Introducing the AUBG Mobile App
The beginning of the Spring 2017 semester marked a change in the daily life of the AUBG community. Students were encouraged to download the new AUBG mobile app from an email notification sent out by the university student services. The app would be used to take attendance in some of the classes. Other feature tools would include accessing university information, events schedule, campus news feed, personal messaging system, and club groups.
According to Lydia Krise, Dean of Students and one of the administrators of the application, the initial reason behind the app was primarily for push messages used for crisis management.
“If something bad happens we need to get information quickly to as many people as possible. This is the most effective way to do it in today’s technological society,” she commented.
For the time being, however, the application is still only being tested, with a full release and proper integration planned for the Fall 2017 semester. The company which designed the app is OOHLALA Mobile Inc. It is based in Canada and specializes in apps for universities.
Questions about the necessity of the app and it’s cost were answered by President Kulinski in his open response letter of 50 answers.
“We negotiated close to 10% discount and the cost is $14,500 per year.,” announced Kulinski. “The app does not take priority over other decisions… The app has been widely used by the AUBG community, and I am told that AUBG set a record for download-to-registration conversion percentages within all universities using the app.”
Meanwhile the administrators are adding information and intend to give access to the Student Government and the club presidents so that they can create events on the application.
“…from the ones who have downloaded it 85% have actually logged in and created accounts and are actively using it. There are more than 500 students on board which makes me really happy, because it is what we were hoping for,” she stated.
The new app is also designed to assist professors in taking attendance. Currently there are ten faculty members following that practice. Nevertheless, having the app installed is not necessary for your attendance to be taken, according to Krise.
“The professor has the QR code and can do it manually from the computer in the classroom. If you don’t have a phone with you, your battery is dead, you don’t have a phone or don’t want one, you don’t have to. They can still take attendance without you having the app,” Krise noted.
In regard to the future developments of the app, Krise disclosed that the front page would be reorganized and some more information would be added. Following the official launch would be an expected increase in student usage. The latter applies particularly to the clubs which will be able to communicate through the app. As for the club groups, joining one will require permission from the moderator of that club. Facebook links will also be added, so that the clubs can link their Facebook pages with their app group.
“If you go on their webpage they do this kind of personalized app. That is all they do. It’s for schools from as small as 200 students to Harvard law. They work all around the world with all kind of different people. And so far it seems quite effective,” commented Krise.“I think it is a good idea and it definitely has a place in the AUBG community. However, it needs some development and improvement in certain areas. I was expecting a more academic approach to it and the news feed is to some extent unnecessary,” Nadezhda Yankulska, a second-year student added.
“To be honest I don’t use it that much…,” said Ilda Duka, a second-year student and Resident Assistant of Skaptopara II.One of the main things that Duka likes is the Hungry Griffin menu that is posted regularly on the app which allows international students to see the types and prices of the food offered. “…It’s not that necessary, but I am interested to see how it will progress.”