They develop and run the university website. They maintain classroom equipment such as the projectors. They run and operate the cables across the campus. They run and maintain all these and more devices and services university students, faculty and staff use every day. They are the men and women of the University of West Georgia’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), unsung heroes of the university. And they are working towards future innovations for the betterment of our campus.
One department in particular within ITS is Web Innovations. Their title is astute; they innovate for the web. Their duties include researching, supporting and building web applications for the university website, making it easier for students and faculty to access and process data. They train individuals in applications such as the content management system Open Text. Web Innovations also has many projects available and in the works to help students with daily campus life.
Web Innovations developed the GoUWG mobile web app which allows students to download class syllabi, access the campus map, see campus events and news articles, and access to information such as parking codes, computer lab availability.
“There’s some functionality on the mobile app that you don’t have on the website,” said Wes Steverson, Web Associate. “It’s more direct, instead of going on the website and hunting down where your teacher is and hopefully have your syllabus online, this makes it more streamlined.”
Web Innovations has big plans for the GoUWGapp’s future. One thing in the works is integrating the app with the University Bookstore. This forthcoming app will provide information about book availability, pricing, and possibly, and will potentially allow students to purchase and have their books held at the bookstore for later pickup.
An advisement system is also being developed. It will provide access see advising schedules and to set up appointments with advisors online. The campus map is also being rebuilt, with greater, fully interactive functionality, more information and cross-platform integration.
“Cross-platform integration is a good way of saying it,” said Zachary Lee, Web Applications Developer. “But what we want to avoid is separate applications for every little thing. Where we’re going with the campus map is Mobilefirst design, so you don’t need an application, have to download anything out of the app store, or install something on your computer. With this application you can just go to the website and everything works beautifully on every device.”
“It was found out recently over 40% of all accesses to our website come from mobile devices, either tablet or phone,” explains Lee. “So we’ve refocused how we develop for the web. If we’re already at 40%, soon we’re going to be half, if not more, accesses to the website coming via mobile.”
West Georgia’s approach on developing current and future applications and services promises a great future for the university. Watch for these and more innovations from the men and women at Web Innovations and ITS in the future.