New App makes navigating the campus easier

NAVIGATING A UNIVERSITY campus can pose a bit of a challenge and The UWI, Mona, which sprawls across 653 acres of lush landscape, is no exception.

The management team of the Mona Information Technology Services (MITS) has found a solution for this problem – the UWI Mona App. This mobile application, which will be available for free download on Android devices in the Google Play Store, enables users to easily navigate their way to various buildings on campus via Google Maps.
The App will also be useful for keeping students connected to several activities on campus, from viewing grades to finding the nearest eatery, as well as accessing campus news and general information on the various faculties.

The concept of creating the UWI Mona App was born out of an initiative to enhance the department’s internship programme with the introduction of a long-term project that would culminate with the presentation of a final product. “The management team felt that it would be good if the students leaving MITS actually have some experience in developing a technology product,” Project Manager, Kevin Duncan told UWIMONA Now. “So, as part of their internship programme, we decided that we would incorporate a project for them to work on to give them that opportunity, and they got involved in making something from scratch,” he said. Originally created in September 2014, the objectives of this capstone project are to encourage interns to think critically, as well as develop their leadership, research and teamwork skills while developing a technology product.

The project was segmented into three teams, with each team having responsibility for different aspects of the App’s creation. The two largest teams – Software Development and Documentation and Research – each consisted of seven interns, while the Graphic Design team had three members. These three members, Leopold Matthews, Vanessa Waite and Shevon Williams, were responsible for developing the interface for the App, as well as its navigational concepts. The Software Development team members, Danuel Williams, Roxy Reid, Damion Lowers, Jevon Butler, Leonardo Grant, Nardo Bailey and Javon Davis, had the responsibility of executing the Apps’ functional requirements. Soshane Findley, Shamelia Francis, Tarelle Sinclair, Rochelle Watkis, Deveion Hutton, Shanique Robinson and Jossette Howell, the members of the Documentation and Research team, were charged with analysing data, developing the system and user documentation, as well as researching any issues that the Software Development team had.

These developers believe that the App will be useful to visitors and students alike – especially new recruits who are known to get lost at least once in their first year. For visitors, the App will provide news and events about the campus, and directions to various buildings and eateries. It will also provide a list of JUTC buses with routes to the campus and a list of campus-approved taxi services, with their contact information. Students will also have access to this information, in addition to being able to log in and use OURVLE (Our Virtual Learning Environment); this is a moodle-based platform used for online learning support by the institution. They will be able to view the schedules for The UWI shuttle that is managed by the Guild of Students, as well as access the services of SAS (Student Administration System – another online platform that offers several administrative services to students focusing on the faculties, the registry and the bursary.

While OURVLE will be a clone of the online platform, SAS will offer added features such as an editable timetable, a map showing the location of, and directions to classes and notifications for the start of classes.

The first phase of the UWI Mona App had a soft launch at the 17thAnnual UWI Research Days held from February 17 to 19 this year. The App was expected to be officially launched during the New Students Orientation in August.