PEI

Island college launches mobile app and alert system

The Island's French language community college has launched a new mobile app with information for students as well as the ability to send out urgent alert messages.

Ability to send urgent messages a top priority

Collège de l'Île's new mobile app is now available for download. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The Island's French language community college has launched a new mobile app with information for students as well as the ability to send out urgent alert messages.

"Apps are a fact of life now," said Dominique Chouinard, director of communications with Collège de l'Île. 

"You can do your banking on your phone, you can order a pizza on your phone so for educational institutions to also go that route it's not just a trend. There is actually a need for it and people are using these tools already."

She said one of the main features that was of interest to the school was the ability to send alerts every student who has downloaded the app.

Dominique Chouinard, director of communications with Collège de l'Île, says it's important to listen to students and adapt as technology changes. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

"Right now we send out emails, which is great, but not everybody has their email app open or even their notifications open," said Chouinard.

"If we need to close the campus for example for an unforeseen reason then we would be able to do so and send that message out right away."

App customized to school

The college spent about a year customizing the app, which launched earlier this month.

It isn't just for alerts — it also contains full program information, online application forms, and even a space for students to form study groups.

Collège de l'Île's mobile app contains program information, online application forms, and a way for the school to send urgent messages to students instantly. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Chouinard hopes it will also help to build and enrich their student community.

"We have students who are scattered, and reaching all of them at the same time is very valuable in case we need to do that," she said. "But it's also an opportunity for them to network. They may be in the same program but never in the same place, so hopefully they'll be able to use that to their advantage."

UPEI, Holland College also have notification systems

In October of 2017, UPEI launched an emergency alert system called UPEI Emergency Alert, which is run through third party provider Advantage EMNS (Emergency Mass Notification System)'s mobile app.

Officials say the system has been used on 11 different days since January 2018 — more than once on some days — to alert students to schedule changes due to weather.

Staff at Holland College say they are in the process of purchasing an app system, which they hope to have ready for download in the fall of 2018.

The school does have a mass notification system already in place, in the form of speakers — both in hallways and classrooms, as well as outdoors.

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