Alternative textbooks and tablets in Engineering

Am just sitting in the final exam for AME 3153 Fluidmechanics with Dr. Kurt Gramoll, who is one of our Alternative Textbook Pilots for the year. He wrote a great post about his project in this blog, but it is a fascinating experience to see his project in action.

Dr. Gramoll has already created open textbooks for his students, and uses these books for all of his classes.  You can find out more at his website,, as well as from the write-up on our Alternative Textbook Guide.  He allows students to use the textbook and their notes for the exams, but to make the online textbook available and limit access to the open web, he needed to move into a more controlled environment – for this pilot, that means using Android Tablets to create a controlled environment for student exams.

The apps and platform he has created for his students is an amazing solution. Through the controlled tablets, they students take the exams  – questions and response submissions are on the tablets.  While still running the exam app, student can access the full online textbook, RealCalc and WolframAlpha to assist them in completing the exam.  The app also gives students a listing of submitted responses (saved on the server just in case), the current time, and the time remaining for the exam.  Dr. Gramoll can monitor student submissions in real time, watching student progress throughout the exam.

It is really amazing to see the project in action, and makes me really proud to be on the OU campus.


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