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Archive for January, 2013

Study Smarter on Smartphones & Tablets

January 8th, 2013 by Brady

I love the tingling energy in the air during January class starts. No. I’m not talking about the static build up from that new wool sweater.

It is the silly stories we share from winter break, the new plans we make with friends, and the inevitable comparison of gifts received (or that we purchased for ourselves).

If those gifts included an iPad, iPhone, Android device, Kindle Fire or Nook tablet… CourseSmart’s reader team has another present for you.

CourseSmart Mobile Reader on Google's Nexus 7 tablet

CourseSmart Mobile Reader on Google's Nexus 7 tablet

In December, we quietly improved  CourseSmart’s browser based reader. When accessed on these devices, CourseSmart’s reader will adapt to maximize screen real estate and support common multi-touch gestures like pinch to zoom, swipe to previous or next page, and press to select text to highlight or copy.

Yes. The highlights from your laptop or desktop study sessions will be visible on your smartphone or tablet’s browser.  And, yes. New highlights you make on these mobile devices will be available when you sign in on your laptop or desktop.

Details were announced today at the Consumer Electronic Show. More information is available online at www.coursesmart.com/go/mobile.

Why did we make the browser based reading experience better for mobile devices? Why not focus on the apps available for download from the iTunes App Store or Google Play market?

True. We recently exceeded a half million downloads for our Android, iPhone and iPad applications. However, lots of students and instructors prefer the convenience of CourseSmart’s browser based reading experience.

Smartphones and tablets represented 10.5% of all traffic to CourseSmart’s website in Fall 2012 (up from 5.9% in Fall 2011). That’s over 3.5 million mobile visits — a 5.5x annual increase.

We also realized that there are more than 700 different smartphone and tablet screen types that visit our site each year. Based on announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show, I’m sure we’ll see many more in 2013.

For the computer science majors reading this post, CourseSmart’s mobile reading experience is based on our traditional laptop and desktop code line. We use responsive design techniques to detect operating system as well as screen size, orientation and pixel density. Elastic layouts  are implemented with Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) media queries to maximize screen real estate. And, our specially tuned JavaScript engine does the heavy lifting to support multi-touch gestures.

For the rest of us, the improvements are simply magical.

Stay tuned for more news about our mobile reader.  Throughout 2013, the reader team will apply lessons learned from this project to CourseSmart’s Android and iOS applications. In the interim, let us know what you think of our browser based reader on your favorite mobile device.

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CourseSmart at the Annual Consumer Electronics Show: The Continuing Evolution of Digital Education

January 8th, 2013 by CourseSmart

CES 2013 International Conference

The New Year ushers in a season of resolutions and gym memberships, but also the annual Consumer Electronics Show, hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center each January.

CourseSmart will once again attend CES, with presentations slotted for the main conference as well as the one-day HigherEdTECH Summit. We will be discussing new updates to the CourseSmart mobile experience, as well as our beta pilot of CourseSmart Analytics, which provides faculty and institutions with insight into student usage and engagement with digital course materials.

If you are planning to attend the show, be sure to stop by either of these events:

Tuesday, January 8:
Who: Sean Brady, Director, Product Management, CourseSmart
What: CourseSmart’s Universal Reading System - optimizing the mobile user experience
When: 1:45-2:00pm
Where: Venetian Ballroom, Booth 71121

Thursday, January 10:
Who: Jim Ambach, Senior Vice President, Product Management, CourseSmart
What: The New Math: Is Analytics Adding Up? – a panel discussion about the ability to use educational data in order to support student learning objectives
When: 3:00-4:00pm
Where: LVCC, North Hall N256

For those of you not lucky enough to make the pilgrimage to Techie Mecca, keep your eyes peeled for a couple of exciting announcements from CourseSmart over the coming days.

Happy New Year!

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