Students may have a new excuse for using their phones during class.
An updated USF application for iPhone will provide campus information to students and is the “first of its kind for the University,” said IT Web Services Manager Julia Payne.
The iUSF application is free to the public and can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Since its launch July 23, Payne said more than 3,000 users have subscribed to the application.
A release date has yet to be set for the new version of the application because of Apple electronic’s approval process, she said.
Nancy Baron, director of Information Technology (IT) said iUSF initially received $50,000 in funding from Student Tech fees. Additional funds were later awarded to create an updated version of the application, raising the total amount to $125,000.
iUSF allows subscribers to access a number of applications from their cell phones without having to enter a web address and provides a faculty and staff directory, athletics information, events, news, courses, emergency contacts and Bull Runner routes.
Campus maps for Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and USF Polytechnic are also available through the application and allow users to zoom into a concentrated area on campus, such as a parking lot or building.
The iUSF Bull Tracker feature allows subscribers to visually track the position of each Bull Runner bus and receive minute-by-minute arrival times. Subscribers are able to see exactly how long until a bus reaches a specific stop.
Currently, iUSF is only compatible with Apple iPhones. However, Payne said the “next step” is to enhance the application so BlackBerry and Android phones can also access it.
Payne said possible additions to iUSF include access to student’s schedules through the single sign-on portal and access to Bull Bucks accounts so students can manage their meal plans from their phones.
“We are also going to utilize Google Maps to show walking times and places of interest, such as dinning locations, resident halls, buildings and parking lots,” she said.
Jennifer Wright, a junior majoring in marketing, said the application will allow her to immediately receive information.
“It’s important that an educational facility as large as USF has some sort of access to important information,” Wright said. “A cell phone is a great place to start for students to have access to (this) information.”