Available this week in the Apple App Store, Explore MUSC is an app to
reach prospective students who eagerly embrace the emerging technology
of the iPhone and iPad.
The free application is
designed to provide prospective and newly arriving students with
descriptions, images, maps and details about the campus, colleges, and
services. All of this information and more can be downloaded to an
iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
A screen shot shows a student
locating MUSC on his iPad through Explore MUSC.
Larry Owens, director of
communications for the Division of Education and Student Life, said the
app makes perfect sense in an academic setting where technology and
science are integral parts of the learning process. "It seemed logical
to present prospective students with a self-guided tour in a convenient
handheld device," he said.
Users can receive
information through narratives and more than 100 images in the app.
Components include information about the six colleges and their
programs of study, a listing of services provided by Education and
Student Life and the Library, as well as a description of the historic
buildings on campus. The user interface takes advantage of the gesture
movements that iPad and iPhone users employ.
College of Dental Medicine
(CDM) student Brett Shigley developed his college's portion of Explore
MUSC, complete with CDM students conducting video tours through
buildings and labs.
Brett Shigley developed his
college's portion of Explore MUSC, complete with students conducting
"Students expect their
educational experience to be up-to-date technologically, and MUSC is
one of the first medical campuses nationwide to offer this type of
unique look into our wonderful campus," said Shigley. "By allowing
current students to help produce video tours and content, the College
of Dental Medicine part of the app is able to offer prospective
students and guests not only a chance to see the sights and sounds of
campus but also get a better feeling of what it's actually like to live
and learn at MUSC as a student."
Much like a website,
Explore MUSC is continuing to evolve.
Geoff Freeman, executive
director of educational technology services and one of the project
leaders, said there will be continued development within this
application for some time. "Each of the colleges is working on
developing a unique piece of the application, but we felt it was
important to get the application in the hands of prospective students
as quickly as we could."
Websites can be opened
within the application to allow more detailed information for the user
without having to exit the application.
Owens likes that the application
can conveniently be carried anywhere on campus, as that opens up new
possibilities to consider. "For example, maps are available that
interact with the user by showing pinpoints identifying buildings and a
locator point that tracks the device in real time functioning much like
a chart plotter used on a boat," he said. "These types of global
positioning (GPS) tools make it much easier for first time visitors to
find their way around. We've even added the location of bike racks to
make it convenient to get from one location to another."
Explore MUSC has been
produced in partnership with Slicker Interactive, an interactive
software development company based in Charleston. Chris Metts, a
College of Medicine alumnus, provided the concept and programming to
develop the capabilities of the application. Slicker has provided tools
for the development of apps for colleges and cities nationally and
Metts said the iPad and
iPhone were the digital devices he wished for as a medical student and
resident. "I believe the combination of its form factor, intuitiveness,
power and ecosystem will transform all aspects of medicine, starting
the moment an individual decides to pursue a career in medicine. We are
fortunate MUSC has chosen our platform to reach out to prospective
students and has chosen to innovate in this exciting mobile arena."
Slicker is working with
the City of Charleston to develop applications to enhance the visitor
experience in Charleston, including kiosks and information on downtown
shuttle buses. This application is currently available only for the
iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, but will eventually expand to the Android
and BlackBerry platforms.