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Presumptions, Mobile Devices, Future--guesses
Here are some questions I ask myself about mobility and Apps. Could a business or academic institution survive without any mobile apps? Do mobile apps create a competitive advantage for the business or institution? Do faculty and students select the business or institution because of how apps were made? Do they compare business, academic, and institutional apps to those existing in the wild? How do our apps stand up against those developed in the wild? Is having a mobile app essential to providing a quality education? Does limiting app development to any one solution make the quality of app better? Should IT create fertile app development environment where both academic and business interests combine? How do we make this happen? Is it worth the effort and cost? Can IT provide access to past code and make sure existing data is maintained so Apps grow and die with enthusiasm? Today one of the most popular courses offered in computer science is app development. Look at Stanford's online course numbers. Math and computer science classes at Bowdoin have doubled over the last two years. My friends who are retired are taking classes on how to program apps. You can buy into all the hype about Apps but in the end if it doesn't make a real difference in your bottom line or marketing profile then why are you building them? Why are you creating development environments when the future of apps is yet undefined? Students, faculty and staff can build Apps for any reason but institutionally is it really important to have or a nice to have? Google would love everyone to adopt the web based universal use platform for Apps. This model is necessary for it to succeed in the mobile space because it cannot control what version or options are available on their mobile devices. Not having a standard platform and operating system is one of the biggest problems with developing and maintaining Apps on Android. Apple is pushing a unified software and hardware solution where Apps work very well. So far Apps outperform web based alternatives but this could change. My guess is that Google will try to recreate the Apple unified model to some extent or it will continue to run into compatibility issues. My other guess is that Microsoft is watching all of this and waiting to have all its ducks in row before it starts to move back into this space. I think that Apps are the future. HTML5 and next gen solutions are out there. By being focused on Apps and programming in C++ or objective C, it will not keep us from developing apps using other solutions. Not building apps or having the skills to build them for me is a problem. I am sure the one ring that will control all other rings was a good plan in this new beginning but the last time it was tried it didn't work out so well ;) I think creating a data warehouse of campus information that app developers can access is a great idea. Controlling the tools they use to develop those apps seems like a problem for me. Teaching good programming, project management, and development skills and strategies has ended up to be part of this effort. Another unexpected result was helping the students setup their own LLC and introduce them to the VC community in Boston. This is now just something that exists at Bowdoin and is part of the CS department. I love working in the technology field when it is in flux. People are more creative and ideas flow in floods. If you create solutions that flow with floods, you will succeed. Creating walled gardens will only last for a brief moment in time, until they get washed away. Best Regards, Mitch Malcolm, Our presumption is that students, faculty, and staff will want to use mobile devices to accomplish about anything regarding a range of university services. Some of that may be informational (what's the basketball score?, is the exam next Tues?, are grades posted?, where is the bus?, etc.), but it is increasingly moving from lower to higher stakes transactions where students may be taking a quiz as part of the academic record, dropping a class, or paying a bursar bill. We have not chosen to segment mobile learning as a distinct, technology plan or platform. Our strategy is to develop a mobile services layer that on one side can talk to all of our university systems (Oracle/PS, vended library systems, Sakai for LMS, bus GPSs, and homegrown things like SeatFinder for the computing labs, etc.) and on the user side to any HTML5 device. We are retired our iPhone/Droid apps as the chase of apps for rapidly evolving consumer devices could ultimately prove expensive. The IU HTML5-based launch app is in the App Store/Marketplace so that it can be discovered in the usual way or via http://m.iu.edu. We've done some extra work with partners to open more of Sakai's internal services to work and format well with our mobility layer. That has been received very well by students and faculty. We are doing more work with our faculty and students on what teaching/learning features they want in our mobile learning services strategy now that we've ironed out a sustainable technology path for the foreseeable future. We deployed Kuali Mobility for the Enterprise as our mobile services layer last August, and it runs across eight campuses where each can tailor its own channels and features. Cheers - Brad ---------------------------------------------------------------------- IU Vice President for IT & CIO, Dean, and Professor Indiana University, http://ovpit.iu.edu ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.