Have you ever gotten lost walking around campus? Ever walked to the library only to find it closed? Have you needed an emergency number or needed to contact a professor? Southern Oregon University has heard your problems and has responded with the new SOU Mobile App.
The smartphone application, released on Oct. 29, was developed by iCampus, a firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif. that develops mobile apps for universities. Development began in June in a partnership between SOU and project manager Travis Bishop, an SOU alumnus.
The app has 11 features, including campus maps, staff and faculty directory and emergency numbers. Phone numbers and email addresses can be tapped to call or email directly from the app, rather than looking up the information, then pulling up the corresponding application that you would use.
“Development of the app was really a partnership between iCampus and SOU,” said SOUs Chief Information Officer, Brad Christ. “iCampus provides the framework for the app, but it relies on both commercial services and SOU services.”
Commercial services include Google Maps and Gmail, while SOU services include access to your personal drive, the online directory and the library catalog.
The app does not include anything previously unavailable on the Internet, although it does bring the more useful features of SOU’s website and MySOU together into one easy-to-access place and, in some cases, improves upon them.
The map function highlights campus buildings and can help students navigate their way through campus using the smartphone’s GPS function.
The emergency button gives a listing of phone numbers for emergency services such as Campus Public Safety, the Ashland Police Department, the Ashland Fire Department, and Rape/Crisis Intervention services. This function also includes a large button at the top that connects users to 911.
The course search function allows users to look up classes that they are taking and see when and where those classes meet, a useful function for the beginning of the term. This function was developed by SOU’s web developer Francisco Kuriyama.
Looking to the future, Christ hopes to add more mobile services and continue to develop the app.
“We want the app to be a ‘portal’ for our mobile services,” said Christ.
Christ and the app developers are looking for any feedback on how to further improve the app.
The app can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store for iOS phones and the Google Play store for Android phones. Smartphones without either operating system can still use a mobile web version at m.sou.edu.
To provide feedback, contact Brad Christ at firstname.lastname@example.org.