Winter 2001-02

Grades — See Them Now on Your Cell Phone


It used to be that a student slipped a postal card into the exam book to be able to receive the course grade without having to wait for the report card.  There was always the embarrassment that the postman would be the first to know. 

  No longer.

Students at the University will now be able to receive their grades on their cell phones as a private written message—assuming ones parents or significant other doesn’t have their phone.

This is in addition to obtaining their grades by means of the University’s voice responder, as well as through the Internet, which they have been able to do for several years.

The University’s Division of Administrative Information Systems has built strings of vital information on every student—name, i.d. number, courses, grades (when available)—which it sends to the Israeli company Mail-bit.  The dot-com company employs SMS technology to send a message—the course grade—to the cell phone of every student who has registered to receive grades in this manner.  The grade pops up on the phone’s screen.

 For the present, the messages will be only in English, since not all cellular phones are equipped to handle Hebrew.  This semester, the service is free, since Mail-bit wants to interest as many students as possible to sign up.  It costs the company to send out each message, so Mail-bit will soon be charging—subject to University rate approval—to enable students to know their grades right away, whether they’re already in Nepal on their between-semester break or in the study carrel cramming for the next exam.

 Their cell phones will also in effect tell students whether they can remain where they are a little longer.  The same SMS technology is being employed to display class cancellations. When lecturers cannot teach on a specific day, they report it to the system, using the voice responder. This information is then forwarded in an SMS message to all students who are registered for the particular course and with the SMS service.

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