NIU Mobile App makes improvements

By Joe Palmer

The NIU Mobile App is getting a face lift with some major improvements, including access to the campus Huskie Bus tracker, Huskie Tracks.

The revised app hit both the Android and Apple app stores earlier this month. The app is free to download and includes links to student’s Blackboard Mobile module, NIU Today news, campus maps and different contact lists for campus departments.

New in version two are the modules for places, tickets and transit.

The app is developed through the combined efforts of ITS, blackboard, and university relations said Walter Czerniak, associate vice president of Information Technology Services.

“Blackboard developed the app, and ITS helped to integrate the app into NIU’s servers and information, such as the bus tracker,” Czerniak said. “Blackboard hosts the servers as well, so it is cost effective for NIU and a great service to students.”

Justin Block, sophomore electrical engineering major, said the app is a useful tool.

“It’s convenient to check grades and messages from professors, especially since I don’t always have access to a computer,” Block said.

The places tab gives students access to menus for on-campus dining halls as well as menus for local restaurants that allow Huskie Bucks. The module provides information on the restaurants, including location, distance from campus and operating hours.

The ticket section gives students access to TicketMaster, in order to buy tickets for all athletic and other events held at the Convocation Center. This update rose from the idea of allowing students an easier route to bringing friends and family to ticketed events, said Jennice O’Brien, director of web communications.

O’Brien said the most anticipated addition to the app is the transit tab, which gives students a direct link to the Huskie Bus tracker that is provided by the geography department’s Advanced Geospatial Lab.

“This version puts more useful tools into the students’ hands,” O’Brien said. “We’ve received really positive reviews on the app, and through the feedback of students we decided that the link to the bus tracker would be a great addition.”

Students are encouraged to give feedback on the app as well as submit ideas or improvements that they would like to see added, Czerniak said.

“Bring up any ideas you may have. This isn’t a one time thing, we can always include new material in future updates,” Czerniak said.

The next update to the app is planned for the summer and is slated to include a virtual campus tour.

“The virtual tour will provide points of interest and other important information for students,” O’Brien said. “It should help students get a more self-guided tour of NIU.”