Go OHIO is Ohio University's newest app, and its goal is to create a place where students can easily access nearly everything they need to help them succeed.
The app combines references to resources that students may already be familiar with, accompanied by tools that are only featured in the app, Chris Ament, chief information officer, said.
It includes a variety of features, such as a map of campus, a student dashboard, dining hall menus, Counseling and Psychological Services, tutoring access and more.
While the app was officially released online during the summer, Go OHIO had its hard launch this fall, when faculty and staff began marketing it to students.
Since the fall semester began, OIT reported around 5,000 students using the app regularly, Ament said.
One of the ideas behind the app was to get new students accommodated to their resources faster and earlier, which, in turn, would create stronger connections, Wendy Merb-Brown, assistant dean of operations and first-year student transitions, said.
Another idea behind Go OHIO was to help students avoid needing to go through several different tabs under OU’s website.
The timeline behind the app, Ament said, began in the summer of 2022 with the support to start building it. With the help of members of the product governance board and the steering committee, a beta test was conducted in the spring of 2023.
The beta test consisted of 200 student users navigating the app, and giving feedback to the Office of Information and Technology, Ament said. The entire goal was to learn what students – the target group – thought about the app and what changes could be made before the launch.
With the students’ feedback, mapping capabilities were upgraded and the positions of tools were changed, along with other modifications as well. Ament said the app underwent changes that best fit what the students wanted to see improvements in.
During the first week of the semester, informational tabling areas were set up on College Green with QR codes to download the app and provide more information to let new students know how to access their resources more easily, Merb-Brown said.
“What makes it special from my perspective is that it’s a cross-team effort, not just IT, but also our partners in enrollment, the provost’s office, student affairs and so on,” Ament said. “That’s the only way we can have hopes of making a unified digital experience where all that stuff comes together.”
The app is also available to students at regional campuses. A student on a regional campus doesn’t need to know what Athens’ dining halls offer, Merb-Brown said, but they can check hours of operation for their campus’ resources.
A future feature will include access for prospective students to help them get familiar and connected before stepping on campus at orientation, Merb-Brown said.
The work on this app is far from over, but with the help of student feedback, OIT staff and everyone else working on the development hope to create an optimal digital resource for students.
“My hope is that we get some good feedback from all those (who are using the app), figure out what works, what doesn’t and make those changes,” Ament said.