Curtin University of Technology has launched an Australian university first, a mobile website to help students access important information about support services and campus facilities.
Curtin students will now be able to access information about transport services, financial support, housing and places to eat, on their mobile phones.
Students will also be able to access staff directories and campus maps at the touch of a fingertip.
Director of Teaching and Learning Beverley Oliver said the initiative was a part of the University’s C2010 curriculum 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,’ Professor Oliver said.
‘So we decided to explore the concept of a mobile ‘help at your fingertips’ website.
‘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.’
Although the new system is modelled on similar student support schemes at Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, Curtin’s system differs in that it does not rely on iPhone compatibility.
‘The original plan was to build an iPhone app, like Stanford’s, which was built by a student start-up 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.
Professor Oliver also said because a much higher proportion of students are likely to have iPhones in the near future, developing an iPhone application was still definitely on the cards.