A new Northern Michigan University mobile app with expanded functional options will be available for download from the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices beginning Monday, Aug. 27. Users can filter relevant content by selecting one of three personas: student; alumni; or community member.
The first university app, which was developed in house, provided basic functionality and enabled students to check their class schedules and grades from a mobile device. Version 1.0 of the new app provides enhanced functions and new services such as calendars and events, NMU directory, course schedule, grades, an interface to Educat, course search, finals schedule, information related to dining, police, and library services and direct ties to Athletics information and the university’s Instagram feed.
“Our focus was on students so IT worked with ASNMU on a winter-semester survey to determine which services students would most appreciate in a mobile app,” said Felecia Flack, assistant vice president for Information Services. “Those who participated were eligible to win a longboard. One of the most-requested features—the finals schedule—is incorporated in Release 1.0 this fall. Other services, such as course cancellation notifications, will require more time and effort because they are projects in themselves. The other top features students wanted were: a virtual NMU identification card; holds; and classroom availability.”
In researching mobile app platforms, NMU explored external software program providers that other universities are using and selected Modo Labs. The Massachusetts-based company’s website states that it offers an “enterprise-scale mobile engagement and communication platform” that enables customers to quickly and easily create institutional or corporate apps.
“Unlike some vendors, Modo Labs allows us to incorporate university branding, which gives the app a unique look,” Flack said. “The personas enable us to provide different services for different audiences, customizing the experience. NMU purchased the platform at the beginning of June and immediately began getting the basic functions ready for a rollout this fall. IT worked closely with Marketing and Communications on the branding and the marketing plan.”
A Mobile App roadmap was created that provides for the rollout of additional services and functionality, including push notifications, in upcoming semesters.