Using the AT&T platform, KCTCS,
which is comprised of 16 colleges in 75
locations across Kentucky, can deliver
administrative and educational services
directly to students’ smartphones,
wherever they are on campus.
KCTCS Mobile includes the more
basic administrative and scheduling
resources featured in the original AT&T
Campus Guide product, plus updated
library and bookstore information,
links to videos featured on college
You Tube channels, relevant Web sites,
updated campus maps, and links to
social media such as Facebook and
Twitter, for example.
“It is extremely important for us to
provide readily available communication channels with our students, to
engage and inform them via the best
means possible,” says Paul Czarapata,
Encouraged by the recent surge of mobile devices on campus, administrators at the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) have long sought a way to better connect with students on the go.
BY BOB VIOLINO
How the Kentucky Community & Technical College System
is using custom smartphone apps to deliver services and
education to students on the go
That was the goal in the summer
of 2012 when educators teamed up
with AT&T to roll out Campus Guide,
a customizable mobile application
that gives KCTCS students access to
administrative and educational tools
on their smartphones.
Administrators took that project one
step further in the fall with the release
of KCTCS Mobile, a more robust and
customized version, based on the original AT&T Campus Guide product.
The app, which KCTCS students can
download for free if they have smartphones that run Apple, Android, or
BlackBerry operating systems, offers
fingertip access to a wide range of
information, such as course catalogs,
phone directories, an upcoming events
calendar, campus news, maps, personal
notifications, and other relevant educational data.
KCTCS is not the only community
college committed to developing more
student mobile applications. Across the
country, a growing number of educators have begun to explore what these
technologies can do for students.
According to the fall 2012 Campus
Computing Survey by the Campus
Computing Project, 60 percent of
responding colleges said they had
either launched a mobile device for
students or were planning to do so in
the coming academic year. That’s
compared with 42 percent in the fall
of 2011 and 23 percent in 2010.
vice president and CIO of KCTCS.
“We know that e-mail is trending down
quickly as a preferred method of com-
munication, and this app gives students
ready access to their college informa-
tion when they need it.”
In addition to general campus data,
students have access to individual
course information and classmates—
all of which is baked into the system
through a flexible integration archi-
tecture supplied by AT&T partner Dub
Labs. “This flexibility allows us to add
additional functionality relatively eas-
ily,” Czarapata explains. This includes
course adds and drops, payments, and
other information for students.
What’s the Cost?
In addition to a robust menu of technical capabilities, Czarapata says price
played a factor in KCTCS’s decision to
work with AT&T.
While a majority of the mobile applications KCTCS considered employed a
pricing structure based on the number
of full-time students using the app, the
AT&T pricing model is available for a
flat annual subscription and one-time
implementation fee—“both of which I
found extremely reasonable given the
size and complexity of our system,”
While the system is currently limited
to smartphone use, Czarapata says plans
are in the works to deploy another
application that will leverage the full
functionalities of tablet devices, such as
Apple’s iPad, for instance.
BoB Violino is an education and technology
writer based in Massapequa Park, N. Y.