Butler University is about to unveil its first mobile app, providing students and faculty with the ability to check their schedules, search the course catalog, read campus news, and more.
“I love it,” said junior Rachel Skelton, who helped the University’s Information Technology (IT) department choose the features on the app. “Students like to pull out their phone and use it rather than walk to a computer or open a laptop.”
The idea for the app—which was a year in the making—came out of a meeting with President Jim Danko and the Student Government Association’s Council on President Affairs, an advisory group. After Skelton suggested creating a mobile app, Danko asked IT to develop one.
The job fell to David Alder, senior web systems analyst and lead developer. He worked with an app development company called Highpoint.
Last spring, the University quietly tested a mobile website. Skelton promoted the site in Starbucks, asking students to check out its features.
To a person, everybody seemed to like the features.
“No one had any idea about the mobile site,” she said. “With the addition of my.butler”—the University’s internal website—everyone was like, ‘I never knew I wanted this, but now that it’s here, it’s amazing.’”
Next came the mobile app, which includes icons labeled alerts, news, safety, course catalog, class search, academics, campus map, events, calendar, library, athletics, service, and admission. In the near future, students will be able to register for and change classes.
Alder said this is just the beginning. He expects the University to add a series of updates to the app to help students, faculty, and, eventually ,staff, access the information they need at their fingertips. One update now being worked on will allow users to sign up for classes and exchange information about classes offered at the Health & Recreation Complex.
“We want to try things out,” Alder said. “We’re going to be exploring this space and trying to find out what we can do with it as a university.”