When a student needs to find a classroom on West Virginia University’s campus, she’ll pull up the WVU Mobile Web on her smart phone.

Or if a student wants to check the status of the Personal Rapid Transit system, he’ll check out the same mobile website.

The service is so valuable that the site has had more than 1.3 million page views since August 2009, when WVU Mobile Web first went online.

The inventiveness and necessity of the University’s mobile web were recognized recently as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District II selected WVU Mobile Web for the 2011 Accolades gold award for Best Practices in Communications.

The CASE award recognizes success and innovative approaches in communications at higher education institutions.

“The mobile site is an endeavor that has really aided students, faculty and staff – especially on a cold day when you need to know about the status of the PRT or you want to look up an e-mail address of a person when you are on the run between classes,” said Cathy Orndorff, director of University Relations/Web.

“It has made WVU info only a touch away. I’m very pleased that WVU created a customized site because we have had the flexibility to add information when necessary such as a bowl game schedule. Students tell me they like the map info as they navigate around campus.”

Anyone with a Web-capable mobile device such as an iPhone, smartphone, iPod Touch or feature phone can access the site http://m.wvu.edu/ . There a user can access the campus calendar, campus directory, campus map, athletic schedules and information, the PRT status, campus radio station, emergency information, links to the mobile news and libraries sites and hours some locations are open.

Since the site launched, the average number of pages views has continued to increase, according to Dave Olsen, professional technologist at WVU and programmer for the mobile site. In 2009, the site saw an average of 1,536 daily page views. In the 2010 fall semester, the average was 3,900 page views a day. At the start of the spring semester, there were two days where page views peaked past 9,100.

The site is a proven communications tool during emergencies. During a snowstorm in February when the University closed due to the weather, many turned to the emergency section of the mobile site. The emergency section saw more than 5,200 page views in one day during that time, which is 34 times more views than the section had seen the previous week.

WVU’s Web developers are continuing to grow the system. In 2010, they added an augmented reality-enhanced campus map using the Layar Reality Browser, which is compatible with iPhones and Android-based phones. Also that year, WVU Libraries developed a mobile version of its site that shows available computers in the libraries by floor, among other features.

Following the launch of WVU Mobile Web, University Relations/Web rolled out WVUToday’s mobile site, which is a version of WVU’s news site that’s easier to read on a mobile phone screen.

The University also offers an iPhone app called iWVU, developed by WVU engineering student Jared Crawford.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.