ assignment.
Miss Dolapo Ayintete, a 200-Level student, said: “The virtual classroom application allows us to ask questions through comment box or direct message. It gives students who are shy an opportunity to be part of the class work and give feedback on any lecture.”
The mobile application comes with some constraints. Some students complained of hitches in using it, saying it was costing them money and mobile data to operate.
A student, who gave her name as Titi, said though she enjoyed the mobile application, there were times she did not have data to use it.
On the constraints, Arowolo said students who did not have smart phones would be given the opportunity to submit their assignment through alternative means. On data and download rate, the lecturer said the mobile application consumed data in kilobytes.
Arowolo said there would be improvement in the use of the application as more students subscribe to it.