Creating a Mobile Campus
How are US Universities and Colleges adopting technology into classrooms?
We’ve been going through a ton of research into the various ways schools are integrating technology to create a mobile campus environment – from BYOD (bring-your-own-device) choices and solutions for inside of the classroom to the education enhancements outside of class. What we found are new approaches to learning.
A Mobile-First Approach
The University of Texas System is driving for student success with new education initiatives such as the launch of TEx (Total Educational Experience). This is a personalized, mobile-first learning environment with the goal of making the UT system more accessible and affordable (TEx). The Institute for Transformational Learning (ITL) has developed a proprietary mobile-first application to boost student engagement and retention. The application is accessible from a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone so that students can be plugged into their education no matter where they are located. This is one way that schools are dealing with the mobile campus concept.
There’s an App for That
Small IT teams at large universities and community colleges are among those leading the way to create a mobile campus experience. At the University of Central Florida they chose application streaming – which is where applications run directly from a virtual machine on a central server. According to UCF’s IT and communications director, this choice was made because of the flexibility if gives students access anytime, anywhere. Students can use their UCF Apps on any device (mobile phone, tablet, desktop) from any place. While this is a pilot program right now, the potential here is in how UCF is improving the experience of making coursework outside of the classroom.
It’s powerful to see anonymous data collected from classmates in real-time, so many college professors are engaging students in discussion with polls in class. However, the many programs out there often require a computer or specific program to be installed. More and more educators are switching to SMS (text message) polls. There’s no technology divide or extra download / app requirements with SMS, so professors get more flexibility. Now students can respond with their own personal device, and the professor can share the results within an online portal for later reference.
The key with these polls is the engagement from the less outspoken students. In a typical class of 75 students, there may be 3-5 heavy hitters who dominate the conversation. Using the SMS polls, however, more students are participating and it’s causing a deeper discussion on topics.
Outside of learning and course management, the other key areas where mobility solutions are being applied are in the library services, student recruitment and administrative services. More to come on these topics soon…