LINCOLN PARK — While DePaul University hopes its iDePaul smartphone application connects its campus to students, some students hope it will also help them connect to the university's unwieldy email system.
The application, which is free, allows students to keep track of their courses, assignments and upcoming events. It also includes an interactive campus map and a staff directory.
Chris O'Brien, a senior at DePaul, said he hopes the application will eventually include notifications for things such as canceled classes.
"Right now, you basically have to get to a computer to see your email," O'Brien said. "There are a lot of times they will cancel class through a quick email."
He said the school's current system is difficult to set up on smartphones.
"We are a big campus in Lincoln Park. We have about 45 buildings, so navigating the campus can be a little tricky," said Bob McCormick, vice president of Information Services. "They are all on the map, and you can view them on your cellphone with GPS."
The university purchased the app from AT&T for $25,000, with yearly payments of $16,000 to maintain it.
Ally Bradthe, a 20-year-old student at DePaul, said she downloaded the app the day it came out, but has only looked at it once since then.
"I think it's all right," she said. "The only thing I have looked at is the course list."
As of Friday morning, 650 people had downloaded the application, according to McCormick.
"About a year ago we saw this product through AT&T and figured that the time was right to get into the market," McCormick said.
There has been a lack of communication between students and the university, and considering that almost every student has a smartphone, 19-year-old Jack Hester said he thinks the application was needed.
"It would be nice to have some stuff at the touch of your fingers," he said.