Nov 10 2014

What Do Students Dream for Higher Ed’s IT Future?

Three mobile-specific visions of the future of higher education, from a college student.

If we asked our parents what they look for in a mobile phone, they would tell us they want a device that makes calls on the go. They might mention texting.

This differs greatly from college students like me, who desire a mobile phone that calls, texts, receives email, surfs the web, runs complex apps, connects to social media sites, acts as an alarm, tells me where to drive and has not one, but two cameras (by the way, “selfie” was added to the dictionary this year).

However, even those features are becoming the norm and are giving way to new ones with more complex IT needs. Three mobile-specific capabilities that I, as a student, would like to see college campuses support in the next few years are print from phone, responsive design of school websites and Cisco StadiumVision.

Consider Supporting Printing from Phone

Students currently have the ability to print from their mobile devices, but many campuses do not support the function. There have been many times when I’ve been am ready to turn in a paper, only to notice a mistake that I couldn’t fix because I didn’t have my laptop. In these cases, a usable print-from-phone feature would be very useful.

Most printers on the majority of campuses don’t have the proper print server card to handle applications that allow direct printing from mobile devices, and universities have not been upgrading the cards because of their high price. A limited number of schools have set up a system with a type of middleman, in which the mobile device sends the document to another computer, which then contains the proper print driver to print the document. Unfortunately, most universities haven’t equipped their campuses with this capability, either.

More School Websites Need Responsive Design

Many students need constant access to grades, coursework, class schedules and campus maps. These items are easily accessible on a laptop or a desktop PC, but these devices aren’t always readily available. School sites that contain this information often are not responsive, meaning they do not adapt to the form factor of a mobile device.

Using a mobile device to access a site that is not responsive often involves constant zooming in and out and scrolling side to side — difficulties that can discourage people from using mobile devices to access these sites. Site responsiveness is imperative for universities that wish to fully support mobile devices.

Take Advantage of Cisco StadiumVision

Sporting events are often a large part of campus life, with students at many universities spending ample time in a stadium. Cisco StadiumVision engages fans in a unique way by providing access, via wireless devices, to live video feed, alternate camera angles, up-to-date statistics, real-time promotions and other features.

Many students have their phones out during a game, so it makes sense to take advantage of smartphone use in the stadium to advertise and cater to the sports geek who is obsessed with stats and replays and to the person who really needs to go to the bathroom but doesn’t want to miss that crucial free throw or third down.


This article is the part of the Campus Connect: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #CampusConnect hashtag.


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