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SAT: Study Apps Guide for Mobile Devices - a Multimedia Presentation (Denise McDonough)

Developing your Personal 'mobile' Learning Environment or m-PLE.

Studying online using a mobile device represents unique chal

Cloud created by:

Denise McDonough
5 December 2017

Sway setting options

Clicking on the link should will take you to a slideshow created with Microsoft's Sway. You may have to scroll down the screen if your browser defaults to a static mode. Accessibility features are located in the top right 3 dots. The cog allows you to set the speed it changes slides. After it starts the settings cog may move to the lower right corner.

An accessible PDF version of the poster presentation is provided under Embedded content and in Slideshare.

Extra content


Denise McDonough
18:49 on 4 January 2018 (Edited 22:30 on 25 January 2018)

Today the smartphone combines mobile telephone services and powerful computer technology in one device. Similar devices have been around since the 1990s, such as PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and Blackberries, with address books, calendars and apps similar to those we use today. However, it wasn’t until 2007 and the release of the iPhone, along with recent availability of high speed data networks (3G and 4G) that, ‘learning-on-the-go’ became a reality (Soukup, 2015) (Kukulska-Hulme, 2012).   

We have unprecedented access to information today. As we live and work longer, the need for professional development by distance learning is also increasing. The Guardian newspaper reported, “…The Higher Education Academy reported the outcomes of eight flexible learning pathfinder projects, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England,” (Hoare, 2012). This assertion is supported by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, who report that learners aged 18 to 90 pursue lifelong learning opportunities (Manton, 2017).  

 Free open education via platforms such as Open Learn and MOOCs, (Massive Open Online Courses) are making lifelong learning easy and accessible. In low income areas and developing countries, a mobile is often the only device learners have access to due to poor infrastructure, as well as cost. Ownership is set to rise exponentially (Katz, 2008) a claim that is further supported by Anshari et al., (2016) who state that by 2018 ownership is expected to rise to 1.4 billion globaly. 

 It is a myth that the Google Generation understands how to fully use technology (Rowlands et al., 2008). In 15 years of supporting students and academics, on the help desk at Oxford University, I have seen first-hand, that many users are not familiar with the complexities of using a mobile device for learning. Discussing my project with Senior Learning Technologist, Dr Jill Fresen, she stated,   "Denise's proposal to develop a study toolkit presentation of existing mobile apps, to support students who want to study 'on the move' addresses a real need experienced by modern, mobile students. Her project will integrate various reading, study and note-taking apps, making it simple and easy for students to use these apps without having to search for them. In fact, it will offer the beginnings of an integrated, mobile personal learning environment," (Fresen, 2018a). 

 It is clear from the literature that learners value this type of support and make use of it (Henderson et al., 2017). Smartphone apps that allow reading articles by listening, Text to Speech are one case in point. They enables learners to use time waiting for the bus or walking the dog to squeeze in some studying (Kukulska-Hulme, 2012). In addition, their expectations of using technology are higher as found by the UCL study on the Google Generation (Rowlands et al., 2008). The project was inspired by my own necessity to studying on my mobile phone while commuting. These considerations and my own personal experience as a distance learner as inspired the design and development of my study app study presentation guide.  The apps I have chosen are representative of the types of apps that can be useful for studying: for organising, reading and annotating, storing files safely and making notes for research (Henderson et al., 2017).   


Anshari, M., Alas, Y., Hardaker, G., Jaidin, J. H., Smith, M. and Ahad, A. D. (2016) ‘Smartphone habit and behavior in Brunei: Personalization, gender, and generation gap’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 64, pp. 719–727 [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.07.063 (Accessed 13 January 2018). 

Fresen, J. (2018a) ‘Mobile Study Toolkit’, Interview, January 2018.

Henderson, M., Selwyn, N. and Aston, R. (2017) ‘What works and why? Student perceptions of “useful” digital technology in university teaching and learning’, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1567–1579 [Online]. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1007946 (Accessed 9 January 2018).

Hoare, S. (2012) ‘Distance learning degrees are on the increase’, The Guardian, 2nd July [Online]. Available at (Accessed 13 January 2018).

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2012) ‘Language Learning Defined by Time and Place: A Framework for Next Generation Designs’, in Innovation and Leadership in English Language Teaching, Bingley, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6, pp. 3–20 [Online]. DOI: 10.1108/S2041-272X(2012)0000006004 (Accessed 10 December 2017).

Manton, M. (2017) ‘University Oxford Continuing Education Interview’.

Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B., Withey, R., Jamali, H. R., Dobrowolski, T. and Tenopir, C. (2008) ‘The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future’, Aslib Proceedings, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 290–310 [Online]. DOI: 10.1108/00012530810887953 (Accessed 28 December 2017).

Soukup, P. A. (2015) ‘Smartphones’, Communication Research Trends [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29 December 2017).

Denise McDonough
22:29 on 25 January 2018


When finished I will add a PDF to Slideshare

Denise McDonough
12:12 on 9 February 2018 (Edited 12:17 on 9 February 2018)

Embedded Content

Mobile Study Presentation Conference Poster - Sway

Mobile Study Presentation Conference Poster - Sway

Accessible Alternative
added by Denise McDonough

Mobile Study Apps Guide Conference Presentation Slides

Mobile Study Apps Guide Conference Presentation Slides

added by Denise McDonough


Denise McDonough
10:43am 7 December 2017 (Edited 3:15pm 10 February 2018)

place holder

Dr Simon Ball
9:26am 11 December 2017

Hi Denise
If you go to the Conference Cloudscape you will see your Cloud in the box of Clouds In This Cloudscape at the bottom, if you've located it correctly. You will see currently that you have two entries, so you'll need to delete one of them (I guess this one). You'll also need to adjust your title format slightly - see instructions in the Conference Forum.
For documents like PDFs etc you will need to mount them somewhere online (Slideshare, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc) and add a Link on your Cloud to them there.
Best wishes


Denise McDonough
6:56pm 20 December 2017 (Edited 3:16pm 10 February 2018)

I am confused - why does my embedded content show only as a link? and Grainne Conole's looks like a slideshare slideshow? ( and a youtube video

At the moment Sway is not supported so I put the PDF on Slideshare and it looks a bit more colourful.

The Cloudworks team said they can add embedding Sway quite easily and will do it soon-ish.

Anita Naoko Pilgrim
4:12pm 31 December 2017

I really like this version of your poster, Denise :)

(Although it still says 'trai' instead of 'train' on one of the slides.)


Denise McDonough
9:47am 3 January 2018

Thanks Anita, it is the old draft. Will you have another look ;-) PDF to follow. Thank you!

Anita Naoko Pilgrim
12:25pm 4 January 2018

This is looking pretty smart, Denise! You have really worked hard on it - can't wait to learn from you about how to use my mobile to study better.

If I can, I'll try to log in on my mobile and view your poster on that. Unfortunately I have to wait till I get on the bus to do that! as ... [complicated boring story about internet access]



Anita Naoko Pilgrim
11:00am 5 January 2018

I'm on the bus making this comment! It's taking a long time to access the Sway. Could be the limitations of the bus WiFi? Or because there are lots of pictures in the Sway? I looked at the PDF however it's fiddly to read on this small screen. Anyway you successfully got me online studying :D

Mr Jonathan G Brown
2:49pm 18 January 2018

I'm interested in this, Denise, as one of the considerations for my choice of platform was whether mobile apps were available or not (I went for Canvas, which has different mobile apps for practitioners and learners).

I was wondering, how do you see these various mobile apps best deployed to support learning?  Do you think they should be integral to courses, with their use expected of students, or simply optional, providing greater flexibility to engage with content?  If the latter, do you think we're using them to their full potential?

Mike Lyons
9:23pm 23 January 2018

Hi Denise

Is the poster here on Cloiudworks your final draft? I think the abstract needs an update too.

I'm looking forward to your presentation.

Denise McDonough
5:40pm 27 January 2018

Yes Mike, this is the final draft of the poster in Sway and the abstract has been added. To make it look multimedia I uploaded the PDF to Slideshare and it actually works in Cloudworks from Chrome. Thanks for the reminder!

Denise McDonough
5:40pm 27 January 2018 (Edited 3:18pm 10 February 2018)

Hi Jonathan, Thanks for your comments and questions.

My approach is more Montessori than enforcer. My goal is to create awareness and offer a starting point for users to create their own personal 'mobile' learning environment, to studying using a mobile device, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach. I know how much I disliked being forced to use some of our tools and don't think is encourages engagement. Worst case it turns off the less motivated.

According to Richard Mayer (2009) and many others, it is not about the technology, (and I would include Apps) but the content. Allowing learners to choose how to get the job done could be positive for learning. Personally, I found the frustration of using the clunky Open Studio got in the way of my learning. If essential, perhaps the Apps could be chosen as a collaborative project with the cohort choosing and voting, ultimately promoting participation.

At the rate of new apps, there is no doubt by the time they see the guide I have created, some of the apps will be superseded or users will no doubt find their own preferences.

I hope this guide give them some ideas on how to be more proactive in creating their own resource that serve them for life. Mayer, R. E. (2009) Multimedia Learning, 2nd ed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press [Online]. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511811678 (Accessed 12 January 2018).

Denise McDonough
5:41pm 27 January 2018 (Edited 3:19pm 10 February 2018)

Hi Katherine,

Sway allows you to set it to be open for Duplication and remixing which I entend to set for the conference.

I have created an activity on the MERLOT OER site and plan to add the Sway link there for use.

If it is appropriate maybe a tweet? If you have any other suggestions I am all ears.

Are you considering making yours open source (if it possible)? BW, Denise

Katherine Hinchey
5:10pm 4 February 2018

Since your resource will be an OER, I hope you tell us how you will be disseminating it or making it available for others to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. :) 

Claire Richardson
2:36pm 6 February 2018

Hi Denise,

I think this is a very important topic as students are increasingly studying from their mobile phones. Making educational resources accessible on mobile phones also has important implications with respect to widening access to education.

I don't know if this will be within the scope of your presentation, but I wondered if you found some subjects and/or tasks more amenable to studying from a mobile phone than others?

Looking forward to your presentation.

Mr Jonathan G Brown
4:34pm 6 February 2018

Hi Denise,

I've been thinking about the useful collaborative documents you've created in the forums recently, and I know you've got a link in your guide that lets users download the Digital Planner - could you perhaps add a section to the guide that lets users collaborate or interact in a Google Doc?  Something like your 'Sway - Pros and Cons' for each mobile app could give users a space to discuss the merits of each tool, or even provide links to additional study apps?


Denise McDonough
12:02pm 9 February 2018

Hi Jonathan,

I like your idea very much.

I was thinking the Guide needed another Activity to the Guide and that is perfect! BW, Denise

Denise McDonough
12:11pm 9 February 2018

Hi Claire,

The 5 types of apps listed in the poster and covered in the Mobile Study Guide should cover your question. Do let me know if you have any suggestions as it is in draft form at the moment at: BW, denise

Helen Dixon
3:10pm 17 February 2018

Hi Denise,

Great presentation today.  You have definitely inspired me to look at using Sway more (and encouraging colleagues to use it) especially for student guides.  It worked really well on my smartphone which would be a big factor in encouraging student use.  Did you come across any useful user guides for Sway?


Dr Simon Ball
3:51pm 17 February 2018

Hi Denise

Well done on a great presentation! Here is a summary of the comments and questions you received following your presentation (including those you may have addressed verbally). Please respond in whatever way you choose.

Best wishes


  • I find Sway restrictive for presentations but really like your idea of using it as an app. This has inspired me to explore its use for student guides. Thanks!
  • OER innovation in it still in test mode or is it active?
  • I love activity 2, bring in Blooms taxonomy and suggesting apps that promote the different aspects through the image!
  • Hi.  Do you think that Sway is so 'visual' and design-oriented that it might exclude some people ?
  • Given your comments regarding Sway, would you use a different 'host' if you did it again?

Denise McDonough
8:52pm 17 February 2018 (Edited 1:36am 5 March 2018)



LINK TO COPY: CLICK DOTS... TOP RIGHT > Duplicate > Rename

Warning: To allow sharing/copy you set it to allow editiing - so make your own final copy and rename it first.

Tap the dots ... Top right and Duplicate this Sway - then give it a new name and edit Thanks for looking☺️

MOBILE SURVEY RESULTS - GoogleSheet raw data - if link break tweet me @d697

Comments allowed - no editing

Link to Blog with presentation video:

Claire Richardson
10:37pm 17 February 2018

Well done, Denise. Great presentation and you have done a lot of work on your project and really used Sway effectively as an app. It is very easy to read on a mobile phone. Congratulations on your invitation to make a proposal for the Oxford museum.

I agree with your conclusion that H818 would be good as the last MAODE course.

Dr Simon Ball
11:39am 26 February 2018

Many Congratulations Denise! Your presentation has been voted by delegates to be one of the most effective of the H818 Online Conference 2018 and you are officially one of our H818 Presentation Star Open Badge Winners! Please see how to Apply for your Badge here:

Well done!


H818 Conference Organiser

Denise McDonough
4:22pm 26 February 2018 (Edited 8:10pm 26 February 2018)

Thank you Simon, I could not have done it without your suggestions at the llth hour and the practice sessions while you had flu! Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU! (and for your calming reassurance when my mic didn't work on the day - by some miracle I found there is a private chat option in Adobe Connect during a session - everyone know that?)

I feel like I've won an H818 Academy Award! This was only good due to the amazing help and support I received from my cohort right up to the night before the presentation, including my previous module H800, Wendy Taleo at Darwin University. At 1am the night before, I received valuable user testing and critical feedback from Australia - it was already Sat. morning there.

Because multimedia doesn't usually require a talk, I hadn't prepared anything. About 7 days before the day, in a practice session, a classmate asked, "how will users would view this non-moving Guide during your presentation...." hmmm, scratch head, panic. Sway strikes again! Luckily Simon had a clever solution in a practice session the next day and after two more run throughs with colleagues (thanks Amy and Katherine! and Jonathan for GDoc help) and more great feedback, the blended interactive approach was born. I could not have asked for a better outcome. Thanks for helping me cross the finish line.

One thing I'd still like to know: Are the videos more interesting because they are not the same author or should I create them with my voice/narration, all the same length etc?

Reality check: It was hard work, very hard. There were a couple of points during the module I thought I was in over my head and I wanted to drop out. I refused to quit after Anita-Anne posted this great message, "I tell my students anything worth doing, is worth doing badly...." huh? That was just the push I needed (that and losing the tuition money).

Keep trying - it all adds to the learning and it is worth it! We are separated by distance and often continents, so we need to keep talking or texting equivalent, even if it is just a well-timed comment like Anita's. If research shows that those that participate more, achieve more, I am all in. I think of it as sharing the pain as well as the success. As a young learner, I was a casual student but now I pressurise myself to have this neat and tidy linear progression and it is not like that, especially if you work full time and get tired, really tired - anyone relate? :-)

Slides embedded above include link to Mobile Apps Study Guide duplication

Mr Jonathan G Brown
6:08pm 26 February 2018

Congratulations Denise!  I've resent email to your studyapps address - let me know if it doesn't get through again.

Mr Jonathan G Brown
6:08pm 26 February 2018

Congratulations Denise!  I've resent email to your studyapps address - let me know if it doesn't get through again.

Anita Naoko Pilgrim
9:56am 4 March 2018

Wow, your project is great, Denise. As you remarked near the start of developing it - I am your audience! I would love to use my mobile more but have no idea how to do it. 

I am additionally thrilled that my advice that 'if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly' resulted in such a great project - indeed, one I know I'm going to find extremely useful (once I can sort my phone out to access it properly). 

After attempting to get onto your Sway while watching the recording of your presentation, I realised I probably do need to get a new mobile phone. Although probably not an Apple, sadly, in spite of my daughter's pleading. ("Sorry, I can only afford for one of us to have an Apple iPhone - now should that be me - or you?" Strange how the pleas for me to have one suddenly fell silent!) I actually managed to get onto the site on my phone!!! but by the end of your presentation it still hadn't finished downloading and I have been unable to get onto Facebook, Twitter or any other Apps on it in spite of repeated efforts. (Usually while on the bus, as our local bus has free WiFi.) 

I think you mentioned wanting to make videos? If so, I recommend Animoto. I found it incredibly easy and quick to use. What took up most time was taking photos and screenshots to use for it. I've made two 2/3 minute videos for my students about referencing on Animoto and have seen a dramatic rise in the quality of their referencing this year although I'm not quite sure yet if that is related. 

I will recommend your Sway to my students too, so they can get into using Apps for study. Well done for getting linked in by Oxford Museum, although I'm not surprised - this is a really useful project for those of us who use IT a lot but aren't quite up to speed on it. Thank you for doing it. 

Denise McDonough
1:34am 5 March 2018

Thanks Anita! I bet there are few others quietly getting some tips! :-)

I also have problems on the bus wifi - it is hit and miss. Try it at home and let me know how it is or a computer. Many of the apps don't need wifi to use and will synchronise to the cloud (Evernote) later.

Thanks for your support thoroughout! You humanised and made it fun with all your cakes, cats and real life. I treasure meeting you. It often felt like the movie Gravity - dark, quiet and cold!

You have my email for support or we can messenger OK? BW, Denise

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