CS 275 Mathematical Foundations of Algorithms - Gegg-Harrison

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About This Article

This article describes how mobile computing, specifically tablets, was piloted in Professor Tim Gegg-Harrison's CS 275 Mathematical Foundations of Algorithms to transform teaching and learning.

Intended Audience

WSU instructors interested in past faculty experience with tablet devices in the classroom.

Fall 2013 iPad Pilot

Students in this course had access to an iPad tablet to use throughout the fall semester and again the spring semester of 2014 along with several apps selected by Dr. Gegg-Harrison for use in class and off campus.

How the iPads are Used in CS 275

The iPads were used two ways in CS 275. First, the textbook for CS 275 is one Dr. Gegg-Harrison is writing and recently reformatted as an iBook. Secondly, Dr. Gegg-Harrison and Dr. Nicole Anderson developed an iPad app that was used to introduce mathematical induction.

Dr. Gegg-Harrison set the following objectives for the pilot:

  • Determine viability of e-textbook. The major objectives of the pilot were to experiment with the use of an electronic textbook (specifically an iBook) as the primary text for the class.
  • Experiment with the use of an application to teach mathematical induction. Try using application(s) on the iPad to teach the concepts behind mathematical induction.


Changes in the classroom

  • Students readily had their textbook available in class. Although it is possible for students to haul hardcopy textbooks to class, experience shows they might choose not to carry it. The portability of the iBook meant that they all had their textbook with them in class. Professor Gegg-Harrison gave attitudinal surveys for CS 275 last year (when students received the textbook as a PDF that they could view on their laptops or print out if they so desired) and again this year (when students received the textbook as an iBook that they could view on their iPads). The vast majority of students preferred the iBook to the PDF version of the text. The main advantage that they cited was the portability of the iBook.
  • Change in understanding of mathematical induction. Although we still need to do a more extensive analysis, it appears as though the exercise that involved the use of the Disperse application improved the students understanding of mathematical induction.


  • Continue using the iPad in this class, both for the iBook and the Disperse app as well as some other applications that Professors Gegg-Harrison and Anderson are currently working on.

iPad Applications Employed in CS 275

Professor Gegg-Harrison used the following applications in his CS 275 iPad pilot:

  • iBook
  • Disperse

Descriptions, pricing, and links to iTunes for each of these applications is available on the iPad Pilot Applications page.

More Information

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