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New Ohio State Mobile app update to notify students as grades are posted

The new OSU Mobile app will allow students with smartphones to view grades as they're posted. Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Fischer

The new OSU Mobile app will allow students with smartphones to view grades as they’re posted.
Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Fischer

Ohio State students could soon be getting a smartphone notification every time a test score is posted.

The new version of the OSU Mobile, which is set to be released in an Apple iOS version in February or March of this year, with an Android version coming later, also includes walking directions to class, access to filling out Student Evaluation of Instruction forms, more commonly known as SEIs, and the ability to email a professor directly through OSU Mobile, said Stephen Fischer, director of web and mobile in the OSU Office of the Chief Information Officer.

“Instead of students refreshing to see grades, later in another semester, you’ll get a push notification that your psych grade is up,” Fischer said.

The iOS version is currently being tested on some students’ devices, while an Android app beta version is slated to be released later this month.

The current version of the OSU Mobile app shows end of the semester grades, but does not update students with test scores. Students currently need to log onto Carmen for quiz and test grades, but the new version of the app would link Carmen and the mobile device, so those grades posted on Carmen could appear on the student’s mobile phone.

Some students said they’re excited about the update.

“Carmen on my phone sucks. I use OSU Mobile app a lot, especially for buses,” said Katie Smith, a second-year in fashion and retail studies. “It’s easier than getting online (on a computer).”

Not all teachers use Carmen, however, to post grades.

Robert Robison, the interim co-director of the Spanish and Portuguese language program, said his department doesn’t use Carmen because it is not user-friendly and it is harder to keep track of how the teaching associates are performing through it.

“We don’t put grades on Carmen. We use Gradekeeper because the supervisors can’t see grades in Carmen,” he said.

Still, some professors think the update will be helpful.

“I would have to see how it works, but it sounds useful. I have the app, and it’s useful for buses and directions,” said Caroline Breitenberger, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “I use it for directions to meetings in buildings I’m not familiar with.”

Some TAs said the app could be useful for them as well. Robert Brewer, a TA for Geography 1900, said last semester when he was a TA for other geography classes, the grades went up on Carmen.

“Whatever helps students will ultimately help professors, too,” Brewer said.

Some students said getting notifications of scores will make keeping track of progress easier.

“Not having to go on the computer to look up deadlines would be helpful,” said Kyah Kitchen, a second-year in psychology. “I use my phone a lot. It’s basically glued to my hip.”

Fischer said he employed two full-time staff members to work on the project, along with a part-time designer and four students, three of whom helped code the app and one of whom helped with graphic design.

“It took a combination of those folks and two (months) of heavy work to get this together, including linking up with Carmen,” Fischer said.

Fischer was unable to provide the cost of the update project.

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