Drexel Launches Mobile Web Portal for Students


In what may be the nation's first mobile Web portal for students, Philadelphia's Drexel University is bringing anywhere, anytime information access to handheld devices with DrexelOne Mobile. As a Web-based portal, DrexelOne Mobile provides students and faculty at the private university with access to e-mail, news, announcements and grades from their handheld devices, regardless of brand or service provider.

Powered by SCT Banner and Luminis technologies, DrexelOne Mobile essentially pushes information to students and faculty that register their mobile devices with the portal. Once registered, they are notified when a new personal announcement is posted for them. This means that students are notified when a professor posts a grade or if a hold has been placed on their records. The result is that students stay informed and are able to address problems or errors as soon as they arise.

According to John A. Bielec, Drexel's vice president of information resources and technology and CIO, the idea behind portals is to aggregate easy-to-use administrative and academic services to keep students and faculty well informed and well served. But DrexelOne Mobile g'es beyond this premise, according to Bielec, "The idea behind the mobile portal is to apply to the realm of university services the same forces that are shaping external information sites: mobility, immediacy and convenience."

Faculty and students are responding well to DrexelOne Mobile, with the main site receiving about 1.2 million page views per day, according to Bielec. Student organizations are also making themselves known on the popular portal, which they see as the "beachfront property" of the Web community for Drexel students.

Drexel plans to continue aggregating university services into the portal so that services which aren't currently online, such as the parking permit lottery, can be integrated into the portal. This will ensure that Drexel faculty and students remain connected - wirelessly, that is. - Annamaria DiGiorgio

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.