UNISG.6

Mobile Uni-App (Phase 2)

Long Title: Mobile Uni-App (Phase 2)
Leading
Organization:
Universität St. Gallen
Participating
Organizations:
Universita della Svizzera Italiana
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 15.01.2012
End Date: 30.04.2013
Project Leader: A. Back
Deputy Project Leader: T. Sammer
Website: http://app.unisg.ch

During this phase university apps based on the same standard have been developed and deployed, to leverage synergies and save development costs. Modules that support more sophisticated features have been added and existing modules adapted for the specific requirements of Swiss higher education institutes.

See also Phase 1 and Phase 1.5.

Resultats

Alle Informationen sowie Deliverables des Projekts sind online verfügbar:

Componant Description
Project website on GitHub Project website on GitHub
Project website UNISG Project website at the department for infomation management UNISG
Project source code at GitHub Project source code at GitHub
App at UNISG Mobile Uni-App as used by the University of St.Gallen

Mobile Uni-App is a Swiss fork of the Kurogo-Mobile-Web project. The existing project was adapted to fit the needs of Swiss higher education institutes and new functionality based on the Kurogo framework was developed. Mobile Uni-App is based on PHP and Javascript and delivers high quality, data driven customizable content to a wide range of mobile devices.
In the course of phase 2, the following modules have been developed:

  • E-Learning Functionality: Integration of the Moodle LMS
  • Native Apps: The University of Lugano developed a native Moodle LMS-App.
  • Mobile Library-Interface (University of St.Gallen) includes the following functionality:
    • Displaying different types of records with all details.
    • Showing status and location of the records.
    • Requesting a reservation or copy orders of physical exemplars.
    • PDF download of online resources.
    • Access user account information and manage orders.
    • Search for books, articles, aso.
    • A color-code to highlight records, which are located at the university.
  • AAI-Standard Authentication: With the AAI standard, Swiss higher education institutes offer students a single sign-on standard. To access parts of the mobile application that need an authentication, we developed a login functionality that accepts and AAI credentials.
  • Personal timetable (University of St.Gallen): The mobile application connects to a .Net webservice provided by the University of St.Gallen to access information about which lectures are certain student attends. After an authentication, the mobile application uses this information to generate a personalized timetable for the logged-in user.

The major benefits of Mobile Uni-App are:

  • Students have important information always at hand through their mobile devices.
  • The most relevant feature of the Moodle e-Learning platform can be accessed mobile and used directly from student's mobile devices.
  • The project offers several standard features that can be easily transferred to other educational institutes. By re-using the code, other institutes can save effort in the development of mobile services.
  • The source code is available as open-source and documented to share with the community.

Two of the developed apps enable mobile access to information and features that support students in their daily activities on the campus. They include features such as map and location service, people directory, RSS news-reader, library access such as search and reservation (ALEPH & EbscoHost), public transportation timetable, access to the current canteen menu, and other functions.
The third app allows students to access and use the main features of the Moodle e-Learning platform directly from their mobile devices without necessarily having to connect to a PC.
Furthermore AAI/Shibboleth authentication has been implemented for native apps in order to use the same authentication as for other university services.

The source code of the apps is publicly available under an open-source license and can be easily re-used by other Swiss universities.

To sustain the service, the University of St.Gallen has a contract with a company that will also handel incoming service tickets and requests for the extension of the Uni-App.
Full service is therefore ensured for the upcoming years.
To communicate the offer to the students, Uni-App is listed as one of the official IT services of the University of St.Gallen and IT instructors are trained to answers questions concerning the Uni-App.


Objectives

Focus will be on modules with functionality that is on the one hand strongly demanded by students (survey results on the demand for mobile services at the University of St. Gallen are included in the result documents of Phase 1) and on the other hand functionalities that many institutes need respectively can use.
The following modules will be developed:

  1. E-Learning Functionality: Integration of the Moodle LMS
  2. Native Apps: Kurogo modules that use HTML5 can be used to generate native Android and iOS apps using Phone Gap. Kurogo modules using HTML5 will be developed and offered also as native apps.
  3. Library-Interface: Mobile access for different library-services including the library catalogue (ALEPH and Swiss Bib).
  4. AAI-Interface: Will allow user authentication and access to protected content / services.
  5. Personal timetable: Access to a personal timetable that will show the next lectures of a student / lecturer.

Another important target is to establish a network of Swiss universities where each university shares their new modules and developments with other universities. This network and the open source policy used for developments are a big step towards the sustainability of the project and any other project of a Swiss higher education institute that is concerned with a mobile solution. For that purpose the Swiss community should be integrated into the existing iMobileU community and the source will be published using GitHub.

Benefits

The modules will use existing standards used by Swiss universities and thus be very easily applicable for other Swiss educational institutes. They can be easily customized to the requirements of other universities and will be available for free as open source modules that include extensive documentation.

Steps

The development will follow the milestones listed below:

  1. CSS design for Università della Svizzera italiana
  2. Set-Up and Introduction Workshop at University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
  3. Development of a User Authentication (AAI-Interface)
  4. Development of a Mobile Library-Access (ALEPH-Interface)
  5. First prototype of the LMS-module and native apps
  6. Development of a Mobile Personal Timetable
  7. Migration of Mobile Uni-App to Android and iOS native apps
  8. Development of a Mobile LMS / Moodle-Interface
  9. Deployment of the Mobile Uni-App at the University of St. Gallen
  10. Deployment of the Mobile Uni-App at the Università della Svizzera italiana
  11. Presentation of the project outcomes
  12. Introducing the iMobileU community

Detailed developer documentation about the implementation of iOS and Android native apps will be provided and an online user manual explaining the main functionalities of the developed native apps will be created. This should be a valid support to all people using the native Mobile-Uni Apps.

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