NSU Director of Informational Services
Northwestern State University unveiled a new mobile app last week that provides access to several useful links and services, news and events, maps and other features. The app is available on iOS and Android platforms. Users can use the app to track registration and financial aid, listen to KNWD Radio and locate available computers in computer labs.
“There is something in the app for everyone – community members, campus guests, alumni and prospective students. Items include athletics, news and calendar events, housing information, interactive maps, access to student media and more,” said Ron Wright, NSU’s chief information officer.
The free app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod Touch and was developed in-house on top of a framework provided by Ellucian, software for higher education management.
“This provides us with deep integration into Banner and the services that students rely on such as registration and access to key information such as financial aid status and university account balances,” Wright said. “Faculty members have access to class schedules, rosters and advisee information. All employees have access to leave balances. The primary design goal was to create an app that users could interact with daily to enhance their NSU experience.”
Two additional features are the ability to send targeted Push Notifications via the app as well as support for beacon technology.
“Push support will allow us to proactively send messages to students informing them of items such as holds on their account, the availability of grades or registration reminders,” Wright said. “Use of these notifications will be limited to items of importance to the users. Beacons allow us to trigger notifications to students based upon their proximity to a given location on campus.
“The technology behind the app allows us to push out changes and new features without requiring users to download new versions of the app. Each time a user opens the app it will check for new items and update itself if necessary,” Wright said.
There are additional features already in the works including integration with online courses so that due dates and other course-related information will appear in the app. Also coming soon will be the ability for students to pay tuition, fees and other charges.
Development of NSU Mobile included staff members from across the ITS group. The two primary developers were Matthew Foshee and Jorge Rodriguez, both graduates of NSU’s Computer Information Systems program.
“Their unique insight as former students played a key part in the apps overall design and feature set,” Wright added.
“After only four days of availability we have seen close to 600 downloads without formally promoting its availability. We expect to see these numbers increase quickly over the next few weeks,” he said.