Client Overview and Background
The client is a leader in education and learning systems with over 4bn$ in revenues. University of Phoenix is one of the largest higher education providers in North America and is part of the Apollo Group Inc.
Mobile Education allows students to learn and interact with other learners and with teachers through a portable device such as a smartphone or tablet. It gives users the flexibility to learn from anyplace. This kind of education provides a much more personalized and motivating learning experience, and also helps students to stay connected with their staff all the time.
RapidValue is the main mobility partner for University of Phoenix. We have implemented the end-to-end online classroom mobile application for iOS and Android device users.
The client wanted to implement an Online Classroom Application to connect faculty and students. Some of the key objectives were:
- Enable students with real-time update of courses
- Enhance faster communication between faculty and students
- Support long-term mobile roadmap and port existing online classroom application to multiple mobile platforms
Challenges and Our Approach
Smart devices – mobile phones and tablets with powerful mobile apps installed is revolutionizing the education industry. These devices have become an indispensable tool for schools and universities. Compared to laptops, mobile is cost-effective and more portable. From schools to colleges, everybody is considering adopting iPad and other powerful devices to effectively disperse knowledge to their students. Today, the adoption rate of smart devices among students is quite high.
Students at University of Phoenix were mostly dependent on attending classes in the University, to interact with their faculty and to access the course materials provided by them. The online programs are available on the web too. However, the client wanted a solution which would make it easy for students and the staff to communicate with each other quickly and in a more efficient manner outside the premises and while away from their desktops/laptops too.
RapidValue evaluated client’s requirements and recommended online classroom solution for iPhone and Android phones, since these are the two most popular mobile devices used by the University staff and students in the U.S. RapidValue implemented the end-to-end mobile application which allowed students to access – chat forums, materials forums, view attachments and even access the materials offline. We built and deployed the app with few features and added more features eventually in next iterations.
RapidValue designed, developed and deployed an end-to-end online classroom mobile application for University of Phoenix faculty and students. Some of the main services include – mobile application development, integration to backend systems through APIs and mobile testing – manual and automated (SeeTest from Experitest).
- User authentication – unique login for each user
- View information posted by the instructor in the Materials Forum
- Open attachments
- Navigate through forums, save and delete drafts, flag and mark posts, even if the user is offline
- Participate in online classroom discussion forums
- Draft and post to discussion threads and reply to your classmates’ posts
- View, edit and save drafts of your discussion comments
- View message flags, discussion questions and class announcements
- Receive real-time alerts when grades are posted
- Receive real-time alerts when your instructor posts new threads or responds to your messages
This solution was beneficial to various stakeholders with the University – faculty and students. Some of the results achieved for the client:
- Launched multiple mobile applications within time and budget
- Reduced cost by upto 50% by off-shoring the development
- Delivered high quality app through dedicated mobile testing lab (both manual and automated)
- Long-term mobile roadmap supported. i.e. over 3 years period
Here’s what students have to say about the App:
- “Love being able to post while I’m at work…gives me one less thing I have to do when I get home and have other assignments or work to do!!!”
- “I can get to my classes and get my work done from my job leaving more free time for myself and family!”
- “I love having my school on the go. It makes things so much easier! This app is great”.