The Office of Information Technology recently began a new mobile and iPad application-based project, titled GT Journey, which will serve as a way to enhance the experience of being a college student. The main facets of this new project include being an accessible virtual portal for the Tech community to access campus data, share information, develop applications and create individualized experiences.
“We started down the path of what would students get benefit from, not just be something glitzy, but actually benefit them. And the idea progressed in a roundabout way to how about if students have a way to document their journey at Georgia Tech as they go through Georgia Tech,” said Ron Hutchinson, the Associate Vice Provost for Research and Technology and Chief Technology Officer at OIT.
With the idea of giving students a way to document their time at Tech, the next step was figuring out a way to actually implement the ideas into something students and the entire campus communities can really use and benefit from.
The foundation for that idea deals with bringing the tools and data that are out there and making it readily accessible to all students, primarily through the use of everyday technology.
“The reality is we see this problem a lot, people have lots of great ideas of things they want to do with technology. And the hard part, the thing that isn’t always solved for you, and you might assume it is, is the data: access to the data and having the right data, and having data that is organized in such a way that you can actually do something easily with it,” said Matt Sanders, the Associate Director of OIT and co-founder of the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC).
Using the tools, data and idea of bringing together a journey as a real starting point, the project, which is still in very early stages, is able to progress into a place where students can go to propose new ideas for applications. These applications that are created are meant to serve as each students own ideas of how they want to document their journey through Tech.
GT Journey, through time, has the potential to be expanded out to alumni as well so that various social aspects can form and concurrently also progress with the design aspects.
This would allow students to really interact with both alumni who have already been through Tech and incoming students who may have questions about what life is like at the Institute, while allowing all aspects of the community to be able to interact on a new level.
“We’re fortunate that we’re here because at most universities you’d have a hard time doing a program this broadly across the full spectrum of students,” Sanders said.
The purpose of GT Journey also aligns with various points of the Georgia Tech Strategic Plan. Since GT Journey is innovative in its field, it can fulfill the goal for Tech to be the most highly respected technology focused institutions in the world.
GT Journey also addresses the entrepreneurship and public service fulfillment of the Strategic Plan by giving students the platform to build on and innovate more projects of this caliber in the future.
Finally, the GT Journey project ties in with the strategic plan to relentlessly pursue institutional effectiveness, and this project is really giving countless opportunities available for student research in many different areas.
“What we’re talking about is really a culture change of essentially instead of the campus proper producing things for the students. It’s really saying well you have a role in this and should have a hand in creating the things that are meaningful to you.” Sanders said.
GT Journey and its relation to the Strategic Plan is really about the future of development of tools and applications that students find the most necessary and find useful to their daily lives.
As time goes on, plans will expand and become more concrete as to what can really be done opening new opportunities to a lot of the campus community.
“It’s not just documenting your journey, but creating it as you go as well,” Hutchinson remarked.