mobile phone app / gateway to elearning stuff

Post a conversation with Gwen about an innovative iPhone app which was demo’d at her recent visit to Southampton, the conversation about mobile phone apps / access to elearning stuff maybe worth revisiting. Especially as I’ve a meeting with Alan hayes soon, plus recent conversations with Paul Walk.

The iPhone app from Southamption (iSoton) http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/about/news/2913 – allows students to check bus timetables, maps of campus and rooms. I did try to install on an iTouch, but no luck, it appears I need to update my OS !!! Given the uncertainty of device penetrationwith students, plus the emergence of Google andriod devices / OS, I’m wondering if an iPhone App is the right option, plus the need for much more info on the device.

We’ve previously discussed the idea of a mobile gateway where students could access information, plus control the way this information is accessed. I’d suggest we might wish to revisit this idea. For instance, the provision of an authenticated web site (in the style of the BBC’s mobile homepage – customisable, very usable and is cross compatible with all mobile devices), where people could access the following type of services;

Generic

  • Feed addresses from University News, Twitter Feeds
  • Travel timetable (buses)

Departmental

  • Departmenal News

Student Union

  • Student Union News
  • Societies news (subscribe from a list)

Learning and Teaching

  • Moodle –  subscribe to info from selected courses (you select the units to display via the interface): News forums, latest news, calendar, assignment activity deadlines
  • Panopto, podcasts etc –  subscribe to the latest panopto (lecture capture) recordings
  • WordPress blogs and confluence wiki updates

The way the BBC software works it’s a glorified rss aggegator, portal link bin. It a sense, we’ve already got the information above being produced, it is developing a system which would bring this together. Given the interface with a large number of other teams (web services would have a very high stake in this), i’d suggest in the initial period we investigate the development of a mobile learning and teaching portal. It could then be relatively easily rolled out to include other services.

In the first phase we’d focus on identifing how to do this, scooping out user needs, future proofing via web services, and moodle 2.0, then developing the service.

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