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New recruits will receive the cream of the Windows phone crop, in-house messaging, networking

New Jersey's Seton Hall University, like many schools, has a mobile computing initiative.  But where most schools simply try to make their websites friendlier to mobile devices, Seton Hall is going the extra mile with an unusual initiative.  It's paired with AT&T, Inc. (T) and Nokia Oyj. (OMX:NOK1V) to distribute units of the popular Lumia 900 LTE Windows Phone to new incoming students in the class of 2016.

Comments Michael Taylor, Academic Director, Center for Mobile Research & Innovation, "Mobile technology has become ubiquitous and pervasive, but we are just beginning to understand the breadth of its impact across campus. Smartphone use in higher education has tended to rely on finding a specific app to fulfill a specific curricular purpose. With the close collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft on the Lumia 900, the phone itself takes center stage."

University faculty say the phones will help students have 24-7 access to Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Office suite.  They say the phone giveaway will provide a "more engaged and integrated learning experience."

Seton Hall
Seton Hall University [Image Source: US News]

But Seton Hall also plans to leverage the devices to help their incoming freshmen escape the "awkward turtle" phase and connect with their new classmates.  The university has a cross-platform smartphone app that provides news feeds, maps, and directories, but it's introducing a Windows Phone exclusive piece of content called the "Freshmen Experience".

Something like a mini-social network, the feature "adds customized social media integration and direct communication channels with [students'] freshmen peers, peer academic advisors, housing information and roommates."

Lumia 900 in Hand (3/6)
The Lumia 900 (Click image to enlarge) [©: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Sorry iPhone users, says Seton Hall, no Freshmen Experience for you.

The Lumia 900 retails for $100, which is a whole lot cheaper than Seton Hall tuition which is well over $30,000 USD per year for undergraduates [source].

Source: Nokia



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Now they've got two
By nafhan on 6/12/2012 1:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
So, now each of these students will be carrying two cell phones! Kidding...

Seriously, though, it seems like it'd make more sense to develop a mobile optimized website. That school has just locked themselves into a platform and their students into a device they may or may not want. Basically, it seems unlikely that this needed to be an "app" since it doesn't sound like the type of thing that requires direct hardware access.

The best reason I can come up with for this being an app is that the school got a bunch of help implementing these services from MS/Nokia/ATT, and by having this stuff in an app instead of a mobile website, it guarantees that a specific device gets used.

Disclaimer: except for my joke at the start, I'm not specifically knocking WinMobile. I wouldn't feel any better about this if it was an Android app, for instance.




RE: Now they've got two
By sviola on 6/12/2012 2:30:13 PM , Rating: 4
Apps can provide more functionality than web sites.


RE: Now they've got two
By retrospooty on 6/12/12, Rating: 0
RE: Now they've got two
By Trisped on 6/13/2012 11:53:01 AM , Rating: 3
There are some things which cannot be done through a browser (without a plugin).

Anything you can do with a web page can be done with an app (as long as the platform allows apps to connect to the internet, which all the platforms I know of do).

Personally I prefer the customized UI and screen flow of an app over all the quirks of web browsers.


RE: Now they've got two
By retrospooty on 6/13/2012 1:44:48 PM , Rating: 1
I dunno about that. Think about the things you would do as a student. Accessing class notes, assignments, signing up for various new courses, submitting assignments etc etc... A phone app? Uh uh. Web browser is a far better solution.


RE: Now they've got two
By nafhan on 6/12/2012 5:54:29 PM , Rating: 2
Of course they can!
Does an app for showing info about the school to freshman need that functionality? Probably not.


2016?
By GreenEnvt on 6/12/12, Rating: 0
RE: 2016?
By leviathan05 on 6/12/2012 1:30:08 PM , Rating: 3
2012 Freshmen are the class of 2016, since that is when they are expected to graduate.


RE: 2016?
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2012 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Oh right, I forgot that's how education does its nomenclature. Makes the idea -slightly- less silly.


RE: 2016?
By GreenEnvt on 6/12/2012 3:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, sorry it's been a while since I was in college.


RE: 2016?
By mindless1 on 6/14/2012 3:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
Not so much anymore. The average student no longer graduates in 4 years.

"According to federal statistics, only 57% of full-time college students graduate within SIX years"

and

"The vast majority of students in this country, however, attend public institutions where the average four-year grad is a measly 27%.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-37244373/to...


RE: 2016?
By amanojaku on 6/12/2012 1:44:08 PM , Rating: 3
The graduating class of 2016 enrolls in 2012.


RE: 2016?
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/12, Rating: -1
Great move
By Gungel on 6/12/12, Rating: -1
RE: Great move
By kleinma on 6/12/2012 1:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
The article didn't really go into detail, so I am wondering if these are required? What if you already have a windows phone? What if you already have a different phone? What if you don't have AT&T? Where are the facts that this article desperately needs?


RE: Great move
By leviathan05 on 6/12/2012 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know why they went with a phone at all to be honest. A tablet would be a much more useful tool for the students to have. Also, if the app is cross-platform, why do they insist on giving the kids Windows devices?

Not really sure how this is going to turn out, but hey, what's (100*1400) $140,000 anyways?


RE: Great move
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2012 1:51:09 PM , Rating: 3
Will, $100 if with a contract (and who pays the contract?). Those phones are $449.99 otherwise from what I see.

So agree, a tablet would be way better and make so much more sense. More versatile, more complimentary to the phones all those students likely already have (gotta be pretty well to do to be going to a school with that high tuition).


RE: Great move
By nafhan on 6/12/2012 2:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
The better question is: why are they even tying this into a hardware platform at all?


RE: Great move
By inighthawki on 6/12/2012 2:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A tablet would be a much more useful tool for the students to have.

Most students probably wouldn't carry their tablets around everywhere, while they will almost all likely always have a phone with them.

quote:
Also, if the app is cross-platform, why do they insist on giving the kids Windows devices?

It's very probable that it's the cheapest. The hardware in windows phones are relatively weak compared to that in Android/iPhone, yet runs very smoothly, but at a cheaper price.


RE: Great move
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/12/2012 2:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The article didn't really go into detail, so I am wondering if these are required? What if you already have a windows phone? What if you already have a different phone? What if you don't have AT&T? Where are the facts that this article desperately needs?
The article is as specific as it can be with the info given.

The phone is free to every new student.

As to whether they will HAVE to use it for a certain class, my guess would be "probably not" (the press release didn't mention anything about that). But it's possible some professor might expect students to check something on their new phone using Office.

But hey, it's a free phone -- how can you complain??


RE: Great move
By MadMan007 on 6/12/2012 2:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
'free phone' my a$$ - 'nothing in life is free'

Haven't you heard about record student loan debt?


RE: Great move
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/12/2012 2:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Haven't you heard about record student loan debt?
Well free in the sense that you're already paying your tuition and they don't have to be giving you a phone.

I think I mention your point in the final paragraph, though. :) $33K per year? Either your folks are rich, you have a scholarship, or you better be getting a good degree to pay off the $120K loan... or $150K if, heaven forbid, it takes you 5 years to graduate from your program of choice.


RE: Great move
By sviola on 6/12/2012 2:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
You can always get a degree in France or Brazil. Both have public Universities (public in free).


RE: Great move
By Taft12 on 6/13/2012 10:32:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well free in the sense that you're already paying your tuition and they don't have to be giving you a phone.


There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Either Seton Hall is using students tuition dollars to pay for the phone, or they're selling part of their soul to MS and Nokia.

Buying mindshare in the education market is nothing new for Microsoft. As others have mentioned, smartphone ownership among university students is probably pushing 100% already even without a freebie from your school.


RE: Great move
By Mitch101 on 6/12/2012 1:24:42 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed since WP7 is finally gaining market share and on the 20th Microsoft will release some of the details on Windows Phone 8.

FYI Memory card slot returns in Windows Phone 8


RE: Great move
By Pirks on 6/12/2012 1:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Memory card slot returns in Windows Phone 8
Source?


RE: Great move
By Flunk on 6/12/2012 1:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
That's definitely going to be a new feature for WP8, but I can't tell you how I know that.


RE: Great move
By Mitch101 on 6/12/2012 2:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft Exec Outlines Windows Phone 8 Enhancements to Challenge iPhone, Android
http://www.itproportal.com/2012/02/06/microsoft-ex...


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