Connecting students with course content, lecturers and each other.

I was just exploring the Unitec concept map mentioned in a previous post. I was looking at this section of the map on cell phones.

Unitec source smartphones and provide a 1GB/month mobile broadband account to all staff and students. Students pay for their own voice and txt messaging and the 1GB plan is paid by Unitec. These phones are used to deliver course content as well as communication devices. Students have also been issued with a wireless keyboard to facilitate data entry. This at a cost of $700 NZ.

I wonder a little about the screen size however I can see this could be something that might be really useful for us as well. Any thoughts about this?

Image: 3 Cell phone calls, from Wonderlane photos on

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  1. I do think we ignore cell phones to our peril with midwifery students and midwives, because they are one technology that most/all midwives are familiar with. I have started texting my post grad students with reminders about activities etc. But $700 when you can buy an asus eeepc for $500? Not sure.

  2. Yes I agree it seems steep, but I think this is also for the broadband plan and key board. (I could be wrong though. Remember these are smartphones, not just the ordinary cell phones. I have thought about this, the benefits of mini computer over PDA or other mobile device. I think the benefit of cell phones or PDAs as small portable mobile devices is, when you switch them on access is instant. You can leave them powered up all the time. So it is easy to quickly communicate or access information. You can get an instant message (IMS), to alert you to new incoming material you need to look at. Small portable computers, like all computers take time to power up. You cannot leave them turned on all the time and not so handy for instant messaging or communicating. What do you think Sarah?

  3. I’m pretty sure I suggested something like this on one of the lady middy blogs some time back when you posted concerns about access. We started looking at Satellite Internet costs for rural.. I think they were about $60 per month.. x12 = 720 + option of Asus of Smart phone = $1420. So that would be the most expensive option for a student out in woop woop moo cow (Most places in outer Dunedin that is) A little cheaper for people already within a broadband service area, and we could surely negotiate bulk deals.

  4. Yes you are right Leigh, we did discuss this. I can’t find that post at the moment. I think the advantages of cell phone over laptop are

    Students need to have a cell phone anyway, they need to be contactable for women they are working with and will need to communicate with lecturers and each other

    Cell phones are easy to use, most people are reasonably comfortable with them. They are easy to communicate with, easy to switch on and go and good for instant communication

    Disadvantage would be that student may not be able to complete assignments on cell phones, or could they if they have a key board? I am not sure about this. And the screen size is so small, would that be an issue?

    Will we be supplying these and getting a deal for students? In the immediate future I do not think so as it would add to the students course costs. I am interested in continuing to review these options.

  5. Great post. this is what I looking for, thanks


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