New mobile site keeps RIT community connected
Features include news, bus schedules, events, campus map
Sept. 26, 2011
by Michael Saffran
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It’s now easier than ever to keep up with RIT while on the go.
The university has launched a mobile-friendly website, compatible with a variety of mobile devices and offering easy access to a wide range of information. Initial features include news, bus schedules, dining-services information, events, lab hours, a campus map and useful links.
To use the mobile website, go to m.rit.edu. No log-in, download or installation is required, and the site is customizable (users can arrange and display icons to suit their preferences).
Last spring, more than 1,100 RIT students, faculty, staff and alumni responded to a survey asking about how they use mobile devices and what mobile-Web features would be most important to them. Results identified information about courses, dining services, events and lab hours, along with news, bus schedules, a directory and campus map as desirable content.
With ongoing input from users through surveys and other opportunities for feedback, additional features will be added, and “mobile apps” for Android and Apple iOS devices, such as the iPhone and iPod touch, are expected to be made available later this year.
“The ability to have real-time information at your fingertips is paramount to RIT’s overall communications strategy,” says Bob Finnerty, chief communications officer. “This will allow the university to engage the RIT community in a dynamic way.”
The project was led by representatives from Academic Affairs, Admissions, Development and Alumni Relations, Information and Technology Services, Student Government, University News Services, University Publications and The Wallace Center. Modo Labs, a Massachusetts-based mobile design and development firm, assisted in the initiative.
“Not only will it provide a valuable service to those on campus, but it will also connect alumni, family members, prospective students and others who are off campus to the wide range of events and services at RIT,” says Patrick Saeva, director of technical strategy for Development and Alumni Relations.
Adds Dan Shelley, assistant vice president and director of undergraduate admissions: “While the current RIT mobile access and device-specific mobile application initiative has been focused on current students, more is planned for prospective students in the near future.”
In addition, Information and Technology Services and the School of Interactive Games and Media in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences are partnering to develop curricula on rich media and interactive mobile applications. The coursework will help prepare students for work in mobile-application development and the creation of mobile apps to serve the campus.
“The School of Interactive Games and Media is very excited to be a part of the planning and deployment process for the mobile strategy for RIT,” says Andrew Phelps, professor and the school’s director. “Working with Information Technology Services will allow us to build engaging, media-driven social experiences. I am personally excited to be able to interject a fun, media-centric view into the overall deployment and create some off-the-wall experiences for the RIT community and to think constructively about supporting user-generated content on this expanding platform.”