Florida State offers ‘smart’ solution: free, cutting-edge app for mobile devices

FSU Mobile is available now for Apple devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), and versions for BlackBerry and Android are in development.

Florida State University students, alumni and others who own “smart” phones and other mobile devices have a new and easy way to stay connected with their university: A mobile application, or “app,” has just been developed that offers amazingly convenient access to the latest campus news, as well as maps, dining locations and hours, and much more. What’s more, it’s all free.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this new service to alumni and friends of the university all over the world,” said Vice President for University Relations Lee Hinkle. “At the touch of a button on their smart phones, they can stay informed about the exciting research and activities happening at Florida State.”

With the FSU Mobile app, Florida State now offers a cutting-edge product that only a handful of other universities in the country can match. The app’s features include Directory (a searchable database of faculty and staff); Athletics (FSU sports scores and schedules); Calendars (a listing of events at the university); Maps (an interactive map of the main campus designed specifically for mobile devices); Videos (news, profiles and other information in a video format); News (an up-to-date listing of university news stories); Images (digital images of the university, as well as a set of Florida State wallpapers to customize the look of one’s iPhone screen); and Places (information on key campus locations, from residence halls to dining to shopping).

The app also is scalable, meaning it can be modified in the future to include modules specific to individual units of the university, such as colleges, centers and institutes.

“This kind of information will be a gold mine for our students,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn. “They will find a wealth of information to help them make the best use of our campus while also learning a lot about our university through the news stories and videos that are posted there.”

In addition to the FSU Mobile app, a website has been created that contains much of the same information available on the app, although in a slightly different format. The website can be accessed at http://m.fsu.edu.

For the time being, the FSU Mobile app is available only for Apple devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad). (It can be downloaded at no charge from the iTunes store; a preview can be downloaded at its.fsu.edu/Web-Services/FSU-Mobile.) However, in the near future, versions of the app that are compatible with mobile devices residing on the BlackBerry platform will become available. (A version for Android-compatible phones will follow in the near future.) These will also be free.

The app was developed in conjunction with Blackboard, the company that Florida State utilizes for its online course management system. That affiliation means Florida State will eventually be able to add modules to the FSU Mobile app that enable students to register for courses and interact with the Blackboard course management system.

Another feature that is currently being developed is the planned addition of GPS systems to buses providing service to the university. With the GPS feature, a student standing at a bus stop would be able to look at a map on his or her smart phone and see exactly where the next bus is located on its route.

Construction of the FSU Mobile app required input and collaboration between numerous units of the university, including Information Technology Services, University Communications, Business Services and Student Affairs.

Visit the Blackboard blog to read a list of questions and answers that provide additional information about the new app.

“This application is only the beginning of our long-term efforts to embrace the use of mobile devices and help our university community access information about FSU,” said Michael Barrett, chief information officer for the university. “We understand how important mobile technologies are to students, parents, alumni, boosters, employees and visitors. We intend to remain a leader in the use of information technology to improve our daily campus life.”

The FSU Mobile app isn’t the only one that caters to fans of Florida State, by the way. An existing app for Athletics, which was developed by its official partner, CBS Sports, offers an enhanced level of sports-related content. It costs $4.99 for an annual subscription.