Three Bournemouth University Business Studies students designed a mobile app for local heritage attraction Highcliffe Castle.

The work, part of their final-year project, involved carrying out primary research on how other historical sites use mobile apps, as well as fully exploring the app development process and the options available.

The students also created a working prototype of the app, which they used to demonstrate their vision of how the technology could be used at Highcliffe Castle in a presentation to staff at the attraction as well as their academics.

BU lecturer and project management specialist Karen Thompson explained that the process of working with a real client to solve a real business problem is invaluable to students’ education, as it develops their professional competencies, such as communication skills, that enhance what is learnt in the classroom. Furthermore, the knowledge gained in their lectures is cemented, and they have an opportunity to explore areas of interest beyond the scope of the curriculum.

Working closely with local organisations and communities is one of the cornerstones of our fusion strategy, which is why the Highcliffe Castle project is such a fantastic example of fusion. Bournemouth University’s collaboration with the castle goes back to 2011 and has primarily provided an opportunity for students on our Business Studies courses to conduct their final-year projects.

Among the other projects our students have been involved with at Highcliffe Castle are investigating the feasibility and business case for a stained glass workshop, analysis of the financial aspects of the historic site, and improving signage between the carpark and the castle.

These projects are comparable to a dissertation, so the students are expected to conduct primary research for their project, as well as to come up with an innovative solution that meets one of the castle’s needs as a visitor attraction.

While these projects have all been valuable on a personal level for our students, collectively they have been equally valuable to Highcliffe Castle.

Highcliffe Castle received £2.85 million in Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) in April 2016 to continue developing the site. In putting together the bid, the team at the castle drew on much of the research that BU’s students have carried out over the years to support their application for funding.

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