Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, during his address at the App launch.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Professor Rajesh Chandra launched USP’s official Mobile App on 19 July 2018.
This Mobile App accompanied the launch of three (3) more Apps including the USP Campus Map App, Events App and a web application for easier approval of registration forms related to Student Administrative Services (SAS) for easy approval and to ensure appropriate approval channel is followed in processing these forms.
The University also celebrated the achievement of eight (8) of its Innovations that have received innovations Patents from the Australian Patent Agency.
In launching the Apps, Professor Chandra said that there is little doubt that the world is now a fully knowledge and innovation based economy and society, and everyone is at the cusp of accelerating digital transformation.
He mentioned that even though the Pacific lags behind other regions, it is catching up and the University is pushing hard in the area of creativity, innovation and digital transformation.
“We always wanted to have a USP App where all students and staff get information on their fingertips with minimum cost. I am proud to say we do have it now with initial features developed by different developers of mLearning team,” Professor Chandra said.
He informed the guests that USP embraced mLearning to facilitate and support learning in 2011.
The mLearning team initially developed a fit-for-purpose mLearning infrastructure that primarily utilised the short message service (SMS) for its delivery and services.
USP hosts an in-house setup open source SMS gateway that facilitates its custom-made SMS services such as notifications, exam timetable information, and quizzes.
The mLearning tools, he added, were formally introduced in 2012 with SMS-based services such as SMS Quiz, SMS notification and SMS exam timetable.
More recently, Professor Chandra emphasised that with the proliferation of smartphones in the Pacific, USP changed its strategy and invested largely on web-based services from 2014.
The Vice-Chancellor and President acknowledged the leadership of Associate Professor Bibhya Sharma in mLearning and congratulated his team for a job well done.
Now 50 years old the Uiversity has entered another level where it is creating patents and this is a sign of its maturity. The Engineers are the drivers of patents and this is only going to increase with more staff and students becoming enthused by what is being achieved.
The USP Mobile App is an informative tool for students, staff, visitors and people who wish to join USP.
It is the official USP Mobile app and aims to have most of USP’s information, services and web functionalities accessible by the users instantly and efficiently. Most importantly, this app has features such as notification; exam timetable and quiz which were initially SMS based service are now in this app.
Other features are News and Course Feed, Events, Course Timetable, First Year tools, Emergency contacts, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Course Finder and Edutainment module (Game).
Some of the guests at the Apps launch.
The USP Campus Map is an intuitive tool that is designed to help new staff, students and visitors to find their way around USP Laucala campus. Students and visitors will be able to find and navigate to desired places, rooms and facilities in the campus with less struggle and time wastage.
The App displays buildings on the maps using different colors. The search functionality allows the users to locate the rooms and obtain directions to their destination. The map also displays sheltered and unsheltered path. The App also works offline.
The Events App is a collaborative app for event organisers and participants for USP or Non-USP events hosted in USP.
Organisers of an event are able to share all the information about the event with instant notification on any updates. Any new events or updates can be added from the portal and it will automatically synchronise in the app.
The app has features such as Schedule, Events Info, Discussion Forum, Polling/Quiz, Resources, Notes and Maps.
The University also developed in-house and piloted the English Language Skills Assessment (ELSA) Online.
The following Innovations by the University have received patents:
Mobile cane for the Blind and Visually Impaired - portable electronic gadget suitable to navigate by the fully blind or visually impaired person, which detects and warns the user of the presence of any obstacles around the user and also of any abrupt changes on the ground surface;
Portable Wave-Solar Energy Harvesting Device - this system is a single self-contained unit that presents the concept of designing a portable low cost wave-solar harvesting device for Island countries;
Braille Slate to Teach Children with Visual Disabilities - this educational device is useful to teach basic Braille characters such as numerals and alphabets to visually impaired children and contains audible voice output upon button press, volume control, and smart battery status monitor for charging and battery voltage through auditory means;
GSM Based Early Flood Warning and Monitoring System – this device is useful to monitor and send early warning during floods and uses SMS messages to send out alert during floods automatically with the location and the system is localised;
Aromatic Network for Power Distribution System – this is a novel distribution network which is inspired by natural structure of an aromatic molecule, like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) where hexagonal benzene is the basic element for the network;
Foot Steps Waste Energy Harvesting System using Hydro Generator – this system gives a foot step energy harvesting that converts kinetic energy into electrical energy through water flow circulation. The system has been designed into a tile structure platform which is suitable to install at places where there is frequent human movement;
EMI Sensor for Non-destructive Corrosion Estimation in Concrete - This handy device is useful to detect corrosion of concrete structures for different chemical contents at any stage of corrosion occurring in real-time; and
My Kana App - Innovative Food apps is useful to measure food portions using their fist, palm and thumb.
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