IPhone users can now access campus maps, course information and a university directory through a free mobile app created by Academic Technologies. The app, GW Mobile, debuted earlier this academic year and is available on iTunes.
“The goal was to develop an in-house mobile application that would enhance teaching and learning,” says P.B. Garrett, assistant vice president and deputy chief information officer for academic technology.
GW is one of a few schools nationwide who has tapped student talent to create its own application, according to Ms. Garrett. While most universities pay a vendor for a “canned” application that allows for little customization, “we wanted the ability to control the development and meet institutional strategic goals,” she says.
Along with class information and maps, the app includes links on athletics, on emergencies and RSS feeds from GW Today and the Hatchet. The objective is to make the application available on any web-enabled browser, and Academic Technologies has started developing a Droid version, says Ms. Garrett.
Several GW students were involved in creating the app. Ph.D. computer science student Ingrid Mihai worked on the project for a year and a half, focusing primarily on the maps and educational tools features.
“This experience has helped me not only to improve and reshape my high-level programming skills but also to develop a strong team spirit,” says Ms. Mihai. “It encouraged me to come up with new ideas and learn to promote them.”
Student Ahadu Tilahun has worked for the past year designing and developing GW Mobile.
“The experience was phenomenal,” says Mr. Tilahun, who is a fifth-year student in GW’s joint B.S./M.S. program in systems engineering. “I am now more interested in mobile computing and intelligence systems than ever.”
“GW is truly a place where possibilities are endless,” he says.