2015 Innovators Awards

Changing the Way Users Discover and Access Campus Services

Indiana University developed a search-based, mobile-friendly approach to campus services discovery that is now available to other institutions via rSmart's OneCampus.

2015 Campus Technology Innovators Awards

Category: IT Infrastructure and Systems

Institution: Indiana University

Project: One.IU (OneCampus)

Project lead: Eric Westfall, enterprise software architect

Tech vendors/partners: Developed in-house, rSmart

Indiana's One.IU team: (front row, left to right) Jeremy Hopf, Jeremy Walker, Tom Clark; (middle row, left to right) Andrew Hettlinger, Eric Westfall, David Dyer, Clayton Sheets; (back row, left to right) Ryan Vallow, Eric Cox, Rob Lowden, Aaron Neal (photo courtesy of Indiana University)

In an effort to modernize the way more than 130,000 constituents across its eight campuses locate and get access to services, Indiana University developed and deployed One.IU, an alternative to the traditional campus portal that leverages search and mobile technology to help guide users to the information and resources they need. One.IU provides students, faculty, and staff one easy place to access campus services from any computer or mobile device, in an online marketplace format.

The concept is straightforward and the user experience is similar to the simplicity of the search function in popular consumer systems. As project lead Eric Westfall, enterprise software architect and One.IU product owner at IU, described it, "One.IU was developed with the simple mantra of 'Search. Click. Done.' Users type what they are looking for into the search bar and are presented with a list of 'tiles' representing the matching tasks. By clicking on a tile, they are taken directly to the task or service that they want."

The technology behind One.IU is available to all higher ed institutions as a cloud-based, multi-tenant product from rSmart called OneCampus.

Yet One.IU goes beyond a successful implementation at IU. As a true leader in higher education IT, the university typically finds a good way to make its work available more widely in order to benefit the entire higher education community. For outreach they knew would be effective, IU partnered with rSmart to offer the technology behind One.IU as a cloud-based solution that can replace or run in parallel to the legacy campus portal. The product from rSmart is called OneCampus.

Over the past year, rSmart has worked with more than 14 institutions to deploy OneCampus as a cost-effective, cloud-based solution. Campus adopters range from small, private institutions, including Oral Roberts University and Lynn University, to large, multicampus institutions such as the University of Hawaii. These campuses all share the common goal of helping students "find" what they need in order to be successful.

One of the keys to the success of the technology is that it is mobile-friendly. "Mobile technology has changed the way we connect to information. We expect it to be fast, modern, easy and intuitive," noted Rob Lowden, associate vice president, enterprise systems at IU.

Campus adopters appreciate that the mobile-friendly design of the platform provides a familiar user experience for students as they discover campus services through a simple, intuitive search utility. The user's inquiry is met with a responsive search and discovery tool that is as easy to use on a smartphone or tablet as it is on a laptop or desktop computer — a quality you won't find in most legacy campus portals. After the user searches for and discovers the desired service (usually with just one click), OneCampus can take him or her right to the service itself. And while the institution's legacy systems may not yet be optimized for smaller displays, a OneCampus deployment can help schools begin to encourage service owners to modernize.

OneCampus institutions play an important and ongoing role in helping drive future product features and enhancements. rSmart has an active product advisory board and collaborates closely with its customers to identify ways to better serve the end user and administrators. OneCampus itself provides feedback through user rating functions.

"Rather than spending time and resources on an overhaul to our existing legacy portal, One.IU was built from the start based on our user needs and feedback," Lowden noted.

Several recent and soon-to-be-released updates to the platform have been customer-driven, including enhancements to the user interface; the ability to export information such as a list of tasks and comments; improvements to the publishing workflows; and integrations with additional forms of authentication.

rSmart also works with its customers to identify best practices such as how to get students involved in the application of the technology on their campuses. "We expect students to have an increasing role in the adoption of OneCampus," said John Robinson, co-founder of rSmart. "The student users, thus far, are attracted to their being called on to assist in the implementation of OneCampus. They are becoming a very important part of its relevance on campus, as they reflect the wider shift we're seeing in communications in general."

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About the Author

Meg Lloyd is a Northern California-based freelance writer.

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