Carmilla Update

The new year has only just begun and we have already trialled the use of another literary app! This time round it was the level 7 module LITM017 Pulp Visions and a session on J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Gothic text Carmilla. M.A. students looked at Draculaapp’s Carmilla app, exploring how the software worked and what the strengths and weaknesses of the app are. Overall, the experience was a positive one, with student Anthony Stepniak commenting, “The ‘Opps for Apps’ project is helping to take literary studies into the new digital age. With the text, combined with lots of contextual extras, it allows both student and staff a shared innovative foundation from which to critique a text. As someone who has experienced the use of literary apps in a seminar, I welcome them as a new and much needed addition to the study of literature”. Next up we will be trialling the use of the award winning TouchPress app “The Wasteland” in level 5 Modernism seminars.


We recently handed over our project Ipads to Dr Lorna Jowett from the Film and Screen Studies department. Lorna, and her M.A. students, have kindly agreed to take part in the ‘Opps for Apps’ project, and to try out the Carmilla app in the level 7 module Pulp Visions. Students will get a chance to explore the app in the penultimate seminar of thescreen320x480 module just after the Christmas break.

Symposium Update

Guests are rapidly signing up for the ‘Opps for Apps’ symposium to be held on June 17rth 2015. The latest guests to confirm their attendance at the event are Professor Andrew C. Goodwyn from The University of Reading and Selam Zeru from the app company TouchPress (responsible for Shakespeare’s Sonnets and  The Wasteland apps that we are using in the project). It already promises to be a really interesting day for all involved, so why not contact either Sonya Andermahr, David Simmons or Larissa Allwork if you want to attend. More names to follow soon!



First App session and preliminary results

The first sessions using apps have taken place in Dr Richard Chamberlain’s Shakespeare class on Othello. After an hour of tutor-led discussion of the play, students were handed ipads pre-loaded with the Explore Shakespeare: Othello app. Richard had prepared a handout identifying some of the play’s key themes and issues, and students were encouraged to use the app to explore one or more of these. After 40 minutes of app-exploration, students used the ipads to complete the online survey and record their views about the app and its suitability for use in the H.E. classroom.

Preliminary results suggest students responded favourably but not uncritically to the use of apps in the classroom. The overwhelming majority found the app either highly or quite relevant to their study of the play, extremely user-friendly, helpful in developing critical skills, and a useful addition to conventional resources. However, several students thought it was better suited to general use outside the classroom and felt it was aimed more at school age audience. It will be interesting to see if subsequent sessions on the other apps in the study bear out or contrast with these early findings.


Today we handed over the first Ipads and material to our first participating member of staff, Dr Richard Chamberlain. Richard will be using the app in his Shakespeare seminars on Othello next week. We look forward to hearing back from Richard and the students that are involved with this initial stage of the project in a few weeks time.


Apps Alert! Seminar Dates Announced

Othello (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s time for students to start app-lying themselves! The following sessions will be dedicated to using apps in seminars and getting student feedback on the experience:

The Othello App with Dr Richard Chamberlain

Session 1: Thursday 27th November, 9am-11am (MR33)

Session 2: Friday 28th November, 9am-11am (MY36)

‘The Waste Land’ App with Dr Gerri Kimber

TS Eliot Plaque (Wikimedia Commons)

Session 1: Tuesday 20th January, 4pm-6pm (MY36)

Session 2: Wednesday 21st January, 9am-11am (MR34)

Session 3: Thursday 22nd January, 11am-1pm (MY35)

The Shakespeare’s Sonnets App with Dr Meghann Hillier-Broadley

Shakespeare Portrait (Wikimedia Commons)

Session 1: Tuesday February 3rd, 9am-11am (MR10)

Session 2: tuesday February 3rd, 11am-1pm (MY35)

Session 3: Friday February 6th, 3pm-5pm (MR 36)

The Carmilla App with Dr Lorna Jowett 

Session 1: Monday 12th January, 6pm-9pm (MR33)

In preparation for each of these sessions, the ‘Opps for Apps’ team will be on hand to assist with any questions or queries.

Carmilla.jpg (Wikimedia Commons)
Nineteenth century illustration from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla which was first published in The Dark Blue (Wikimedia Commons).

Let Us Know About Your HE App Experiences

Hi all, we’d like to use this shared Google doc as an informal repository to document and record any experiences staff at The University of Northampton have had using educational apps on their smart phones and tablets.

If you would like to contribute, please do so. We’d be interested to hear about apps that you’ve encountered, whether you’ve ever used any apps to aid your teaching in any way, and anything else related to the broad subject of apps in HE. Thanks!


The Questionnaire has landed!

With help from our brilliant colleagues from LearnTech, Rob Farmer and Al Holloway, we have designed a feedback questionnaire using Google docs.  We’ve uploaded it onto this site (see below) but have yet to decide how to organise student access to it. To get the best return rate, we’d ideally like to ask students to fill it in in situ at the end of each class where the apps will be used.

Our SoTA Learning & Teaching co-ordinator, James Smith, has also offered some great advice suggesting, for example, that we use a Google doc list to find out which apps our colleagues across the School and institution have been using in their teaching.  This will help us compile our Directory of Apps.

We’ve now decided which classes and seminars will utilise the apps: the first one will be road tested in week 9 so  there’s not long to go. Let’s hope our order for the itunes cards is processed soon!