New Wharton apps take cues from popular social networks
The new apps are called WhartonConnect and Wharton Know&Go
September 2, 2013, 7:44 pm · Updated September 2, 2013, 8:55 pm·
Wharton is bringing Huntsman Hall to its students’ pockets.
As described in Wharton’s all-school tech-update email, the two apps — WhartonConnect and Wharton Know&Go — want to update the way students network with each other.
Launched in spring 2012, WhartonConnect was initially designed for Wharton alumni around the world to network with each other by regions and industries. Later, the developers decided to expand to current students.
“The information you want in this community is already there on Facebook and Twitter,” said Dan Alig, director of Wharton computing. “What WhartonConnect does is to bring the community together as the Wharton community.”
The new WhartonConnect carries on old features like news feed, social feed and access to the student and alumni directory, with new features of group study space reservation and the ability for professors to take attendance.
Alig said the idea is to extend that experience of connecting with each other into connecting with the school.
“A lot of functionalities are extended from the student portal, SPIKE, but we are also looking at how we integrate it into the classroom,” Alig said. “If all our students have a common experience on their mobile device, how do we leverage that so that faculty can engage them into a common technology?”
Since downloading the app on mobile devices is not required for students, Wharton is still experimenting with integrating it into the classroom.
The other app, Wharton Know&Go, is an undergraduate app to provide information on extracurricular events. Developed in January but launched in late July, the app is meant to tailor a crowded calendar to students’ specific interests.
Wharton professor Georgette Chapman Phillips, who was then undergraduate dean and is now vice dean for technology enhanced teaching, came up with the idea in response to the student feedback that there is just too much going on, and it’s too easy to be overloaded.
“The idea came to me actually when I was reading The New Yorker,” Phillips said, referring to the magazine’s Goings On app. She thought, “Why can’t we do that?”
She then realized that not only should the administration be pushing out events, but also that students should be able to do so for other students.
“For example, [the cohort] Peso is having a pizza party,” she added. “There should be a way that Peso is giving other Pesos the information of the pizza party without spamming other cohorts.”
As of now, Wharton events feed comes from SPIKE, said IT Director for Customer Application and Online Services Group Jason Lehman. Students can still add their own events.
Students will need a Wharton account to log into the new app and add events, but everyone can download it and see the public events without logging in.
Phillips also emphasized the importance of “getting students in there now.”
“If we … roll [freshmen] through, this will be the way of communication for the future,” she added.
Apps are now available in Apple Store and Google Play store.