Palomar’s smartphone app integrates core services, student email, maps, alerts, and more, with student downloads picking up at a rapid pace.
SAN MARCOS — For many students, Palomar College represents the first step into higher education, with a variety of new procedures, challenges and experiences.
Now Palomar has its own smartphone app to make campus life a little easier.
Available in Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play marketplace, the free app is deeply integrated with Palomar’s various services, and delivers value-added features that make it a must-have.
“We wanted to try to be more accessible to our students by going where they are, which is on their phones and mobile devices,” said Connie Moise, Director of Information Services at Palomar.
Moise led the “task force” comprised half of students that was responsible for identifying the requirements of a mobile app and finding the right developer to build it. The team started planning in early 2016 and the first version was introduced in May 2017.
Since then, the app has been updated to add student payment capabilities, and maps of the newly opened centers in Fallbrook and Rancho Bernardo were incorporated in the most recent update. Palomar News is also integrated into the app, providing the latest stories and information about people and events around campus.
According to Moise, the app has been downloaded approximately 6,500 times since May 2017, and activity on the platform shot up 620 percent year over year, from 3,758 visits in July 2017 to 23,292 visits this July.
Student feedback on the app marketplaces has also been positive, with overall ratings of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.7 out of 5 in the App Store.
“Now I can check my grades and know when a class has been canceled before I get there!” wrote one student in an App Store review.
“Easy to use,” wrote another. “Can find out info about my student account right away.”
“The primary thing students are doing with the mobile app are enrollment-related activities, including paying for their classes,” Moise said. “They can also check their grades, participate in discussions and receive assignments that are available to them in Canvas, which many faculty members use as a way of communicating with their students.”
Student email is also fully integrated within the app, along with detailed, building-specific maps for Palomar’s three education centers and the San Marcos campus.
Another useful feature is the ability to deliver urgent alerts, from emergency situations to financial aid reminders, directly to students’ devices: “It’s a platform right in the student’s hand, to get information out to them quickly,” Moise said.