Increasingly, the Penn community is using mobile technology for everything from staying safe through the Division of Public Safety’s UPennAlert Emergency Notification System, to finding instant information about campus events.
“Immediate access via mobile devices is what’s popular,” says Steven Minicola, manager of web communications in University Communications. “In order to get in front of that trend, we partnered with Information Systems & Computing to create the Penn mobile website.”
Available at m.upenn.edu, the University’s mobile website can be especially valuable to visitors and newcomers to campus who can use it to get news, follow events and find maps. For example, an individual searching for details about a Penn art exhibit can access the mobile Penn Calendar, which not only lists campus events by date and category, but also maps the campus location and provides visiting hours.
The Penn mobile site also links to Penn Libraries’ Directory of Applications, which offers additional downloads and services—some of which are free. Using the apps, people can check out new music, view historical photographs or track down libraries within a 10-mile radius of their location.
“More and more schools across the University are putting content on mobile websites and apps,” Minicola says. “Technology is ever-changing and all schools will be developing these mobile applications and sites soon.”
Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) is set to launch its mobile website before Commencement, giving campus visitors news and providing maps and directions. The site will be able to detect mobile devices and will automatically load when a user visits www.gse.upenn.edu.
Mike Herzog, director of information technology at GSE, says his team is willing to share what they’ve learned about creating a mobile site with the entire University. “Our desire is to help other schools and centers that might take on this task by providing templates and tools so that others don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel,’” he says.
Additionally, the Annenberg School for Communication (ASC) has an iPhone app that caters to users who want to stay in touch with Annenberg quickly and easily. The ASC News app is free to download from the iPhone’s App Store.
Other schools and centers across the University are on the path to developing mobile applications and websites in the near future.