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It’s ECU in the palm of your hand.

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It’s ECU in the palm of your hand. This is the idea behind the new East Carolina University Mobile App, which made its debut in June. The ECU Mobile App allows Pirate fans to stay connected with their favorite university, no matter where they may go. Features of this app include headlines, athletics, events, campus directory, courses, Blackboard Learn, OneStop, library, search ECU, maps, InnerPirate, ECU Alert, YouTube, and images.

The app, which can be downloaded for free from iTunes and Google Marketplace, is compatible with iOS devices including iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Android phones and devices, including Galaxy Tablets.

ECU has been following the mobile trend for a while now. In fact, a mobile version of the university’s website, m.ecu.edu, was launched in August of last year. While maintaining this mobile site, which is based on HTML technology, Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS) was approached with the idea of creating an ECU app for various mobile devices. Managing a mobile app can be challenging, however, because keeping up with the mobile devices that are constantly being developed requires much maintenance. To help with this process, ECU partnered with Blackboard, which helps universities and colleges offer a stellar e-learning experience. Through this partnership, ITCS is responsible for the data and functionality of the app, and Blackboard is responsible for ensuring that the app works on the various mobile platforms.

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The home screen of the ECU mobile app

“Our partnership with Blackboard is truly beneficial to students,” said Joe Norris, ECU’s chief information officer. “Blackboard integrates with Blackboard Learn, which means that students on the go can check grades, post discussion forums, view class announcements, read and download assignments, and upload content.”

Norris emphasized the importance of a mobile app for the ECU community.

“Mobile is the direction that technology is moving towards, which is evidenced by the increase in traffic to our website from mobile devices,” he said.

According to Norris, in 2009—2010, less than 5,000 mobile users visited ECU’s website. However, in 2010—2011, over 1.2 million mobile users visited the site.

In addition, results from a recent ITCS survey showed that over 50 percent of students own smartphones. These percentages do not account for iPods, iPads, or Galaxy Tablets.

“We saw that a huge percentage of our students have the capability to access the app on their phone,” said Jo Lynne Daughtry, the senior IT specialist managing the ECU mobile app project. “We have put together the information we believe that most students are looking for and have made it readily available to them over a device and service that is an integral part of their daily life.”

Daughtry also pointed out that the entire ECU website is included in the app through the ECU search feature.

“If you click on the ECU search icon, you will get a search box that points to the same search that is on the website’s homepage,” said Daughtry. “Every site in the university search or the ECU A-Z list is a part of ECU mobile.”

By Meagan Williford, University Marketing

8-2-11