Friday, September 12, 2014

Tarleton Mobile App

Web Services, Information Technology Services (ITS), and the Digital Media Advisory Committee have been working for several months to prepare and implement a new mobile app for Tarleton.

The app is created by Ellucian, the company which also brings us MyGateway (Luminis), Ducktrax (Student Self-Service), and Banner. Becky Gray, CIO and Executive Director of Information Technology Services at Tarleton, saw a demo of the app at a conference during spring of 2013. Because Tarleton did not have a primary app for the institution AND there was a need to provide a mobile-friendly way to access student services, Becky investigated Ellucian's app further and made the decision to purchase.

The Digital Media Advisory Committee began discussing the app's look and feel as well as content to be placed in the app during the spring of 2014. One of the deciding factors about content was whether or not it is "mobile-friendly".  Currently, there is no "free" mobile-friendly interface for Blackboard, so the decision was made to not link to Blackboard from the app. However, since TexanSync already had a mobile-friendly interface, we decided to include a link to that website.

We also included links to student email, Tarleton's news and events, social media, emergency contacts, campus maps and directory, athletics, and several more items. And of course, students are able to access their grades and schedules from the app as well!

-Daphne Hunt

From a Student's Perspective
Tori Jones, Assistant Intern in Web Services:

From my perspective this app has really made my life a little bit easier. My favorite part of the app is when you click on courses - it shows you what courses you have, what time they are at and even has them all laid out in a schedule. You are also able to access your grades in classes from past semesters, which I found was really convenient because sometimes I like to look back and see what my grades are looking like as a whole, and being able to see that I had a B in that class, or an A in another class really helps things stay organized.

Another thing that the app comes in handy for on a student's perspective is the link to TexanSync. Being a student worker for Web Services, as well as a Residential Leader, I use TexanSync quite a bit. Having that direct access from the app to TexanSync allows me to have access to important things that I need to know and event times with a touch of a button, literally.

As a Residential Leader, there comes times that call for emergency contacts needing to be reached. With the new app, not only are the University Police Department's number available at the click of a button, but the Erath County Sheriff's Office, and Stephenville Police Department numbers are programmed in as well.

This app was something special for Tarleton that was long awaited, with all the new technologies coming into play, it was just a countdown to when we would finally get this app. It's got a really good look to it, and not only that it's extremely easy to use - from having links to student email, TexanSync, Emergency Contacts, and everything in-between, it's definitely a must have!