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New mobile website to help with retention of Curtin students

Media release

A new mobile website has been introduced by Curtin University of Technology to help its students access important information about support services and campus facilities

CurtinMobile — purpose-built by Curtin staff, and modelled on similar sites at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford in the United States  — is believed to be the first mobile student support website developed by an Australian university.

Curtin’s Director of Teaching and Learning, Professor Beverley Oliver, said the mobile website had been developed as part of the University’s C2010 curriculum project and student retention strategy.

“Our research shows that, even though we have a great deal of information on our University website, students needing help in a hurry can’t always find it, so we decided to explore the concept of a mobile ‘help at your fingertips’ website,” she said.

“We also know that 99 per cent of our students have mobile phones and that 75 per cent of those phones are web-enabled, so this sort of website is going to reach the vast majority of our students.

“The website offers all sorts of support information such as a directory to find teaching staff, campus maps and local transport services through to where to eat on campus.  Then there is more focused support information—where to find study support, financial support, housing, and so on.

“There’s also information on the website that shows students where they can find a computer that is available for use on campus.”

Professor Oliver said development of CurtinMobile involved extensive student research and consultation with staff at overseas universities such as Stanford, Duke and MIT.

“The original plan was to build an iPhone app, like Stanford’s, which was built by a student startup company. However, our research six months ago showed low penetration of iPhones at this stage, so we decided to build a site that looks like an app, but also works on other smart phones,” she said.

“Our research shows that a much higher proportion of students are likely to have iPhones in the near future, so an iPhone app is definitely on the cards at some stage, and it will very likely have a strong connection with Curtin’s recently developed iPortfolio system.”

The site is also likely to be useful to staff and visitors.

“We are all part of the Net Generation in this sense. Most of us like to be ‘connected and always on’, so this website is a natural development in the information age. We also envisage that new students of any age will find this service helpful in the transition to study,” Professor Oliver said.

CurtinMobile can be accessed by visiting http://m.curtin.edu.au

Media Contact: Professor Beverley Oliver, Director, Teaching and Learning Development, Curtin, 08 9266 2292, b.oliver@curtin.edu.au