Wondering what those boxes with the pixelated black and white squares are? Campus technologists have wondered the same thing, and some of them have used the boxes – known as Quick Response (QR) codes – to connect institutional print material with online resources.
QR codes, two-dimensional colorless images commonly used in South Korea and Japan and readable by smart phone cameras, are gradually catching on in American higher education, and there is no shortage of ideas for how the codes could be used on campus.
College students, for example, could see a QR code embedded in a campus pamphlet about upcoming school events. The student would use her iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone to snap a photo of the code, which would direct her to a website with more information about next week’s concert or sporting event.
These codes aren’t just good for promotional purposes. Professors can use QR codes in their syllabi to guide students to a site that supplements course lectures or readings.
“It’s no longer an emerging technology, but it’s still new,” said Jim Roberts, director of marketing and communications at Misericordia University, a 2,300-student campus in Dallas, Pa.
Misericordia was at the forefront of QR code use in American higher education, using the technology in campus paper materials since 2008.