The mobile college
Posted by David McAughtrie
It's easy to fall behind the curve in the modern digital age. However, some colleges are making great strides in keeping up with the rapidly expanding technological resources available on the market today. For example, colleges began using the Blackboard program during the early 2000s to provide students with an Internet-based tool for accessing courses, submitting assignments and tracking grades, in addition to offering an online platform for discussion among classmates and with instructors. This advancement helped drive an increase in the number of fully online courses.
Today, the use of mobile technology – the top-growing area of the digital realm – is one of the major ways colleges are connecting with students and providing them with access to the information they need. As young adults who have never gone without access to iPhones and Android devices reach college age, there is no better tool than cell phones to make sure educational institutions stay linked with students. This focus goes beyond just responsive website design; many colleges are now designing dedicated applications (apps) for accessing school resources.
Colleges like Ohio State University, Texas A&M, the University of Alabama, The University of California, San Diego and (of course) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are all releasing mobile apps for use by their student body. Through these apps, students can access grades, course listings, bus and shuttle schedules, maps, event schedules (including athletics) and security information. They can also access the library system, purchase course materials, check their balance with university dining or locate contact information for professors and administration.
Moreover, some apps provide identification in case students lose or forget their IDs. MIT’s app allows students to provide feedback regarding building and infrastructure issues, expediting repairs.
By allowing students to easily interact with their universities through mobile devices, schools can maintain strong lines of communication and help prevent student frustrations that could eventually lead to higher dropout rates. In other words, the easier and more efficient it is for students to find the information they need to thrive, the more they will integrate into the college culture and the greater success they will have during their years in higher education.
Boost student success
Students have greater options for the pursuit of advanced training than ever before. As consumers of higher education, students expect a high ROI from their education, in terms of employment, value and overall experience. Regulators and funding organizations also scrutinize educational institutions like never before.
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