Austin Peay State University launched its own iPhone app August 25th. The app is available as a free download through the iTunes Store, operated by Apple – the manufacturer of the iPhone, iPad and other Mac computer products.
The APSU iPhone app has eight features for users:
- A blog by APSU President Tim Hall.
- Google map of the main campus.
- APSU news.
- Sports news.
- Event calendar.
- Faculty and staff directory.
- Course catalog.
- My Schedule, allowing students to see their class meetings.
Two APSU students and an alumnus created the University’s iPhone app.
The three students – Russ Christensen, Robert Dohner and T.J. Phillips – began working on the project in November 2009. Actually, that’s when they began learning how Apple’s products are programmed; the company’s operating systems are different than its Microsoft Windows counterpart.
“We had to learn on the fly,” said Dohner, who graduated from APSU in May 2009. “The language Apple uses is similar, but it’s still different.”
“We decided, well, nothing wrong with learning a new language,” Phillips, a junior, said.
Christensen, in fact, after learning he would be working on the development of an APSU app, purchased an iPhone.
“I bought one solely for this purpose,” he said.
Development of APSU’s iPhone app began last fall – at a Governors football game. Dr. Tristan Denley, provost and vice president of academic affairs at APSU, approached Dr. Bruce Myers, professor of computer science and information technology, about the idea.
“He said, ‘Do you have any students who could do this?’” Myers said. “ I told him I was not an iPhone person, but that I was sure we could find someone.”
Denley wanted to make sure, though, that student involvement was a key element in the project.
“Austin Peay is all about giving our students unique and transformative educational experiences, and this certainly proved to a perfect opportunity,” Denley said. “These three young men have created a wonderful app that will be enjoyed by many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
Hired for the project, Christensen, Dohner and Phillips first had to learn the Objective C language used in Apple products. That began in November 2009, and by March 2010, the trio began putting it together.
“We looked at least 20 different colleges to see how their apps worked,” Christensen said.