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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

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

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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The Student’s Wireless Chain

May 13th, 2011 by CourseSmart

After reading Joshua Kim’s Technology and Learning blog post titled “The Wireless Chain,” I faced the realization that until I read this blog post, I had never really examined my own wireless chain, or my constant connectedness to the internet, email, or even textbooks and online courses. It occurred to me that while this chain might not be crucial to me, there are hundreds of thousands of students who count on the strength and reliability of a wireless chain.

For those not familiar with the term “wireless chain”, Kim describes it as “the degree to which a person can move from place-to-place with uninterrupted access to wireless Internet.” For a college student, this chain can include wireless access available across college campuses, bookstores, coffee shops, dorm rooms, off-campus apartments, and any place in between. And, access to a continuous chain is vital for a student’s productivity as much as it would be for a business traveler, especially with coursework, studying, writing and reading sometimes all requiring constant access to materials online. Unlike me, the continuous nature of a college student’s wireless chain might be so ingrained in their lifestyle, that they hardly notice its existence until there is a failure or interruption in the chain. Just ask any student who struggles to connect to Blackboard via an overloaded campus wireless network.

It’s hard to ignore the importance of a wireless chain with the existence of laptops, Smartphones, and now tablet devices, and while a college student might not always be conscious of its existence, it shouldn’t diminish the need for college campuses and even businesses around campuses to create a seamless wireless chain.

If you are a college student, have you ever thought about how many links are in your wireless chain? Are there places you would choose to add more links to your chain?

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Tech Geeks Rejoice! How Going Tech Can Save You Money.

February 25th, 2011 by CourseSmart

This week, Zack Whittaker posted on his iGeneration blog on with some techy ways to save money at college. His blog brings up some great, and potentially overlooked, ways technology can be helping you save money while at college. We wanted to share some of the finer points with you.


“Invest in a smartphone with a good data plan”

We couldn’t agree more! Whittaker sites a phone with features like a decent camera and music player can be just as important as having access to all of your social media profiles. Ditching an mp3 player for you phone is a great way to free up space in your backpack and save you money. A smartphone with mobile web can also give you quick access to etextbooks, a notepad or voice recorder app to help you jot down some short notes, and email access to help you stay in touch with classmates.


“E-books are often cheaper than their paper equivalent”

While the cost savings associated with etextbooks can be huge (with CourseSmart you can save up to 60% on etextbooks over print textbooks), Whittaker points out another awesome feature of etextbooks– instant access from anywhere. Etextbooks can be accessed via smartphone/tablet apps or simply on the internet. No more “I forgot my book” or breaking your back on a bulging bag.  


“Netbooks are easier on your wallet”

It seems you can read any tech news sites or blogs without hearing about the latest and greatest tablets from a variety of manufacturers. In the flurry of wanting the newest gadget, students might not be considering what the best option is: tablet, laptop or netbook. Whittaker poses a valid point; netbooks are much less expensive than tablets and are capable of doing everything a student might need. And, most netbooks are only slightly thicker than tablets making them friendly on your backpack as well.


These are only a few points from Whittaker’s iGeneration post, so check out the full article for more ways going tech can save you money in college. Do you have any special tech tips to save money?

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