From education to employment

Mobile technology takes student experience to the top of the class

Rachel is in the second year of a computer science course at her local FE college. She got off to a flying start in her first year and knows what grades she needs to achieve in her remaining assignments to have the best chance of passing.

Keen to stay on top of her studies, Rachel wants to be able to see her marks as soon as they are available and keep in touch with her tutor while she’s away from college to help her stay focussed on boosting her achievement.

Now more than ever, FE students like Rachel want to be in the driving seat where their education is concerned. Many will work alongside their studies to gain the experience they need to give them a foot up the careers ladder. And with their lives getting busier, they are increasingly demanding more from their place of study.

Allowing students to engage in two-way conversations with their tutors and giving them access to more information on their progress, wherever and whenever they need it, helps institutions to meet students’ changing expectations. But it can also help to boost educational outcomes.
So how does further education answer the call?

Going mobile

According to Ofcom’s latest figures, take-up of smartphones has continued to increase rapidly over the past year, with more than half (51%) of all adults and over three quarters of 16 to 24-year-olds (77%) now owning one. The potential impact of this on the education landscape could be huge.
Making payments using a smartphone is becoming commonplace, opening up opportunities for students to pay for their college fees or exam re-sits and purchase course materials using their phones. But mobile tools are also being developed that will help to improve their attainment.

Student centred learning

Mobile technology is rapidly becoming the tool of choice for hardworking students wishing to keep abreast of their progress, so it is the perfect channel for them to access information from their institution on demand.

With the right tools in place, colleges can give their students access to their timetable on the go, for example, or provide them with up-to-the-minute information on room changes or announcements for that day relating to their course.

They can find out what grade they have been awarded in their latest assessment from the moment it is entered onto the college’s system and track their attendance or achievement day-by-day, throughout their course. They could even send a quick message to their tutor if they are struggling with an assignment to ask for help or request an extension to the deadline.

In addition to this, there are solutions being developed that will allow colleges to give their students quick and easy access to all this information using their existing login details for services such as Facebook or Google.

Tools such as these are set to play a critical role in helping to keep learners of all ages organised, up-to-date, informed and most importantly, motivated from the day they start their course right through to its completion.

A look ahead

Students have many more options for communicating with the world than they have ever had before. And there is much that institutions can do to incorporate this into college life.

Emerging technology will see both staff and students being given round the clock access to the attendance and achievement data already being recorded by colleges every day and ensure lines of communication flow freely between a student and their institution to support higher attainment.

This will transform the way that students like Rachel approach their studies and play a vital role in encouraging the best possible educational outcome. And in an increasingly competitive marketplace, improved performance is essential to securing your place as the first choice destination for further education.

Rob Elliott is UK products manager for Capita’s further and higher education business


Staff and students from six UK colleges are currently piloting Capita’s UNIT-e mPad. For more information, visit

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