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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Handy fit for campus news

Arizona Mobile, the first ever mobile phone application developed by the UA, fits the latest news, events and other UA-related information into the palm of your hand.

The application, currently compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, has already claimed its place among other applications in the App Store and is available for free download. Features include easy access to campus maps, emergency contacts, meal plans, athletic scores, course listings, UA phonebook and campus directory, among many others.

Universities developing and offering mobile applications such as this is not a new concept. According to the Google Enterprise Blog, Columbus State University has been using Google Apps Education Edition since early 2009.

Nicholas Adamakis, director of marketing for Student Affairs and Arizona Student Unions, said the UA had considered creating the application as a way to more directly benefit the campus community, but did not rush the process to ensure it served the largest amount of people possible.

“”There is no benefit to creating an app just to have one,”” Adamakis said. “”It was better to wait until we could create an app that would offer practical benefit for the UA community.”” Prior to the application’s launch, the UA surveyed students to gauge their interest in the product and to address their concerns. Students also participated in initial product testing and provided feedback.

Though much of the information provided by Arizona Mobile can already be accessed for free via other online platforms, Adamakis said he believes that the application will be widely utilized because it compiles all of the information already available into one easily accessible mobile platform.

Arizona Mobile cost roughly $50,000 to develop and users should expect frequent updates to the application as developers implement new ideas to improve the product or to address user concerns, Adamakis said.

Lisa Stage, a marketing specialist for UITS Communications and Marketing, said she expected nearly 7,000 incoming freshmen to attend this year’s new student orientation sessions, where an Arizona Mobile booth advertises the application.

Adamakis added that feedback from orientation has been overwhelmingly positive thus far. He said he thought more people will continue to ask about and use the application, especially when they launch Android, Blackberry and mobile web versions in the near future. After seeing the application up close, students and parents seemed to agree.

“”It seems pretty convenient,”” said Daniel Villate, a freshman from Glendale, Ariz. “”There’s a map on it, so I can locate myself just in case I do get lost.””

Villate and his father, Fernando Villate, said they were both slightly disappointed that the application was not compatible with their Android phones, but that it seemed like a great product and they looked forward to downloading it.

“”The sooner the better,”” said Daniel Villate.

Mark Langerman, from Scottsdale, Ariz., said that, even as a parent, he finds the application relevant and useful.

“”It helps me stay in the know,”” Langerman said. “”I’m hoping to get a feel for the campus for when we come down and visit …  I’d download the app even if they did charge, but with what we’re paying for tuition, they ought to have it for free.””

Arizona Mobile may be a sign of a larger push to make the UA more technology-driven, Stage said.

“”It definitely fits within the bigger picture,”” she said. “”(The UA is always looking for) new ways to increase the availability of bringing education to where people are. We have a YouTube and iTunes channel … we recognize people are moving away from their desktop computers with this (app) move.””

Adamakis agreed that the UA needs to continue to take advantage of new technologies in order to best serve its students.

“”Mobile technology and app development is an emerging priority throughout the UA,”” he said. “”Departments across the university … are involved in efforts to expand the UA’s presence in the mobile space. We will serve our growing student population through integrated state-of-the-art technological support and an upgraded communications infrastructure.””

The application is also drawing praise from UA administrators.

“”I have it on my iPad. I love it,”” UA President Robert Shelton said. “”I think it’s very helpful and I think it’s going to continue to grow and be refined. So, I guess I would say it’s about time.””

 

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