About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4027-4034
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0784

Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain

UNIVERSITY MOBILE APP AS A SERVICE CHANNEL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

H. Kuusela

Lahti University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
Studying is much more than just learning. In everyday study life, a student goes through other processes and activities, such as administrative operations, eating, moving, information gathering, socialising etc. Furthermore, learning and these closely related learning-related activities take place more and more outside school and classroom settings. For example, our university has dramatically cut down both physical learning space and staff hours allocated to face-to-face interaction. These developments set a clear challenge to higher education institutions.

As a response to these phenomena, we decided to build a campus mobile application to serve as a channel for various university services. The application – or shortly App – provides a portable user interface that brings together existing services, and also new features. The idea is to facilitate learning-related processes and thus to enable students to allocate more time to valuable core learning activities. Services are available straight-on: with one login, students can reach their personal information from various sources and personalise the App user interface and contents with saved preference and settings.

The App was published on app stores in September 2017 and the first version included features such as schedules, classrooms and other learning spaces, lunch lists, learning events (deadlines, meetings etc.) and route guide (public transport). In the November 2017 update, we added two new features: News, which brings latest news from university intranet, and Library, which includes list of user’s loans with renewal option, holds, accrued fines, and also a virtual library card - so there is one less plastic card a student has to carry on her/him. In forthcoming updates, we will bring even more sections to the App, for example a Help and Feedback function where user can attach explanatory images, study progress monitoring features, student discounts and coupons, events list and map, mobile payment possibility, and campus security features. Over 1500 users have already downloaded the App, even though we are quite a small university.

Why did we built the App ourselves and did not buy a ready-made product? There are three basic reasons. First, we want to have the freedom to develop the App the way we like, without limits or constraints. Secondly, we have a systematic strategic focus on providing “Mobile First” services for our students, staff and stakeholders. This means that our campus mobile application will not be the last mobile app we build. Third reason is that we see our mobile development platform as a learning environment: students from various disciplines can take part in real-world projects and contribute to mobile services used by themselves or by our partners.

We have not been able to do much research on this topic, as we have concentrated on building and developing the App, but we do have every day more and more user feedback data, and our App has raised a lot of interest among higher education actors. This abstract and possible full paper would be more of a case study and a concrete basis for further investigation and discussion.
@InProceedings{KUUSELA2018UNI,
author = {Kuusela, H.},
title = {UNIVERSITY MOBILE APP AS A SERVICE CHANNEL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT},
series = {12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-9480-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2018.0784},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2018.0784},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {4027-4034}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Kuusela
TI - UNIVERSITY MOBILE APP AS A SERVICE CHANNEL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
SN - 978-84-697-9480-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2018.0784
PY - 2018
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2018
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2018 Proceedings
SP - 4027
EP - 4034
ER -
H. Kuusela (2018) UNIVERSITY MOBILE APP AS A SERVICE CHANNEL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, INTED2018 Proceedings, pp. 4027-4034.
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