Despite the advantages of using mobile devices for online collaborative learning, users face a possible loss of functionality. A test of mobile platforms for Cyber Peer-Led Team Learning (cPLTL) found three viable choices.
BiographyPratibha Varma-Nelson is Professor of Chemistry and the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Varma-Nelson joined the faculty of Saint Xavier University, Chicago in 1979 where she received tenure in 1985 and was promoted to Professor in 1992 and served as department co-chair from 1992-1995. She moved to Northeastern Illinois University in July of 2002 as Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics. From August 2006-2008 she was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Undergraduate Education. Since 1995 Dr. Varma-Nelsonâ€™s scholarly contributions have been in chemical education. She is known in the STEM education community for her pioneering work in development, implementation and dissemination of the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) model of teaching. She has been a Co-PI of two NSF funded National Dissemination Grants awarded to the PLTL project and was senior partner of the Multi Initiative National Dissemination (MID) Project. In addition she was a founding Co-PI of the first NSF funded Undergraduate Research Center â€œCenter for Authentic Science Practice in Education, (CASPiE)â€. Her research group is currently working on development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of cyber-PLTL (cPLTL). For work on cPLTL she has received funding from IUPUI, NSF, and Educause. Varma-Nelson is co-author of several publications about PLTL, cPLTL and CASPiE. She has made numerous presentations in national and international venues. She reviews regularly for the NSF and for JCE. She co-authored the 2011 AAAS report, â€œVision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action.â€ She was the co-recipient of the 2008 James Flack Norris award for her role in developing PLTL Workshop, in 2011 she was awarded the Stanley C. Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences. Her team was recently selected for the 2012 Sloan-C Award for Effective Practices in Online and Blended Education. She has been selected as the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine 2013 Woodward Lecturer.
As cyber peer-led team learning matures, adopting institutions have queried whether other web conferencing platforms might replace or supplement the original platform.
Given the proven success of peer-led team learning, an experiment explored whether cyber PLTL could achieve similar success, especially in STEM fields.