NSCAD launches mobile app

Security-themed app receives mixed reviews from students

NSCAD’s new app acts as an extension to the school web page. (Photo: Helen Pike)

Emergency contacts, a flashlight, counselling and more are available at students’ fingertips with NSCAD University’s new cellphone app.

The app makes it easier for students to connect with facilities, staff and the university security desk in case of emergency without memorizing or saving phone numbers on their phones. Students can access administrative contact information with the touch of a button and easily connect with their student union.

As a bonus, the app also has a campus map and a toolbox with an audible alarm, a flashlight and a way to view both the university and student union Twitter feed.

The app is now available for Android and iPhone users and even has a tablet-friendly version.

Sharon Johnson-Legere, NSCAD’s vice-president of finance and administration, launched an initiative for the app after seeing similar versions for schools like York University and Queen’s University at a conference in Hamilton, Ont.

The NSCAD app home page features the school’s twitter feed. (Source: Chris Sinkinson)

“We have a pretty lean staff here, so it’s a way to get out information,” she says.

Marilyn Smulders, director of communications for the school, says it cost about $1,500 to make, and will cost $3,000 yearly in licensing fees.

“Everybody has a smartphone these days,” says Smulders. “[The app] is just another tool.”

She says it can help NSCAD get the message out about class cancellations and other important announcements while providing a list of phone numbers and contacts for when students are on-the-go.

Kaitlyn Côté, a student at NSCAD, has the app on her phone, but isn’t sure about how useful it is. A few features, such as the weather button and the ‘send a friend your location,’ aren’t up and running yet. She says other features, such as access to school email and an event calendar, would have been more useful than the toolbox with a flashlight app.

Jaron Felix, a student at NSCAD, says he doesn’t like the app. He says the esthetics aren’t up to par, especially for an art institution.

The app comes equipped with emergency contact information. (Source: Chris Sinkinson)

“Opening it up, I think the gradients are a little bit dated,” he says. Felix thinks that with all the talent at NSCAD, the institution could have done more to involve students in the design aspect of the app.

“I’m going to keep it there cause I want to see what else is going to happen to it,” he says.

Côté adds that after NSCAD hosted a meeting to involve students in its branding, she is surprised at the lack of student input in the app.

The university hasn’t started a formal campaign to promote the application and is looking to start advertising it before the holidays. The developer, Chris Sinkinson, says the app has more than 70 downloads already and was only launched a few days ago.

Johnson-Legere says she loves the app.

“I think it’s a great little addition to our Facebook page and our Twitter site,” she says.