By Jillian Anderson, Reporter
Lost, again. It’s been a month of school, so it should be a breeze to find the way to Mary Gibbs-Jones through the construction decimated campus, but there’s the front of Penland. With only 10 minutes to get to class, it’s going to be a hassle to do an Internet search for the location.
There’s an app for that. OsoMobile, constructed by Information Systems and Services, is a Baylor-centric app with features for students.
OsoMobile gives students access to their courses, grades and holds. In addition, the app features emergency numbers, a pinned GPS map of Baylor’s campus and a real-time bus tracker for the Baylor University Shuttle service.
“There’s always been a need or push towards mobile,” said Steven Kucera, assistant vice-president of Information Systems and Services. Kucera said, through conferences and hearing from students and faculty, Information Systems and Services made the decision to develop a mobile app for students to use at Baylor.
Joey Yglecias, analyst and programmer for Information Systems and Services and technical lead for OsoMobile development, created what the app is today with the use of a framework. The framework for a mobile app was purchased in 2013 from Ellucian, a higher education software and services company.
As Yglecias worked on the project he had to keep up with different changes in mobile technology, such as operating systems. The Ellucian framework, updated consistently by the company, helped, as well as Yglecias’ work. Additionally, Kucera said the department owns the code and can customize – or Baylorize – the application.
Within the framework, Yglecias was able to make helpful tools and features. For example, if a student wants to look at their grades, Yglecias uses the framework to create a query – or a search – to retrieve the information and show it the student. For the GPS locations of the campus buildings, Yglecias looked up the GPS coordinates and entered them.
“It’s another tool available for students,” Kucera said.
Kucera’s son, a transfer student at Baylor, used OsoMobile’s map to find his way around campus. Kucera noted that the building pictures in the app were very helpful to students new to the campus. Both Kucera and Yglecais said they’ve heard positive responses, but always want to hear from users.
“Feedback is important. We want people to know there’s an outlet for issues,” Yglecias said.
The next major update for OsoMobile will be released this coming spring and will mainly be an update to improve the app for iOS 9. However, Yglecias is looking into creating features for student finance and registration.
Overall, the goal is to constantly increase the app’s functionality. Yglecias uses analytics to see how the app is being used and can monitor when it is used most throughout the day.