The Centre for Teaching & Learning at the University of Limerick have this year expanded the channels of communication by which they deliver information to first year students as part of their First Seven Weeks Programme to ease first year students into their college lives at UL. The First 7 Weeks Android App and Mobile Website have been developed in order to direct students around the 40 buildings and 332 acres that make up the expansive UL campus. Students will be in a position to use their phones to scan QR codes at various locations throughout the campus and its buildings in order to locate themselves, access campus maps and receive instructions on how to get to their desired location.
Speaking about the First Seven Weeks initiative, which commences today at UL Professor Sarah Moore, Associate Vice President Academic at UL said: “research has shown us that incoming students who do not engage with certain aspects of university life in their first number of weeks on campus are unlikely to do so throughout their time at University. With this programme we are recognising that successful early adjustment is linked to subsequent success. We are providing a range of information, targeting our resources, and interacting with our new students in ways that make them know we care about them and are interested in their successful adjustment to student life.”
This new application was developed as part of a collaborative research project between the Centre for Teaching & Learning and the Interaction Design Centre in the CSIS department at the University of Limerick. The research is being carried out by IDC MSc student Daryl Feehely and focuses in particular on the analysis of lightweight, self-contained, low-fidelity indoor mapping solutions.
"This new application for first years has a dual purpose providing a service to newcomers to the campus as well as giving us the opportunity to analyse the most effective ways to deliver information using mobile devices and especially testing to see if a low-fidelity indoor map delivers sufficient information to direct a user to their destination. The First 7 Weeks programme is a natural partner to test this research with, given its goal to deliver information to first year students and help them get acquainted with the UL campus. We developed the First Seven Weeks Android app and mobile website to that end, in the hope of making the transition from school to college easier for incoming UL students, by giving them easy access to the information and campus maps on their smartphones. In conjunction with the Buildings & Estates Department we've placed QR codes around the buildings on campus. Users of the Android app can scan these QR codes with the app to view their location on a map, which will help them get to where they are going,” said Daryl Feehely
The Android App is available to download on the Google Play store, and all the First 7 Weeks information is also available on the mobile website First 7 Weeks.