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Lessons in developing a mobile application for a Thai university Antony Harfield Department of...

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Lessons in developing a mobile application for a Thai university Antony Harfield Department of Computer Science and IT, Faculty of Science, Naresuan University Slide 2 Im going to be talking about... an iPhone application on Naresuan University for students, staff and visitors developed by undergrad students as part of a final year project But first... Slide 3 Campus electronics Smartphones and tablets are the devices of choice for todays student (not the laptop?) 2010 ECAR Study (survey of 100 US educational institutions)... roughly half of the students interviewed owned mobile devices with Internet access. 2012? Slide 4 Campus mobilization Slow to adapt to the mobilized student Quinn on mLearning in higher education: The 2010 Campus Computing survey shows that only 13.1% of institutions already have developed or enabled mobile learning and administrative capabilities, and only another 10.1% are doing so in the 2010-2011 academic year. Slide 5 The Thai perspective Similar pattern... Survey at Mahidol: almost all students have either laptop, smartphone or tablet But not many mobile applications: currently 4 apps on the Apple App Store (for iPhone) Slide 6 Not all bad news... Some universities are starting to embrace mobile Example: University of Warwick (UK) Access timetables/exam results, renew library books, number of free workstations in computer rooms Bus timetables, event listings and sign-up Showcasing student work Not yet fully integrating learning and admin Slide 7 Not all bad news... Example (from a college in the US): students use mobile apps to answer questions in class No one killer app that fits every professors teaching style Slide 8 Why so slow? Expertise Expensive Already invested in web Incompatible Just slow Slide 9 What mobile-based services can supportlearning, communicationand administration in higher education? Social networking?Mobile LMS? Many possibilities Slide 10 Mobile is no longer separate from social networking and everyday access to information and resources and hence it needs to become an integral part of higher education practice (Kukulska-Hulme) Slide 11 Developing an app at NU Technical considerations Social considerations Political considerations Slide 12 Technical considerations Choice of technology... Native apps: iPhone, Android or WP7 Web-based apps: use common web technologies and potentially can run on many platforms Slide 13 Technical considerations Designing for mobile is not the same as desktop/web Physical differences: screen size and input method Mobile apps used frequently, but for very short periods of time... waste of time to duplicate a university website Slide 14 NU app: initial requirements Find a room/building/service on campus Search a map for nearby places View a student or teachers timetable Find out about events and news Search and renew books from the library Connect to Facebook pages and YouTube sites Slide 15 NU app: implementation Implemented on iPhone (but Android version is now under development) Requirements: Mac, Xcode, iOS Developer Account for submitting to the App Store Apple must review your app Slide 16 Slide 17 Issues On time & effort... Kukulska-Hulme: academic staff were deterred by the perceived amount of time and effort they would need to invest in understanding mobile learning when it was considered peripheral to the delivery of their courses. Not always true... harness existing data or systems... utilise social platforms/sources (Facebook, YouTube) Slide 18 Issues On integrating data... Utilise existing data were possible NU app pulls data from registrar website (student and lecturer timetables, exam times, etc) Tap into news/event feeds (RSS) Would like to use the library data Slide 19 Issues On resistance... In the UK: Research shows that in many areas, the majority of pupils own a smartphone, but many schools ban the devices and the National Association of Head Teachers says they hold potential for mischief and distraction. Slide 20 Issues On ownership... Some departments defensive about their data (especially true in Thailand) Example: library would like to control who has access to its data (even the public catalog) Slide 21 Conclusion Mobile is happening now! Key question: how can universities decide what services (administration, communication, learning) to provide on mobile? Slide 22 Thank you References are included in the paper Download our app (search for Naresuan on the App Store) Feel free to drop me an email: [email protected] Or visit us in CSIT at Naresuan University

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