You’d be hard-pressed to find a university or college today that doesn’t have its own dedicated campus mobile app. And with valuable services like class scheduling, news, dining menus, maps and safety features, campus apps make a lot of sense for the current generation of smartphone-dependent students.
The University of Montana recently reached the one-year mark with its campus mobile app platform, campusM. A platform that can be tailored to a university’s specific needs and design, Montana’s version of campusM was constructed alongside software developer and app provider, ExLibris.
According to analytics from ExLibris made available through the campusM platform, the most popular app features used by students have been integration with the Montana’s LMS provider Moodle, dining menus through Food Zoo, and personalized class schedules and grades. Food Zoo, which was integrated using the ExLibris’ app extension kit, displays cafeteria menus, nutritional information, and daily updates for students.
In a separate use case university officials opted to use the app’s push notification mechanism to host voting in the annual student government elections, replacing the previously used Ellucian Banner system.
Future developments for Montana’s campus app include a tutoring service to help connect students with on-campus tutors, an International Development Studies service to connect students in the program with scholarship, internship and program information, and an integration with the university’s Cascade Content Management System to enable content owners to better manage their service content.
“We wanted a mobile infrastructure that was independent of any student or financial ERP systems and that offers the autonomy to develop interfaces to consume data from any internal or external systems,” says Jeff Abbott, Assistant CIO at the University of Montana. “We also wanted to be able to present relevant data to end users quickly and easily in a UM-branded view. As we discovered, customization and connectivity are a key strength of Ex Libris products. Our development team was able to leverage the integration infrastructure of campusM and quickly deploy tiles and data to our end user community with great success and adoption.”
The University of Montana is one of the early North American adopters of the campusM platform and launched its app in August 2016, seeing some 12,000 registrations to date. The app’s deployment at Montana required only a small team of four people to deploy, along with the aid of a few student employees and IT personnel on campus to assist with some of the development.