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Mobile applications help connect students to large campuses

AT&T’s Campus Guide gives DePaul University students one-stop access to campus information
University Business, December 2012

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University in Chicago is the largest Catholic university in the United States. With 10 colleges divided between two campuses, along with three additional satellite campuses, finding certain pieces of information can be challenging for students.

Memorizing maps, building locations, and class times is an additional stress on freshmen adjusting to college life. DePaul realized that being able to access such information on the go, at any time, would make life much easier for its students. Since twothirds of DePaul’s students already owned a smartphone, a mobile answer seemed to be the best solution.

“We had students asking us for an easy way to find out what’s going on around campus today,” says Cara Kaufmann-Rosenthal, director of development, information services. “Some were already asking about a campus application.”

DePaul turned to AT&T for a solution. AT&T Campus Guide is an open mobile campus platform that connects students and faculty to university information. Compatible with Apple, Android, and BlackBerry platforms, AT&T Campus Guide was the perfect fit for DePaul. “Since we didn’t have a mobile developer on staff, we wanted an application that already was built,” says Kaufmann-Rosenthal. “We did not want to have to hire someone to make this work. However, we did want something that was customizable for our needs.”

DePaul worked directly with AT&T for a year to develop an application that would address relevant student needs. Not wanting to launch an application that wasn’t ready, the university took its time customizing the perfect platform for its students. “We were really able to work as a team to build the app,” says Kaufmann-Rosenthal. “AT&T’s response was always quick whenever any issues surfaced.”

The university’s app was customized to include student schedules, campus events, access to class assignments and discussions, maps, athletic information and much more. Instead of carrying their course schedule, students can access their class time, professor, and location at any time from their mobile devices. Since athletics are huge on campus, the app includes “Meet the Coach” features and game times.

From the teasers published on social media to the campus newspaper and television features, DePaul extensively marketed the app to build excitement. Launched on October 14, results have been overwhelmingly positive. “According to the reports available to us through AT&T, the course information has been the most popular functionality,” says Bob McCormick, vice president of information services. “We had predicted that event information was going to be the most popular, so we were very pleased by that.”

At one week post-launch, the app had a 4-star rating on iTunes and a 3.9 on Google Play. One of the best results from the app implementation, according to Kaufmann-Rosenthal, has been the student feedback. “It is important to us to address student concerns that are expressed on Twitter, Facebook, and the app feedback sections and let students know they are being heard,” she says. DePaul welcomes student feedback as it looks to the future of the app. The university plans to take student input into account as it improves and develops the app as a one-stop solution for many student needs and concerns.

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