Anyone who’s been to a shopping mall or multiplex lately knows today’s teens love their smartphones. Even if you’ve somehow managed to avoid the texting throngs to date, the good folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project can attest that teens love their pocket gadgets:
75% of US teens (ages 12-17) own a cell phone
38% send text messages every day
That number jumps to 51% for older teens (15-17)
In each case those numbers are on the increase. What can universities and colleges do to adapt?
Mobilize your CMS
Stanford University has created a mobile-enhanced web client so current students can access mail, contacts, calendar and email folders on the go – a useful service to be sure. However, the process could be even simpler for schools using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) based Content Management System (CMS). This approach was adopted by University College Falmouth in the UK.
There’s no need to create special URLs. Using a tool like Sitecore’s mobile module, for example, you can serve up content via mobile-friendly templates to visitors browsing from their smartphones – a cost-effective solution to an increasingly-important problem.
Is there an app for that?
Another way for higher education institutions to cater to the mobile crowd is by creating apps. These programs can be used in a number of interesting ways:
-Augment recruitment efforts: South Carolina’s College of Charleston launched an iPhone app that provides would-be students with an interactive, self-guided tour of the picturesque campus. Narration is provided by students and the app gives a sneak peak inside most of the buildings – including the president’s house.
-Promote student interaction: In another demonstration of their commitment to innovation, Stanford also has an iPhone app – one that will eventually allow students to find one another on a campus map and exchange messages within the application. The app was even developed by students, making this both a practical tool and a slick showcase for the school’s grads.
-Provide a one-stop shop for student information: Canada’s first university iPhone app, iUSask, gives students at the University of Saskatchewan access to their timetables, grades, a campus map and a lot more. Students can even search the library’s catalogue.
-Keep alumni informed: While the University of Texas’ iPhone app offers features for current students, including a map application that includes a bus schedule, alumni outreach is obviously a primary focus. Quick links take you to the latest news and sports information as well as the president’s blog.
Want to know more about managing content in higher ed?
NLC recently published a whitepaper all about content management for the higher education sector. And hey, if you’re feeling so inclined, get in touch with us to learn more about what we do.