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Cutting-Edge Colleges Deliver Courses Via Cell Phones
February 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

In order to reach a more diverse population of learners, several institutions are offering full college course content delivered via a user's cell phone, reports UniversityBusiness.com ("Cellular Colleges: The Next Small Thing," February 2009).

"Cellular" courses will be similar to their online counterparts and will include access to self-paced tutorials and student chat rooms, as well as to several other features, educators say.

Mobile education courses are already available at Fukuoka (Kyodo) Cyber University, Japan's first Internet-based university, which specializes in delivering course content using SoftBank 3G smart phones. The university, which opened in 2007, entices new students to enroll by offering a student's first course free of charge as long as students use the school's provider, and pay for all equipment and transmission fees.

Colleges and universities in the United States have also recently begun experimenting with video instruction over personal mobile devices, including Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, which is considering mobile education as part of the school's new emerging media initiative.

The Louisiana Community & Technical College System is also considering offering several different online courses that could be delivered to students on their iPhone, Google Phone, Blackberry or other mobile devices as a means of expanding students' access to higher education throughout the state.

"The top barriers in attaining their degrees are geographic access, cost of higher education and scheduling conflicts," said school system president Joe May. "We are excited to be able to bring a greater level of access to potential students."

The school system has teamed with AT&T, eCollege and Pearson Custom Solutions to ensure that courses will be optimized for online and mobile delivery and that courses remain compatible with new mobile services and features as they become available.

"This partnership completely changes the future of how online learning is delivered," said Don Kilburn, CEO of Pearson Custom Solutions. "We don't just live in an online environment — we live in a mobile environment. This partnership gives working adults in Louisiana the most flexible and reliable working option available- whether it's on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device."

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