How a team of IBM millennials helps a campus connect

Wed, 2014-11-12 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) is the third largest university in Prague with more than 25,000 international students. With millennials increasingly using mobile devices for nearly every aspect of their lives, the university viewed mobile as a valuable opportunity to engage students around everyday campus activities and to communicate with teachers and administrators.

And who better than millennial developers to make it happen?

CULS chose Council Lead Partner IBM and its MobileFirst platform to develop and deploy a set of apps – and IBM put a team of millennial developers to work designing for specific student habits and user expectations. The initial set of "My CZU" apps was ready in just three months.

"We have a large, diverse student population, and mobile is the best, most efficient channel to communicate directly with our international students and staff," said Petr Dvořák, CIO at CULS. "The collaboration with IBM enabled us to quickly execute on our mobile strategy and create a rewarding user experience, while also developing a longer term plan that will map to the evolving communications needs of our students."

The first set of apps help students have greater control over their budgets and spending, and provide access to food services information such as viewing menus from various campus cafeterias and snack bars.

For example, the CULS financial app:

  • Enables students to receive notifications about low cash balances on their campus debit card
  • View a list of transactions
  • Set spending limits and compare spending to the university average
  • Lock their account from their smartphone if their card is lost or stolen

Future apps on the My CZU platform will include access to the CULS course catalog, campus maps and details on upcoming lectures and events, as well as connection to social media.

Improving student outcomes
"Universities around the world are looking to technologies like mobile and social to transform how they interact with students and provide access to new services, like distance learning, that improve the experience of and outcomes for their students," said Michael King, VP Global Education Industry at IBM. "Mobile in particular can create a rewarding user experience and provide students with instant access to the campus resources and services they rely on most."

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Want to learn more about mobile apps? Visit the Smart Cities Apps Gallery (free, one-time registration required).