Gonzaga university has many student resources and tools. However, information about these resources is often spread by word-of-mouth, crowded bulletin boards,or overpacked notification emails, all of which can be exasperating to sift through. An official GU app will streamline university communication and student tools, and create a more welcoming environment for new students and visitors alike. An improvement in Gonzaga’s communication will allow significantly more students to participate in school events, many of which are created and run by other students. This will lead to increased campus unity, allowing students to engage with their college experiences outside the classroom.
Improving university tools (including department information and Who’s Who) will accomplish much of the same goal; more students will have access to university-provided departments that exist solely for students’ well-being. Increasing student awareness about these departments will promote the health and safety of all Gonzaga students. Finally, Gonzaga’s layout can be confusing for visitors and new students. A official GU app will put campus navigation at anyone’s fingertips, allowing for an easier visit, a stress-free first week of classes, and a more engaging college experience for all Gonzaga students.
There are three main tools that will be implemented in the GU app: an interactive campus map, a Who’s Who directory of Gonzaga, a calendar of university events/university news notification system. The campus map will aid new students and visitors. The map will include interactive buildings that, when highlighted, will display building hours, relevant department information and the option to schedule a tour. Additionally, university parking and university approved dining will be highlighted on the map. The GU mobile map will allow students to navigate campus on the go and not just in front of their laptop screens.
It will also allow visitors to quickly locate their campus destinations.
Who’s Who is a feature that already exists in Zagweb, which will be extended and improved in the GU app. The current mobile version of Who’s Who requires students to log in and navigate a maze of menus to search for fellow students. The GU app will have a dedicated Who’s Who button that will allow users with Zagweb credentials to search for students in addition to faculty and staff. This feature will give students a quick way to look up their classmates and study partners without being in front of a computer. The staff and faculty lookup will also help new students who have difficulty remembering their professors’ faces and contact information, allowing new students to get involved on campus early in their college careers.
Figure 1: Project Scope Context Diagram
This project will include three main components: Who’s Who interface, interactive campus map, and GU calendar/news notifications. The Who’s Who interface will include students (similarly to the Zagweb Who’s Who), but also faculty and staff information. The interactive campus map will include a map of campus and specific building information (building hours, description, and relevant department information/web link). The news/calendar feature will be a list of university events that users can also view in calendar format. Users will also be able to subscribe to event notifications.
The GU app will interface with several pre-existing software solutions which fall outside of the project’s scope. The Who’s Who feature will pull data from the Gonzaga Banner database and the events calendar and university notifications features will pull data from Zagtivities. Additionally, since the GU app will be developed exclusively for iOS, the software will need to be tailored to iPhone and iPad hardware.
The diagram in Figure 1 shows the three main GU app features and their connections to necessary databases and servers. The GU app will consist of in-app features and system features. The app will communicate with a variety of servers and API services. The in-app features will be supplied by our a dedicated app server and the CollegiateLink API servers. These servers will use API key authentication and LDAP authentication for security. The system features will also use services found on Gonzaga servers. Certain calendar subscriptions will feed off of the school’s official calendar services. Push notifications and system feature, will also receive notifications from our app server.
The following is a list of the main sub-features of each of the three main GU app features. Each sub-feature is grouped according to which major feature it is a part of. See the end of this document for visual mockups of the app layout and user interface.
- Who’s Who
- ability to lookup students, staff, and faculty
- ability to view photo and contact information of searchable people
- ability to text, call, or add a person to contacts
- built-in “special URLs” (e.g. clicking on an email address opens a new email)
- secure sign in to the Who’s Who database
- Interactive Map
- location services
- clickable buildings
- detailed building/department information
- event locations
- food and parking locations
- indoor maps
- building search
- Events, Calendar and Notifications
default subscriptions (e.g. Senior subscription, Engineering subscription)
- synchronized GU calendar
- synchronized Zagtivities events
- ability to opt in or out of notifications
- organization and event search
The overall objectives of this project are to improve existing student resources, increase student awareness of campus resources, and increase student participation in campus events.
- 2,000 user downloads in its first year
- Increase student participation in school-sanctioned events through the news and event notifications within a year of the app’s official release
- Increase the number of visitors to school-approved dining facilities from the interactive campus map feature within a year of the app’s official release
- Increase use of school services found in the app (e.g. more students using the weekend shuttle service) within a year of the app’s official release
- Create a smoother first month of classes for new students via the interactive campus map and faculty Who’s Who features (decrease first day of class lateness within the first two semesters of the app being officially released)
- Run a focus group for app testing/development with GU students and obtain statistical data to demonstrate to the sponsors the effectiveness of the app
- Gain experience running an entrepreneurial project
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