The Proliferation of Information Access using Mobile Devices in HE Institutions
Daryl Feehely - DCU
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become affordable internet connected devices for the majority of the population in recent years. As a result the usage of these devices in accessing information provided by higher education institutions in Ireland has increased steadily. This trend is illustrated using a number of data sources gathered from surveys and data analytics pertaining to both the student and staff bodies within the University of Limerick (UL) and Dublin City University (DCU). Historical precedence is presented from the results of the 2010 Educase Students and Information Technology Survey 2010. This survey reports on the ownership of mobile devices among student respondents and the frequency at which these respondents use their mobile devices. Recent evidence is presented from the results of a survey conducted with 2011/12 UL first year students undertaken in conjunction with the Centre for Teaching and Learning in UL as a part of The First Seven Weeks Programme. This survey reports on the penetration of smartphones among the respondents, how these smartphones are used and how likely the respondents would be to use a mobile application to access university information. Analysis of information accessed on DCU web systems is presented to illustrate the usage of mobile devices in the accessing of different types of information by students, staff members and the general public. The results of a survey conducted with a group of DCU academic staff members on how they use mobile devices in their current work practices is also presented to further illustrate usage among staff members. The conclusions derived from these data sources can be used to inform higher education institutions on the need for information systems that deliver data effectively to mobile devices based on the device usage demonstrated.