Columbus State University, located in Columbus, Georgia, started using Google Apps Education Edition in early 2009 and has since successfully implemented Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites and Google Video on campus. One challenge for our university, as with many others in today’s economy, is that student enrollment continues to rise while budgets remain flat. Accordingly, it's been pretty tough for us to keep pace with the IT demand.
We recently surveyed our students and learned that, no surprisingly, they strongly preferred to communicate with our school via cell phone andPDA . So we thought that we could get ahead of the curve by offering information live on these devices, allowing our students access to the latest information available and being able to avoid lines and other communications slow-downs, especially at the beginning of new terms.
To solve our problem we looked to Google for guidance on how to interface Google Mobile Apps with our Student Information System. We began our development process using the tools provided through Google’s online developer kit and even enlisted some Columbus State University students to take part in the project by taking advantage of the Android for Beginners group.Thanks to this integration, the information we are now able to provide in real-time from our Student Information System onto cell phones and PDAs includes:
- Student Account Information – amount owed, refund available, holds on account
- Student Scholastic Information – GPA, adviser contact and grades
- Student’s Individual Schedule of Classes
- Required Documents – Financial Aid, Immunization
- University Activity Schedule
- University Sports Schedule
- Shuttle Bus Schedule
- Campus Map
We foresee that the use of Mobile Apps will add to our customer service capabilities and allow students to more easily find information that might otherwise require phone calls or lines. Our ultimate goal is to duplicate all of the services that we now provide to students through our university portal. By doing so students will literally have all of our services on hand at all times.
Office of Information & Technology Services, Columbus State University
Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps Education team