OU Department Encourages Cell Phone Use In Class

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An Ohio University department is encouraging students to keep their cell phones out in class to facilitate learning. 

The OU chemistry department is now using a program called
Top Hat Monocle, which enables professors to offer surveys, quizzes and homework to students through a mobile device.

"I'm all about cell phones. If a student is using it for the wrong reasons they're just missing out on class," said OU professor Shadrick Paris. "[The program] is not limiting. They don't have to have this specific clicker tied to them anymore. They can use any device they want. So if they use texting they can just log in with their cell phone number and it recognizes when they text in,"

Texting can even be used to take attendance, requiring students to answer a survey question on their cell phones and press send.

Rachel Fryan, a student in Paris' class, said that she enjoys using the mobile program in class. 

"I think it helps as a refresher as we quickly learn. We go over what we're learning in class and then apply it to quick multiple choice questions to see if you can get it right," said Fryan.

Paris said Top Hat Monocle is a cheaper learning tool than using clickers and textbooks. It costs each student only $30 for several years of access to the software.

This is the first year that the chemistry department has used the software, but Paris says he thinks using technology in the classroom will be better for university students in the long run. 

"The more advanced the technology gets, the more individualized we can make student experiences," he said.  "We can be more inclusive to all students, so it's not just going to be this small cross section of students that succeed and all of the other students have trouble."

All students in the department have personal access to the program using cell phones, tablets and laptops.