App update puts orientation in students’ hands, phones

Incoming students have traditionally labored under a crush of paperwork during admission and registration. Now at the request of the Division of Enrollment Management, GHSU’s Information Technology Support & Services has developed an update to the Georgia Health Mobile application (formerly MCG Mobile) to potentially eliminate the deluge of paper and offer information in a more accessible manner to incoming students.

“We’ve tried to identify all the key elements of their initial matriculation experience in a manner that they can download, place on their handheld device and then hopefully navigate,” said Dr. Roman Cibirka,

Vice President for Instruction and Enrollment Management. Georgia Health Mobile offers applications specific to the health sciences curricula, giving smartphone users access to tools like a medical calculator and a lipid cholesterol algorithm. The student orientation update to the iScope section within MCG Mobile guides students to and through everything they might need
when first entering campus, including enrollment, financial aid and navigational and first-year experience information.

“I think one of my favorite aspects of the application is the Student-to-Student section. It has current students giving advice to the students coming in,” said
Michael Casdorph, Director of GHSU Instructional Support and Educational
Design. His office spearheads mobile application development and renovation.
Georgia Health Mobile – and its student orientation update – is the university’s proactive response to the organic evolution of student mobile media use.

According to a 2010 Ball State University study, smartphone use among college students doubled in 2009 and 90 percent of those users access the Internet from their phones. GHSU has evolved its communication with students just as quickly.

“We launched the concept of digitized first-year experience information
two years ago, provided on a thumb drive, and mailed it to all incoming students. We followed up last year with a web-based compilation of the information and did not mail students the thumb drive. Now we have the web and the mobile version so that students have constant access,” Cibirka said. “Paper they lose; thumb drives aren’t updatable. Web and mobiles apps
are constantly available, perpetually updatable.”

GHSU is considered one of the nation’s leaders in mobile educational technology.

“We were the first public academic health center to offer a suite of mobile apps on iTunes with MCG Mobile,” Casdorph said.

The university followed up with MedLab Tutor, an application that teaches students how to read the results of common blood tests. A recent offering, Dentistry ProConsult, teaches common dental procedures prior to students performing them in the clinic. In its first two weeks, the app was selected by Apple for the New & Noteworthy medical application section and was ranked in
the top 200 most downloaded free applications in the medical category.

Casdorph said that future updates applications will release later this month. MCG Mobile will transform officially into Georgia Health Mobile, and the university will release a mobile version of GeorgiaVIEW to enhance student learning.

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