Cañada College

Interactive Learning Network (ILN) in Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences

This project uses Tablet PCs and wireless technology to create an Interactive Learning Network (ILN) that allows real-time student assessment and assistance during classroom instruction. The ILN is designed to enhance the instructor’s ability to solicit active participation from all students during lectures, to conduct immediate and meaningful assessment of student learning, and to provide needed real-time feedback and assistance to maximize student learning.  This interactive classroom environment is created using wireless Tablet PCs and a software application, NetSupport School, that allows various levels of interactions between the instructor and the students during lectures, thereby enhancing the instructor’s ability to systematically monitor and control individual student progress, assess their understanding, and provide immediate feedback and assistance through the wireless network. 


One of the strengths of the Science and Technology Division at Cañada College is its student-centered approach to teaching and the amount of individual attention that the faculty devotes to students. The growth of the Engineering Department in recent years has made implementing this approach challenging.

The Interactive Learning Network is designed to address this problem by enhancing the instructor's ability to solicit active participation from all students during lectures, to conduct immediate and meaningful assessment of student learning, and to provide needed real-time feedback and assistance to maximize student learning. It will also provide opportunities for students to develop their ability to communicate effectively and function in a team in identifying, formulating and solving engineering problems.

Impact on Teaching

Through the Interactive Learning Network the instructor is able to:

  • Achieve active participation of all students during classroom instruction;
  • Increase the quantity and improve the quality of assessment of student learning;
  • Maximize the ability and opportunity to provide guidance and assistance when needed;
  • Improve students' ability to work and learn collaboratively;
  • Increase emphasis on understanding of foundational concepts rather than memorization of facts;
  • Tailor instruction and assistance according to individual student needs;
  • Obtain feedback and solicit questions from students who would not normally participate because it can be done anonymously if desired;
  • Get a better understanding of students’ different approaches to the same problem while allowing them to progress at their own pace.

“This approach is like individual tutoring that allows the instructor to work with each student’s needs systematically and efficiently, without leaving the instructor’s workstation using wireless technology.”
Tom Mohr, Cañada College President

Implementation (pedagogy)

Through the Interactive Learning Network, the focus in the classroom shifts from the teaching process to the learning process. Less time is spent by the instructor delivering content through traditional lectures. The lectures focus on introducing new concepts and applying them to a few simple examples. More involved examples are introduced as exercises that students work on individually or in groups using Windows Journal and appropriate software (Matlab, MultiSIM, AutoCAD) while the instructor observes their progress, assess their understanding by polling, address individual questions using NetSupport School software. Through this process the instructor guides students and assesses student progress using NetSupport’s Survey mode. Individual questions are received by the instructor through the Help Request feature, and assistance provided using Monitor, Share and Control features.

Implementation (technology)

During lectures, NetSupport School software allows a quick assessment of individual student understanding of concepts using instant student surveys. While students work on examples and exercises on their tablet PC's using Windows Journal, Netsupport School allows the instructor to scan and monitor students' work from the instructor's tablet PC. When needed, the instructor can assist individual students or groups of students by taking control of their PC's. The instructor is also able to effectively manage the various interactions through Group Chat, use of an electronic whiteboard, file transfer and distribution, other computer applications and web activity.

Impact on Student Learning

Student performance in the courses where the ILN was implemented on a regular basis show dramatic improvements. For fall semester’s Dynamics class, the class average homework and quizzes improved by 14%, the test average by 11 points, and the final exam by 9 points. The results compared here include the make-up tests given whenever the class as a whole does not do well. Last year, a make-up exam was given for 3 of the 4 tests, while no make-up exam is needed in any of the four tests this year. The percentage of students who got a grade of A in the class more than doubled that of the previous year.

For the spring 2006 Circuits and Devices class, student performance also showed significant improvement over the previous year. The class average homework was over 7% higher. The quiz average improved by 19%, the test average by 7% and the final exam by 8%. The percentage of students who received a grade of A in the class almost doubled. These gains in student performance are even more remarkable since number of students in the class increased from 28 in 2005 to 41 in 2006.

Results of a student survey of the impact of the project on their learning show overwhelmingly positive student opinions. Of the students surveyed, 78% agreed or strongly agreed that the tablet pc’s and the NetSupport School helped improve their performance in class, and 100% would like to have this technology in other courses.

Student Testimonials

A schematic of the Interactive Learning Network (ILN) model showing the interactions between the instructor (red) and the students (white) is shown. In this model, the instructor is able to initiate, monitor, manage, and control the various interactions between the instructor and individual students, among any selected groups of students, and among students within a group.

The project aims to use mobile technology to achieve intellectual engagement of all students during classroom instruction, and to reduce the barriers for educationally disadvantaged community college students by addressing different learning styles, and allowing for the design of more meaningful and timely assessment of student learning, as well as individualized instruction and assistance.

Quick Facts

Science and Technology Division

Courses Impacted:
Engineering Statics, Dynamics, Materials Science, Graphics and Circuit Analysis
General Physics
Computer Science


# Students Impacted: 150

# Faculty Involved: 4

This project is funded by an HP Technology for Teaching grant.

Students workingStudents working

Contact Us

Amelito Enriquez
Engineering and Mathematics

Martin Partlan

Charles Iverson
Computer Science and Mathematics

Raymond Lapuz

Project Presentations

Enriquez, A., “Impact of Tablet PC-Enhanced Interactivity on Student Performance in Sophomore-Level Engineering Dynamics Course,” Computers in Education Journal, Vol XVIII, No.3,2008, 69-84.

"Using Tablet PCs to Enhance Student Performance in an Introductory Circuits Course,” Proceedings: 2009 American Society of Engineering Education/Pacific Southwest Section Conference, San Diego, CA, March 19-20, 2008, 32-43.

"When Technology Makes a Difference: Studying the Impact of Interactive Learning Technologies on Student Performance," Strengthening Student Success Conference: Making a Difference, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA, October 3-5, 2007

"Maximizing Student Learning Through Real-Time Assessment,” Strengthening Student Success Conference: Making a Difference, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA, October 3-5, 2007

Developing an Interactive Learning Network Using Tablet PCs in Sophomore-Level Engineering Courses,” American Society of Engineering Education, 2007 Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI, June 24-27, 2007.

"Classroom Action Research on the Effectiveness of Instructional Technology,” California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association and The Research and Planning Group Conference, Orange County, CA, March 27th, 2007.

“Using NetSupport School to Create an Interactive Classroom,” HP Worldwide Technology for Teaching Conference, Monterey, CA, Feb. 7-8, 2007

"Innovations in Engineering Education using Tablet PCs – Panel Discussion with Four Institutions," 2006 Frontiers in Education Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct. 28-31, 2006

“HP Technology for Teaching Workshop:  Using Technology to Create an Interactive Learning Environment,” Professional Development Workshop for San Mateo County Community College District, August 15, 2006.

“Developing an Interactive Learning Network in Sophomore-Level Engineering Courses,” HP Worldwide Technology for Teaching Conference, Monterey, CA, Feb. 2, 2006
Received the “Best Evidence of Impact Award” as voted by conference participants.

"Interactive Learning Network using Tablet PC’s,” Fall 2005 Engineering Liaison Council (ELC) Conference - Teaching Techniques Session, Fremont, CA, November 8, 2005.



Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, "Understanding by Design, Expanded Second edition," ACSD, 2005.

Dennis C. Jacobs, "Implementing and Assessing Cooperative Learning in a Large Section of General Chemistry," presented at the HP Engineering Retention Symposium, Nov. 5, 2003.

Koile, K., and D.A. Singer. “ Development of a Tablet-PC-based System to Increase Instructor-Student Classroom Interactions and Student Learning.” Proc WIPTE 2006 (Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education), Purdue University, April, 2006.

This project supported in part by an HP Technology for Teaching grant.

This electronic portfolio was created using the KML Snapshot Tool™, a part of the KEEP Toolkit™,
developed at the Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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