App learning

By Joel Sked

Lectures to hand

Studying at university has taken a step further into the digital age thanks to the latest smartphone innovation introduced by the University of Edinburgh.

With requests from students to allow them to view timetables and course information from their phone the university came up with the application which should work on Apple’s iPhones, Blackberry, Nokia’s and HTC phones.

The £80,000 Mobile Campus App project is set to be introduced in January and last for a minimum of three years.

It is an idea that was originally introduced by the University of Dundee, labelled the Dundee Connect app. It allows students to search for e-mail addresses of university staff, view library card records and locate campus maps amongst other add-ons. The application from the Edinburgh University goes one further and gives students information about their course with updates about assignments or timetable changes.

Despite reservations about students deciding against going to classes and staying in bed to ‘study’ on their phone Edinburgh students believe it will be a useful application as long as information is up-to-date.

Student Matthew Dickie, 21, said: “It seems a good idea in principle but it’s entirely dependent on it being interactively updated frequently as out of date information can be problematic.”

MA in Business Studies student Murray Hughes feels it will make the university much more accessible. He said: “It has the makings of a good idea. Students don’t check their e-mail everyday and are more likely to use an interactive app. It helps students like me who travel from outwith Edinburgh make sure we are not coming into  university only to learn the class has been cancelled or moved.”

The success of the new application will be watched closely by other universities including Edinburgh Napier.

Neil Austin, Head of Customer Service for Student Affairs, at Edinburgh Napier is keen to speak to those involved in the application at Edinburgh University. Especially after UCAS have been promoting an application for student recruitment.

He told Edinburgh Napier News: “We haven’t actually heard about the app but any innovation that can help our students is something that interests us and are keen to look into.

“We will have to research the the cost and accessibility to see how many students would use it. By 2013 more people will be using the internet on their phone than on their PC. It is certainly the way forward.”