Symposium Highlights All Things Mobile

Symposium Highlights All Things Mobile

By Amanda BallardUniversity Communications
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The Mobile Matters III Symposium on Oct. 21 is designed to bring together everyone on campus interested in mobile app development.
The Mobile Matters III Symposium on Oct. 21 is designed to bring together everyone on campus interested in mobile app development.

The Mobile Matters III Symposium, happening this month, is designed to bring together everyone on campus interested in app development – whether they want to learn what mobile is all about or already have developed multiple apps.

The symposium, happening Oct. 21, is built around the theme "Innovation in Action" and will feature talks and workshops on various topics regarding mobile applications in higher education.  (See the entire program here.)

The symposium is part of Mobile Matters, a campus community forum for all things mobile started nearly two years ago by Frank Feagans, senior director of enterprise applications services at the UA.

"You're going to meet people that are the biggest evangelists when it comes to using mobile apps to make your life better," Feagans said. "It might spark an interest or an idea. It might help some people realize it's not too scary to get into the mobile world."

Feagans said the symposium has evolved dramatically since its launch. The first one was held in fall 2012 followed by a second one in spring 2013.

"The first one was all about generically introducing how important mobile is and what we were going to try to accomplish," he said. "This one is really more focused on the research, social media and educational channels for mobile apps. We're at the point where we had to narrow down so many great ideas into what we could actually do in a day."

Jennifer Barton, interim vice president for research at the UA, will give the welcome address and Dan Work, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a keynote lecture on the traffic-monitoring smartphone app TrafficTurk.

The event will also feature a "Teaching and Mobile Tech" workshop by the Office of Instruction and AssessmentClassroom Technology Services, and Jonathan Sprinkle, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UA.

Feagans says the symposium and the Mobile Matters community are not solely directed at specialists of information technology or Web developers; his goal is to pull all University community members together, from students to staff and faculty.

Mobile Matters is based on four key goals: sharing best practices, building connections, navigating UA channels, and developing useful applications and mobile-friendly websites. It is designed to help individuals at any stage of the development process, whether they have an idea for an app or have a product already built and are looking for branding or licensing services.

A showcase of some UA-developed apps are featured on the Mobile Matters website. Last month, Lo Que Pasa featured a few UA faculty app developers in this article.

In higher education settings, Feagans said, most everyone can benefit from mobile applications. Instructors are able to better connect with students, researchers are able to more easily collect and publish data, and students can manage their work/life responsibilities on a single device.

All of these factors, he said, help keep the University competitive and align with the UA's "Never Settle" strategic plan, which emphasizes engaging, innovating and partnering.

"Most importantly, this isn't a fad," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future with desktops, but mobile apps are going to be ubiquitous. The symposium is a safe, comfortable environment for people to see that and perhaps get caught up with the curve if they need to."

The symposium will be held in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom (PDF) from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Register by Oct. 14 by clicking here.

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