Engaging with University Students of Today through Mobile Innovation

Mobile Man / Monday, August 22, 2016

It’s now the norm for every college student to be connected to the Internet via their smartphones, tablets or laptops. With Wi-Fi accessible across campus, students can be connected all hours of the day. But, while the students themselves are using up-to-date technology many other parts of the university (and higher education establishments in general) are struggling to keep up.

“Ask any student ‘how has technology been used to improve the classroom or enhance the learning experience?’ and you will get a blank expression. Technology has infused and changed every part of this generation’s life—except for education.”

Donn Davis, co-founder, Revolution

In just two years, those born in the start of this millennium will be eligible to attend college (let that one sink in!) and as such it’s fair to assume that those students will expect certain technologies, software and hardware as standard. And as we continue further into the digital age, this expectation will only increase into the following generations. Other sectors are wasting no time in making the most of advanced software: e-commerce, entertainment, and travel have witnessed reduced costs and improved communications thanks to a host of improved tech. For education institutions, both students and teachers have the opportunity to benefit massively from mobile technologies, and yet a technology gap still remains.

The value of mobile apps

A study on mobile education in the United States by GMSA indicates that utilizing mobile in higher education establishments is quickly becoming an area for rapid innovation and subsequent growth. The study suggests a substantial move towards the adoption of mobile devices and applications among students and professors on campuses throughout the United States. Another interesting conclusion was that the expectation of access to a device – namely a laptop – is a given within higher education, but more recently has witnessed many universities making the switch from laptops to tablets, or even offering both.

Today’s students, more than ever before, expect personalized, mobile interactions in their education – with peers, professors and the broader campus community – as well as solutions to assist in managing their schedules and workloads. Common practices such as viewing class material, listening to podcasts or lecturer presentations, and checking class schedules can be done from a student’s personal smartphone. On the other side of the coin, lecturers, professors and other campus educators can benefit from a centralized space for subject information – using mobile devices to notify students of class updates, conduct quizzes, tests or polls and submit data while doing classroom field work, as well as directing their own ongoing personal research.

As the study shows, 70% of CIOs and senior IT leaders see mobile apps as an important part of campus plans to enhance instructional resources and campus services moving forward. Subsequently, some universities have begun to move away from running their own costly laptop programs, as the proliferation of student-owned smartphones and tablets and an ever-present Wi-Fi connection has lessened this need considerably. Instead, they are focusing their efforts on a solution that can empower faculty members, students and even campus alumni to connect with each other and to the information and resources they need. Particular interest lies in the potential use and support of campus mobile apps, acknowledged as “the new campus portal buttons on a smartphone screen replace the bookmarks on an internet browser or the hot links on a campus portal.”

Extend your existing portal to support mobile working

A tool such as SharePlus, from Infragistics, provides a flexible and reliable native mobile solution for both iOS and Android devices.

A centralized, connected workspace

Whether on-premises or in the cloud, students and teachers can access a single mobile workspace to work individually and as part of a team. SharePlus gives you the ability to collaborate on documents with SharePoint, Office 365, Dropbox, Google Drive and more. Calendars, announcements, tasks, social features and more are all available with the ease of mobile access.

A personalized experience

Different universities each with different faculties, staff and management result in a variety of different teaching styles and methods. Therefore, a solution that accommodates high levels of customization is vital for meeting the unique needs of higher education establishments. Custom mobile workspaces offer users a focused environment that is tailored to their needs.

The security of information

The increase in mobile devices and native mobile apps is often accompanied by concerns over the security of the content stored on them. SharePlus allows you to easily enforce and manage permissions, ensuring you’re in control at all times. Built-in security features and MDM integration offer added security to make sure sensitive information and content is right where it needs to be.

For more information on how SharePlus can help your institution transition in the modern way of working anywhere, anytime, visit the SharePlus site, or contact us today.