RYERSON IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND

In Business & Technology /

BY LAUREN STRAPAGIEL

Find your class on a map, call your professor, book a study room and check what’s happening on campus for the day – all with only a few taps or clicks on your phone. The future is here Ryerson, and it’s available in two colour schemes. Ryerson Mobile launched Monday, Sept. 14, offering students smartphone-friendly access to campus news, maps, computer availability, the library catalogue and more. It can be accessed from mobile browsers at http://m.ryerson.ca. “It’s a mobile portal to your whole campus experience,” said Graham McCarthy, 26. McCarthy is a library system analyst at Ryerson and part of the development team that designed and programmed Ryerson Mobile. Also on the team are Ayu Er, a recent computer science graduate, and Ryan Kent and Adam Carlucci, both fourth year new media students. They spent the summer creating Ryerson Mobile as a work-study program. With so many smartphones on the market, the team decided to make Ryerson mobile web-based rather than developing applications for the iPhone or BlackBerry. Now virtually any mobile device can access Ryerson Mobile. The mobile site looks sleekest on Android phones and iPhones, with the information website, http://www.ryerson.ca/rmobile, having a familiar Apple feel. The site is also optimized for Blackberry with a list view. Most regular cell phones can access Ryerson Mobile from their browsers and should get a text-based version. The seeds of Ryerson Mobile were planted back in November 2008 when the library ran an undergraduate survey. They found that 76 per cent of students had cell phones and 21 per cent had smartphones. Thirty-nine per cent said their next phone would be a smartphone. “As a student it excites me knowing that I’m helping other students,” said David Sistilli, Director of Digital Media Projects for Ryerson’s branch of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). Focus groups ran last June by SIFE Ryerson showed that students were looking for more than just library services, they wanted a portal to their total Ryerson life. This brought the project to Brian Lesser, assistant director of Ryerson Computing and Communications Services (CCS). CCS provided access to RAMSS and software on campus computers that allows Ryerson Mobile to show users which ones are available for use. CCS was also responsible for providing the security that Ryerson mobile would need if it was going to be accessing student’s accounts. Everyone involved with developing Ryerson Mobile wants it known that this is only the beginning. “The kind of neat thing is we’re not sure what will come out of this,” said Lesser. In the future Ryerson Mobile could include location- based functionality, athletics information and finances. Some things are already in development, some are still ideas, but expansion is inevitable. Tools are being created that would allow even students without programming knowledge to add their own functions.


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