Noah Yantis –
On August 26, Illinois College finally made the jump into the mobile app world with its own “Illinois College App” available on the Apple App Store and the Android market.
The app was released before the start of the fall semester and is the cumulative work of student committees, faculty input, and the Information Technology Department.
25 students were selected by the Student Senate and IT to serve on the student committee tasked with developing an IC application. The committee included a wide range of students such as Computer Science majors and Student Senators, in addition to various other groups.
The student committee viewed three different vendors and selected Modo Labs who, according to IC Chief Information Officer Patrick Brown, created apps for Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Harvard.
Patrick Brown also said in an interview that Modo Labs was the “unanimous choice of that committee” and that everyone being behind a single publisher meant they were moving in the right direction.
The app has 17 different sections including, Calendar, Dining, Announcements, Laundry Alert, Courses, Directory, News, Athletics, Social, Video, Photos, The Rambler, Schewe Library, Map, Emergency, Student Resources, and IC Extras.
The IC application is a handy tool to check your laundry, see what is being served in the dining hall, and view a map of campus.
Students around campus have had nothing but praise for the app, which has been in discussion for close to three years.
One sophomore said, “I think the app is a great way for me to get the info I want as quickly as I can because I always have my phone in my hand.”
Another student, an alum who graduated this past May, said they are jealous of current students who have a mobile app and think it is a great thing for campus technology and marketability.
Although CIO Patrick Brown says the app “is a great success,” it is not without its faults.
On the Initial Launch Day, the app would crash at the Directory screen, which allows students to search for faculty, staff, and departments such as Campus Security. Some students are still having trouble with searching via the Directory on iOS, and Information Technology is working on resolving the issue.
Another problem that has occurred, this time only for Android users, is faults and glitches with the Map section. Patrick Brown says a ticket has been filed with Modo Labs in order to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
One aspect of the app that got students excited was a new list of local stores and restaurants that offered discounts to IC students. However, as one student found out, this list may be in need of updating. The retail store Goodwill was on the list but refused to offer a student discount. The proper IC official was notified of this error and it has since been removed.
Hopefully issues such as these will be resolved shortly and no other problems arise in the meantime. IC is increasingly embracing bringing more technology to campus, such as the Campus Monitors and the Digital Learning Center. These new pieces of tech, like all new technology, are not without their share of glitches.
CIO Patrick Brown also talked about improving the IC App in the future saying, “We plan to utilize our monthly meetings with Student Senate as well as communication with all students we encounter to come up with new ideas.”
Brown also said that Connect2 will eventually make its way onto the app, and would make the IC App a complete copy of the desktop website.
All-in-all, the IC App is a raving success and just what this campus needs to continue to grow in marketability and compete with other institutions vying to increase their enrollment.
Noah Yantis, from Arthur, Illinois, is a sophomore majoring in History with a minor in Political Science and Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Noah is Treasurer and Features Editor of The Rambler and Public Relations Chairman of Student Senate.