With smartphones and mobile devices everywhere on campus, students expect complete mobile access to everything from course assignments and grades to events and sports news. This web seminar, originally presented on April 11, 2012, explored how two schools use AT&T Campus Guide, enabling them to keep students and staff connected, informed and engaged while on the go.
Education Industry Solutions Consultant
In developing our Campus Guide application platform, our goal was to focus on our core businesses—network, mobility, application, and hosting services—to deliver services to our education customers.
That is the core approach we took in choosing a platform for mobile applications for education. Based on feedback from CIOs, faculty, administration, and students across the country, we realized that colleges were aggressively seeking ways of mobilizing and transforming their campuses. The power of the smartphone has really changed things and we wanted to provide an application on this platform. We also wanted to make sure it would be carrier- and device-agnostic.
We chose Dub as the platform that powers the engine of our Campus Guide application. This platform is currently licensed to more than 640 colleges and universities. We also wanted to make sure it would integrate with other technology investments that institutions had made.
And we needed it to be customizable so each institution could achieve their own look and feel and match their own branding. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Rockhurst University are two institutions that have worked with us on implementing this system.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
In selecting a mobile application, we had several requirements:
- It had to work on multiple platforms—iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, tablets, or something else that might not have been invented yet.
- It needed to bring all our services together in a single umbrella.
- We needed it to work in a multi-campus system, so if we show sports we are showing sports for the right campus and the right student.
- We needed to meet the diverse needs of our students.
- We needed the right technology platform, and one that would be scalable and agile and grow with changes in the future.
- We needed to integrate with all of our other systems.
We selected AT&T Campus Guide after a year of evaluating products and vendors, and even briefly considering building our own. Most of the products fell short on one or more of our requirements. But AT&T met them all.
The favorite feature is a mashup of Blackboard and our SIS. Students see everything in one place: class schedules, locations, grades, discussions, and course content. Another important feature is sports. Students want to know what’s happening, where it is. The platform uses RSS feeds from our existing website. Users can drill down into details of each event, share with others, or add it to their calendar. Other key components are videos, maps, and contacts.
The ability to manage the application is quite simple because the technology is superior. We can manage everything from a central interface.
Key considerations for us are the ease of support and maintenance, elimination of overlapping functions by bringing everything together under the app umbrella, thinking of the big picture through the entire student lifecycle, ease of use and sustainability.
Because we have a multi-campus environment, we waited to implement the system until Campus Guide added the feature for a student to configure the app to link to specific campus events. So a student in Prescott will see what’s going on with the golf team, while a Daytona student can follow the basketball team.
In the future, we want to add new features, including special event feeds for orientation as well as news and videos. We also want to add weather event alerts for our Daytona campus during hurricanew season. We feel we have a solid foundation that we can build on for the future.
Other enhancements we are looking for in the future could include:
- Integration with Monster and LinkedIN so we can put job postings out through the app.
- Information on recruiting and admission timelines with links to resources.
- Transactional capabilities including drop/add courses and bill pay.
Key benefits include: flexibility and agility, easy deployment of new features or content, easy-to-use management console, true single sign on, continuing development, and a very smooth implementation process.
Director of Infrastructure Services
he Rockhurst mobile application is available for most popular mobile devices and fits into our IT focus, which is to make all resources available anywhere, on any device, at any time.
We did not have to hire any additional staff to implement or manage the application. Because we are not locked into one carrier, we reach almost all our students and staff. We are also impressed with the roadmap for future modules and the generally fast turnaround time on implementation of new features.
The university uses Active Directory and the application integrates seamlessly with it and provides a single sign-on to all the applications that students are authorized to use.
We wanted to customize the look and feel of the interface and Dub worked closely with us to redesign the look to match our requests.
Looking ahead, there are several new features we are excited about, including:
- An admissions module so students can apply or request information directly through our application.
- A native iPad or Android tablet app.
- A schedule module to include class schedules and sharing with classmates.
- A career module for job search.
- The ability to buy books and supplies online.
- A dining module to check menus and meal points.
- A course registration module to include add/drop classes.
- A finance module to handle payments or check balances.
The Rockhurst mobile app is available through iTunes, Android Market, and BlackBerry World. Since we launched in November 2011, we’ve had 900 downloads. We used our website as well as social networking—Facebook and Twitter—to get the message out to our students and staff.
To view this web seminar in its entirety, please visit: bit.ly/ws051012.