The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Colleges Need to Upgrade Mobile Presence

Recent studies from Pew Research and Google showed that 85% of cellphone users aged 18-29 use their devices to go online and half of that group turn to their phones to surf the web before thinking about using a desktop or laptop device. The studies also found that 61% of all cellphone users said they would probably never return to a website if they had trouble viewing it on their mobile device.

Despite those findings, a new survey reports that a lot of colleges and universities fail to communicate with their target audience through their mobile devices. A survey of 200 public and private schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the marketing agency Princeton Partners found that more than 70% lack a mobile presence and 50% of the schools with a mobile presence were deficient in terms of technology, mobile content, or both, according to a report in University Business.

The survey found that colleges and universities don’t often replicate the content, design, and navigation tools used in their PC-based websites for mobile applications. They also don’t create “mobile responsive” technology solutions that adjust to individuals browsers and devices.

That’s a problem because there’s so much more competition for potential applicants, who are constantly using mobile technology.

“An effective mobile capability can validate that a school is technologically savvy,” said Jeanne Oswald, former executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and an industry advisor to Princeton Partners. “As potential students comparatively shop and learn online, institutions of higher learning can enhance brand perception and market engagement by communicating effectively with teens and young adults through their mobile devices.”

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