On this page I have listed my ideas for features to be included on the Middlebury College Mobile App and displayed the research I have gathered that supports their addition to the App. Many of my ideas are connected with the same idea of providing services Middlebury already provides but in one location/platform.
Introduction Mobile Map/Campus Tour Nearest Printer Virtual ID Card Editable School Schedule Mobile Midd Rides Dining Hall Menu Mobile GrilleMe
Mobile Map/Campus Tour
Explanation of Feature: Self guided Mobile Campus Tours, Interactive Floor Plans and Maps, Current Location information within the Mobile Map
Supportive Evidence: A study on high school seniors showed that 75% of college students visit a campus without a guided tour, so many perspective students might be interested in using the mobile campus tour feature. https://guidebook.com/schools/tours/
In addition, this feature will enable students who are unable to visit the Middlebury Campus in person to visit virtually. Students will know the campus before they even arrive, and they will also know everything Middlebury has to offer as some building’s/opportunities are less known.
The Mobile Map feature will help current students quickly and easily find new buildings and navigate the campus. In addition, an interactive Floor Plan will give students a better idea of what the various housing options entail as reading the building blueprints which is the current method, is very difficult.
Google Maps does not include directions to every building on campus, nor does it include directions to specific rooms in the buildings. This mobile map would be able to direct a student to any building or room on campus, thereby being the best tool for navigating the campus. This feature will also help visiting parents navigate the campus when trying to find the location their child has told them to meet them at.
Explanation of Feature: All relevant printer information (how to use, locations, type) will be displayed in a user friendly format. In addition a Nearest Printer button will be included that can use the students current location to inform them of the nearest printers and what kind of printing they can do.
Supportive Evidence: This feature is more Midd-specific so there is not research to support its usefulness. However, as a Midd student I believe this feature would be used by students often because the current information on Middlebury’s Website is not easy to navigate and it can take a while for new students and returning students to navigate the site to find what they are looking for. Also, it would save students so much time to not have to sort through a list of printers to figure out where the closest printer is.
Virtual ID Card
Explanation of Feature: Track Student Involvement, Scannable Digital ID’s with verifiable photos. Presence’s Digital ID Feature
Supportive Evidence: A big reason why Middlebury should include this feature is we currently use Presence which offers this feature. Students no longer need to carry around an ID card because their phone can work as one. Another reason to have this feature is it is more cost efficient than printing a large number of plastic ID’s.
In addition, a digital ID might be better than plastic because managing existing ID’s and giving access to certain buildings might be easier through a digital system. Lastly, when the ID is scanned a photo of the registered owner of the ID will pop up which provides better security for the school dining halls.
Editable School Schedule
Explanation of Features: Each students school schedule will be displayed on the app and editable so that they can find events and add them to their schedule or include their own events unrelated to the schools events.
Supporting Evidence: Our BannerWeb System that currently provides students with their schedules has a mobile app product through Ellucian. The Ellucian Mobile app has many features including: campus map, virtual tours, events, campus card account management and more plus it says it easily integrates with other systems. This would be another avenue for including several of my ideas into an app for Middlebury’s students that is already created.
Other reasons this would be a great feature to include on an app is because it can be time consuming for a student to go to the BannerWeb website and navigate to the page that shows their schedule, so it would be incredibly helpful if our systems were able to generate a schedule for our students on an app that is connected to the schools data about what classes they are taking. In addition, this would also make it easy to connect their online registration with school events to this same schedule, instead of them having to create an entirely new schedule somewhere else where they can include all of their classes and events. Lastly, being able to add other reminder’s like when they want to work out or schedule a dinner with someone would be a great feature to this mobile schedule because it would allow the students to centralize there planning all on one application.
Mobile Midd Rides
Explanation of Features: Allow Midd Rides to be “called” from within the App, algorithmically prepares the best route to get all riders where they need to go by using location information. In essence it would function as a simpler version of an Uber App
Supporting Evidence: Because Midd Rides already exists this feature will just improve its user experience. Instead of calling and having the driver have to coordinate routes in their head, the app will be able to more efficiently map students locations and destinations and can inform the driver where to go. In addition, it will save time and allow more students access to Midd Rides because many students at once can use the app to “call” the bus instead of talking on the phone.
There are many schools beginning to offer ride-hailing apps to their students to ensure safe and easy transit for their students. Northeastern University and Harvard University both launched their own ride-sharing applications. According to Northeastern representatives “more than 3,300 students used the service for 45,000 rides in the 2018-19 academic year alone”. A big advantage to this system is that “an algorithm directs the vehicle in real-time along an optimized route, keeping passenger wait times to a minimum and reducing inefficient detours that take riders out of their way”. Clearly, this feature in a mobile application would be very useful to our students and staff and would improve our current Midd Rides service.
Dining Hall Menu
Explanation of Features: Display dining hall menu for each location, provide nutritional information for each option including allergy concerns and perhaps even wait times.
Supportive Evidence: Nutrislice, Middlebury’s current tool for displaying dining information online, does not provide ingredients for each menu item. So if this feature included that, then dining hall lines could be significantly reduced due to people being able to make their decisions before they reach the front of the line. If it is possible to measure wait times, then this feature would also significantly help students make better decisions about where to eat. Currently, if there is a long line in Ross and not in Proc, students would not know until they went to the dining hall, at which point its too late to decide to go to the other one. In addition, one of the biggest reasons why this feature will be beneficial to Middlebury is it will help centralize Middlebury’s online presence and give students only one location where they have access to everything they need, instead of having to go separately to the Nutrislice website.
Explanation of Features: Put the GrilleMe menu into the app and allow users to order for pickup/takeout on the app itself.
Supportive Evidence: The GrilleMe website is currently powered by CLOUDWAITRESS, which is an online ordering and reservation system. This system offers a mobile app which could be one solution. The reason to use the CLOUDWAITRESS app is because the process would be much faster and simpler than creating our own system for mobile ordering within the Middlebury App.
As with all of these idea’s, the main point to creating this app is to put all of Middlebury’s resources into one location. In addition, having an app to order GrilleMe might increase revenue because it is clear students are more likely to be on their phones majority of the time instead of their laptops, and when students interact with their phones to do something they are more likely to interact with an app then a website.