OGDEN, Utah – As the demand for mobile technology increases, Weber State University is making a concerted effort to meet the mobile needs of those on campus — whether on an iPhone, Android or tablet.
The mobile push has been fueled and driven in large part by WSU students. WSU’s Information Technology Division currently employs six students who are helping develop new mobile apps. A student club, sponsored and advised by the IT Division, is dedicated to mobile web development and has also proven to be a valuable resource. The Department of Computer Science offers a mobile web development class. This semester Vice President for Information Technology Bret Ellis is also teaching an honors class dedicated to the exploration of tablet computing systems and their value and use in the classroom.
“Going forward we are thinking mobile first in all of our new development,” said WSU Web services manager Peter Waite. “The first question we ask is ‘does it make sense for mobile?’ If so, then we start there first. If it doesn't, then we look to the desktop or other platforms.”
WSU’s mobile efforts have become a campus-wide initiative. Campus educators, staff and students are coming together for conversations about the place of mobile technology in the classroom, innovative teaching methods utilizing mobile technology and a campus-wide plan for mobile tech support.
WSU’s mobile website (m.weber.edu), which officially launched earlier this month, provides links to many areas of the traditional WSU website that mobile users are most likely to be looking for — such as university email, campus maps and the university calendar.
WSU students and staff have also developed a mobile application suite. One app allows students to track quizzes, tests and assignments. Another app allows users to locate the various open student computer labs on campus and see how many computers are currently available in each lab. The WSU Bookstore, KWCR 88.1 Weber FM and the Student Recruitment Office also have apps. A number of other apps are under development and should be released soon. WSU computer science student Klint Holmes has been the lead developer of many of the apps.
WSU also has 17 text messaging services available to subscribe to from various campus organizations. Many of them have hundreds of subscribers.
More users in more places on campus also increases the need for enhanced network infrastructure so that users’ mobile devices have strong enough connectivity. WSU is preparing to dramatically increase the number of internet access points on campus to try to address that need.
“This effort is based on the need to communicate with students in the way that makes sense for them,” Ellis said. “Mobile technology will create engaging learning opportunities, allow new and innovative interactions with faculty, keep students informed about their education and provide community members access to the campus.”
Visit weber.edu/mobile for more information about WSU’s mobile efforts.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
- Bret Ellis, Vice President for Information Technology
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Peter Waite, Web Services Manager
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