The Missouri Students Association passed legislation in support of implementing a cell phone application that would be supported by the Division of Information Technology.
This legislation is a part of many recent decisions MU and other universities nationwide have made to become more technologically advanced. As of this year, the School of Journalism requires all incoming freshmen to have either an iPod touch or an iPhone for school use.
"We have a lot of video and audio files to complement the classes," J school Associate Dean Brian Brooks said. "We've had a couple bumps with the technology but we are getting them ironed out. We are trying to adapt to the technology."
Development of technology for use on smart phones, such as the iPhone, is already being practiced at schools, such as Stanford and Duke universities. After the development of the original application, Stanford went on to allow students to create other applications at their discretion, and even hosted a free class to learn the intricacies of application technology.
"There is a class right now that develops iPhone applications," MU Student Communications Director Tim Noce said. "We have been talking with computer science and the School of Journalism about the possibility of a part of the curriculum involving the development and innovation of this application."
Other schools utilizing this technology generally operate under a third party. The costs for licensing are priced upwards of $30,000 or $40,000 a year. MU has declined the use of a third party, partially for that reason.
"A disadvantage to not paying third party is that it takes longer, but we can also do whatever we want to do because we aren't following the cookie cutter outline of that third party," Noce said.
The application, known as iMizzou, began as an idea solely for the iPhone, but is now focused on being multi-platform, meaning it will be an application for use on all smart phones. Trying to make the application multi-platform has drawn out the development process.
Among the projected capabilities of the application are weather updates, a map of campus, sports listings and updates and certain MyZou features, such as adding and dropping classes.
"The main benefit is mobile access to data," DoIT Director Terry Robb said. "There is no need to get out laptops and no need to find computing areas because you can just get it on the phone."
The program began spring semester 2009. It was a project MSA was going to take on alone but is now collaborating with other groups.
DoIT was asked to participate in the construction of the application about a month ago, and so far things are going smoothly, Robb said. The application will take time to develop because of certain security measures that need to be taken to protect the university's data.
"The application was never aimed at anyone in particular," Noce said. "Now that it's going to be multi-platform I think it could be a tool for everyone on campus."