UMD unveils smartphone app for students

UMD information is always available online, and now, everything is accessible through a mobile device.

Partnering with Modo Labs, an established tech company that specializes in creating an engaging and user-friendly platform, UMD faculty led a two-year venture to design “Bulldog Mobile,” a student-centered smartphone application.

Corbin Smyth, associate vice chancellor for Student Life, and Jodi Jersett, associate director for retention marketing at UMD, were instrumental in getting this app released.

“I think Corbin and I were a good team because he has direct access to students and a great knowledge of the campus and all its departments,” Jersett said. “I could talk about what needed to be done and he could say who we could work with to get it done.”

Bulldog Mobile is free to download in the App Store now, under the current University logo. The app is set up to connect students to all of UMD resources like their academics, student services, campus life and transportation.

“It’s all really exciting,” Smyth said, “Right now we’re focusing on welcome week student and current student profiles. Eventually we might have alumni, parent and family, guest or even perspective student profiles.”

April is being used as a feedback month for Bulldog Mobile and all UMD students are encouraged to try it out before the official launch happens in the fall of 2018. Inside the app there is an anonymous “feedback” tool for users to provide their reactions and suggestions.

“We want to find out how students envision using the App and what they want to have available,” Jersett said.

Feedback from users has already led to features like “Laundry View,” a tool for on-campus students to see which washers and dryers are open in the residence halls.

Andrew Yu, CTO and founder of Modo Labs, said the framework that his company provides is designed to benefit college students.

“Our mission is to bring the entire library of tools from the University’s perspective to the students,” Yu said. “Students bring most of the ideas to the campus, and our platform helps use their feedback to solve problems and bring new applications to their fingertips.”

Modo Labs started in 2010 working with Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) and is currently used by over 200 college universities worldwide.

“The beauty of the platform we used is that there’s no programming knowledge necessary to be able to add a module into the app itself,” Jersett said.

With Modo Labs’ easy-to-use layout, student organizations will eventually be able to create their own modules to be built into Bulldog Mobile. These simple and customizable features allow the app to evolve with the needs of students over time.

Bulldog Mobile is here to stay, and all students can now access the app as the spring 2018 semester comes to a close.

“I want this App to be the first place students at UMD go to when they navigate the system,” Smyth said. “If it’s not, then we’re not doing our job right.”

NewsConnor Thelemann