MU to debut iPhone app

Provost Brian Foster approved funding through the IT fee.
Maura Howard / Graphic Designer

The push for an MU iPhone application that started with the Missouri Students Association is now in the hands of the Division of Information Technology.

Provost Brian Foster approved funding for the MU smart phone application through the Application Services budget in January. Students pay for this funding through their IT fee, said Kevin Bailey, Division of Information Technology director of customer service and support.

"Last summer we tried to develop strategic plans on how to invest the IT fee in support of learning and teaching," Bailey said. "Everything is going mobile these days and mobile devices are where a lot of growth is."

Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce proposed the idea for an MU iPhone application in April 2009, but until last month, there was no definite funding plan.

The application would possibly include a map of campus, a calendar of events and access to myZou, Noce said. Other options for the application are a live feed for KCOU/88.1 FM, an RSS feed for the athletics department and local news updates. The application would likely be available for free.

"The application is a really good resource," Noce said. "You can get all the information about stuff to do at Mizzou in the palm of your hand. In the past, students would have to go to Jesse Hall and wait in line to sign up for classes, but now that could be done from your phone."

Noce said funding the application is a step toward making MU a more mobile campus.

"Everything has become more on-the-go and more mobile," Noce said. "Every day there is a new way to receive information on your phone. That is the direction I feel a lot of stuff is going. In the future, anything will be able to be done from your phone."

Application Services, a division of DoIT, is working on the production of the application, principle database programmer Ali Merayyan said.

DoIT is expanding the application and creating a platform compatible with major mobile devices. The MU mobile application will not only be compatible with iPhones, but also Blackberrys, Nokias and Windows smart phones.

"The main goal is to give students access to more information," Merayyan said. "Mobile devices are catching up as the device to use to access data."

Noce got ideas for the MU mobile application from other universities with existing mobile applications. The University of Texas, Duke University and Stanford University are among the colleges with iPhone applications.

"Another thing that pushed me to work on the application was I learned there was an iPhone application class here at Mizzou," Noce said.

DoIT is aiming to have the first version of the mobile application available by next fall, Merayyan said.

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