Who doesn’t love hearing the phrase, “There’s an app for that”? Shopping? There’s an app for that. Travel? There’s an app for that. School? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are several. Let’s take a look at some of the up-and-coming apps that are being made for university students, and even SFU students specifically.
If you keep on top of school emails, you have probably noticed the emails about an official SFU app that has recently been released. The project began this spring through an app-developing competition for a CMPT 275 term project, and has grown into a fully-fledged app.
The app aims to provide the practical information that students may want to have at their fingertips. Some features provided include bus information, maps that allow you to search for rooms, and information about places to eat on campus.
You can also view computer availability, and it keeps track of your class schedule and provides course details. If you have already been using any student apps, you may find that a lot of these features are quite familiar. However, this app is unique from its predecessor in that it is official — meaning it comes directly from SFU. The university says that this offers a certain security, as you don’t have to worry about any third-party apps stealing your SFU ID.
The app also allows students to give feedback or suggestions to the school or the creators of the app as they continue to develop and fine-tune it. This app is not yet available for Android users.
Know School is another app that provides many similar features to the official SFU app. Know School provides a daily class schedule and campus information for all three campuses, including includes weather, computer availability, and more.
It uses your SFU login to provide direct access to your schedule, as well as secured services like SFU Connect and Canvas. It also allows you to view which other students share classes with you, and many other features that the SFU Official app covers. Unlike the official app, Know School is available to both iOS and Android users.
A similar app designed by SFU students is SFU Ingresso. This app integrates directly with your Student Information System account, SFU Connect, and Canvas.
However, this app has a different focus that becomes clear as soon as you see the homepage. SFU Ingresso posts SFU-related news stories and keeps you posted on upcoming events. This all aims to provide what Project Manager Ahmed Medhioub describes as “a platform for the people of SFU to find the content relevant to their university and community.”
If you are looking to keep up with school news, events, and get quick access to your SFU accounts, then this app might be worth checking out.
There is another branch of student apps becoming popular — apps which focus more on the social aspect of student life.
Yero is an app for iOS designed by two SFU alumni and one graduate from UBC. One of the creators, SFU alumnus Matthew Greig, described the purpose of the app: to “create private networks around real-world locations (college campuses, sports stadiums, nightlife venues and music festivals) to let users inside connect with people sharing the same experience.”
Yero is a location-based app. What this means is that when you are in a specific places, such as on campus, you will be able to see other users in the area. The app also allows you to contact people directly and spark up a conversation. Any connections made will be erased the next day, making Yero “about tonight.”
Loopr is an app that was also created by SFU alumni. The creators wanted to develop an app to connect students, so they approached a social media startup called Skynation, which was co-founded by Kayode Fatoba, the first VP Student Life of the Simon Fraser Student Society.
This app is similar to others, such as Yero, in that the users make posts assigned to different groups based on their location. However, users can also tag their posts with a hashtag, which can then be searched to make it easy to find the content you’re looking for.
Fatoba described Loopr as “a location-based social network [that] provides its users with the benefit of being a source for current up-to-the-minute news about what’s going on around them.” Loopr developers are currently preparing to expand to a city-wide launch.
An app in the same vein of location-based posts is Chitter. This app has really started to take off recently, and is currently only available for three different universities.
It was created by students at the University of Alberta, who decided to make SFU one of the other two universities with access. This app allows users to make anonymous “chits,” which are just simple text posts that can then be up- or down-voted by other students.
Students can also comment on posts, but the catch is that comments are not anonymous; this app requires a Facebook login. There are also groups to which chits can be posted, such as “Advice for New Students.”
Chitter was inspired by the ever-popular “Confessions” Facebook groups that many universities have, which allow people to submit posts that will be shared by the page anonymously. A visiting Chitter developer made a splash at SFU by streaking through the hallways of the Academic Quadrangle shortly after the start of the Fall semester.