Mobile Devices in Colleges: An Educause Study

Posted by Lauren Moffett on Mon, Dec, 10, 2012 @ 09:12 AM

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A 2011 survey from Educause states that IT professionals, students, and professors, alike, agree that mobile devices have a place in the future of Higher Education.

Students are driving the adoption of mobile computing in higher education. Younger people own and use mobile devices at higher rates than older generations, and they increasingly expect institutional services to be available on those devices.

But Colleges and Universities are still hesitant to start adapting online resources to be mobile enabled; only about a third of the colleges polled said that they were working on mobile solutions.

So, what’s the hold up? 

“Few phenomena better illustrate the current pace of technological change than the recent rise of mobile computing. Technology that a decade ago would have seemed pure science fiction has become an indispensable accessory for modern life. The majority of the students, faculty, and staff in higher education now wield powerful mobile devices that sport high-resolution video cameras, geolocation awareness, and omnipresent high-speed Internet access—features that will forever change our classrooms and campuses … Campuses are grappling with what it means to support mobile users. More than providing infrastructure, this support involves harnessing technology to deliver totally new services and rethinking—at some pretty deep levels—how we go about the business of teaching and research.” 

The infographic that follows is a summary of the findings from Educause’s research.

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When a majority of youth spends a majority of their time on their mobile devices, wouldn’t it be logical for Universities to provide mobile solutions? Students agree with this plea: “A third of students see mobile devices as an important component of academic success, and majorities regularly use their devices for academic activities.” This number would grow if more Universities adapted their IT to be and think about mobility. 

Visualize the Future

Imagine this with me: a college has its website adapted so that students can view course descriptions, grades, assignments, events, and the like on their phones. Wouldn’t this free up enrollment services? What if students were able to pay their bill through the app that was created in order to satisfy the mobile need? On top of these things, communication opens immensely with mobile apps and accessibility. If a student needs to contact a professor, dean, or tutor, it could all be available here, from their phone. The possibilities are endless. 

In order to catch up to trends and propel themselves into the future, I think that universities need to accept and adopt mobile computing practices in their institutions. It would be a great investment that would boost student involvement and satisfaction.

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Topics: higher education, mobile devices