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Articles: Mobile

Wi-FI, academic technology and data security will see big investments in 2015. (Click to enlarge graphic)

What cutting-edge devices are going to demand campus bandwidth in the near future? The 21st century versions of two old stand-bys: the refrigerator and the wrist watch. Sure, there will still be plenty of laptops, tablets and smartphones crowding the Wi-Fi, but the “internet of things” and wearable technology are coming to campus, forcing CIOs to yet again boost the power of their networks.

#ivorytower—The CNN Films broadcast of "Ivory Tower" on Nov. 20 started a social media frenzy, inspiring more than 12,000 tweets as of mid-December.

When the piece first aired publicly, many viewers live-tweeted—for a total of nearly 9,400 tweets on Nov. 20, according to Topsy, a social web search engine. The film’s central question asks, “Is college worth the cost?”

UB Top Products

University Business is proud to announce this year’s Readers’ Choice Top Products. College and university leaders from across the country have nominated the products they are using to operate their institutions more efficiently and enhance students’ experiences.

Karine Joly

If the 10 years I’ve spent observing and analyzing the industry since I started my blog are any indication, there’s one prediction I can make with complete confidence: The new year will have its share of surprises and challenges. Keep these five trends in mind.

Here's how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with alumni.

If you build it, they will come. Your alumni are already Facebooking, tweeting and linking in, in ever-increasing numbers. Colleges and universities are taking advantage of this activity to launch and grow robust social networks of graduates that strengthen alumni engagement, boost volunteerism and stimulate giving.

Karine Joly: Your social media policy and the network's terms of service have different purposes.

“Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.”

This rallying cry against the “let’s do as we always did” approach has helped the digital professionals take their seat at the decision table in many institutions. Yet this unorthodox advice may have been embraced too literally in the social media field. It’s no wonder that some enthusiastic and well-meaning social media managers still break basic rules with the institutional accounts they oversee.

The average college student now spends about $1,200 per year on course materials. (Click to enlarge)

Textbook publishing has long been seen as an impenetrable business, with five major players controlling most of the nearly $14 billion industry. But in recent years, the shift to digital and open-access content has led to a proliferation of free and low-cost alternatives.

Meanwhile, spiraling costs, massive student debt, changing consumer demands and public as well as legislative efforts have pushed the industry toward a true disruption that is now widely considered to be inevitable.

Azusa Pacific University in California first used the #iHeartAPU hashtag in 2011 to hype up orientation, where students get T-shirts with the phrase.

Incoming, current and prospective students and alumni were using #iHeartAPU year-round, so a new hashtag—#APUBound—was introduced in 2013. That one is now used to interact with students in the months leading up to orientation.

Students of Dallas County Community College District can access the individual website for each of its seven colleges via the system’s app to find news, photos and social media activity. The app helps cut down on the number of incoming calls to various campus offices.

With apps now a fixture on the vast majority of campuses, colleges and universities are no longer debating whether to develop their own mobile platforms. Instead, they are creating the next generation of apps for students who turn to their smartphones for everything from checking their grades to checking their laundry.

RoomFinder was developed by Rohan Vakil, while he was a student at Bryant University.

Students at Bryant University, like collegians at many schools, often had trouble finding quiet study space. Until recently, they would roam the hallways searching for an unused classroom where they could work in solitude. But now there’s an iPhone and Android app that quickly steers students at this Rhode Island institution to a peaceful place.

On April 22, College Republican National Committee chair Alex Smith appeared on a Fox News program to launch the #MyLiberalCampus hashtag campaign. In the same segment, an Eastern Connecticut State University student shared an audio recording of his creative writing professor saying that a Republican Senate win in 2014 would result in college closures, and that Republicans are racist and greedy.

A look at the big picture of mobile use throughout campus revealed  hundreds of service plans, and it became clear that consolidation was in order. Now there are just 12 accounts.

When was the last time you took a good, long look at your wireless bill? What it contains might surprise you. An international roaming plan used for a trip last year that you neglected to cancel, perhaps. Scores and scores of unused minutes that roll over into infinity. Or 411 calls made despite your smartphone’s ability to search the web.

In taking a look at a year’s worth of wireless invoices, administrators at the University of Massachusetts found the system was spending a lot of money it didn’t have to.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with dozens of mobile web leaders from some of the most respected universities. While speaking with experts at schools from Harvard to Princeton, I learned that we’re all struggling with the same challenges in mobile. Fortunately, as we share best practices across campuses around the world, mobile capabilities in higher education are at their most exciting time yet.

Between scouting for new recruits, traveling to tournaments, and practicing for game day, the athletic department staff at University of California, Irvine (UCI) is always on the go. For years, the department has been heavily invested in social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but keeping fans informed on the road had proved a challenge. So back in 2011, UCI equipped all 80 of its athletics staff with iPhones, loaded with a full suite of social media and communications apps.  

A 2013 Noel-Levitz E-Expectations Report of incoming college students found that 78 percent have regular access to a mobile device. And while that number has probably crept higher for 2014, what about the approximately one in five college students who don’t have that access?

For many low-income and first-generation college students, owning a smart phone, tablet or laptop is simply not a reality. What is a reality is that this situation creates educational barriers for these students.

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