LAU launches iPhone app
The new mobile application was designed on the initiative of computer science student Omar Omran.
A new LAU application for the iPhone is now available for download from the App Store.
The iPhone app allows users to view the academic calendar, among many other features. Its iPad version is also available now.
Click on any photo above to view all three images.
A new LAU mobile device application for the iPhone that offers convenient access to online university services is now available for download from the App Store.
The application, a simplified version of the LAU website for iPhone and iPod Touch, allows users to view webmail, news, financial aid information, the course catalog, the academic calendar, pictures, campus maps and other features.
“Now high school students, people from outside the country, or anyone who is not familiar with LAU can see the campus,” says Omar Omran, the 20-year-old LAU student who is the mastermind behind the project.
An iPad version of the same application is expected to be released within the next couple of weeks.
(Update: The iPad app is available on the iTunes store.)
No one commissioned Omran, a third-year computer science student, to build the application. On his own initiative, he learned the computer language used to program the application last summer. His friend, Ralph Khattar, who studies civil engineering at the American University of Beirut, took care of the application’s design.
The app was nearly complete by fall when Omran showed it to Karina Rodriguez, associate director in LAU’s Marketing and Communications Department who is in charge of the university’s website.
“Usually things like this would be planned, approved and budgeted for, and they would take months to complete,” Rodriguez explains. “In this case, Omar showed up with an almost-finished application and was seeking some support for completing and releasing it.”
The university management backed Omran’s project with the aim of supporting student ingenuity on the one hand, and offering enhanced student services on the other hand, says Dr. Elise Salem, LAU vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management.
“Our strategy is to reach out to students through social media and applications on their phones,” she says. “This is the trend and we want to be part of the technology most used by our students.”
According to LAU web statistics, the main website received 5,634 visits from mobile devices in 2009, 84,372 in 2010, and more than 112,000 so far this year.
Down the road, LAU might have Omran develop a version of its applications for BlackBerry and Android devices.