The Commerce Journal

Local News

June 17, 2014

There's an app for that

COMMERCE — Texas A&M-Commerce students now have an additional way to stay connected with their personal university story: their phone.

The new MyLeo Mobile App allows students to access their grades, view class schedules financial aid status and payment balances, and even check the food the cafeteria is serving or contact their advisors from virtually anywhere.

App creators Jon Puttonen, A&M-Commerce Business Technical Services coordinator, and Chris Jones, lead web application developer, got the idea two months ago from the university’s former vice president of Business and Administration Bob Brown when Brown realized that Commerce High School had an app while the college did not.

“He pushed for ‘facilitation of innovation,’” Jones said. “The university had tried having apps before, but [Jon and I] thought that we could make it work by keeping it simple. We came at it from another angle.”

While the app has been available for download for a month, Puttonen and Jones have decided not to push the app’s release to the students, yet.

“It’s the first stepping stone,” Jones said. “It’s a framework for where we want to go. This is pretty big for us. We have a piece out there.”

“We decided not to go with a hard release,” Puttonen said. “We wanted to use it to collect statistics.  We may possibly do something by fall with more advertising. We already have 600 to 700 students using the app, which is amazing since it was released around the start of summer. It just traveled by word of mouth and spread fast.

The lack of a hard release is evident as almost all A&M-Commerce students were unaware of the app’s existence. Many students who gave the app a chance and a download, like sophomore Jackie Jones, were pleasantly surprised with what they found.

“I actually liked the app a lot more than I thought I would,” Jackie said. “It is not the prettiest app I’ve ever seen but it makes up for that with its simplicity. All you really want to see is right in the home page and very easy to navigate.”

A&M-Commerce Student Government Association President Jackson Dailey echoed that positive sentiment.

“I really like the ability to check who your adviser is from the application,” Dailey said. “It provides an easy outlet for students to get help when they need it without having to go look it up for themselves. Also, you can check your class schedule and look at a lunch/dinner menu from the app, a really useful thing for more and more students on the go. Lastly, this application is being developed for all three platforms, Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone, making it accessible to anyone.”

Any information that app users uncover is received from the campus’s student system, meaning that it is received live and updates quickly.

“All data presented to the students through the app is live and instantaneous because it’s connected with the student system,” Puttonen said. “For example, say a student dropped a class. They’d immediately be able to see that on the app.”

This kind of connectivity opens up new possibilities for the app’s future. Potential updates could include the ability to receive and accept financial aid and pay through LeoPay with the app.

While the app is already released with support for every Android from version 6 and up, Windows phones, and iOS 3 and higher, both Puttonen and Jones are still looking toward the students for ideas about what to add.

“The biggest thing is we want to make sure this app is for the students,” Jones said. “It should be a tool rather than a nuisance. One of the features on the app is the comment section. We’ve already received feedback. This way, students decide what they want to use the app for.”

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