Tuesday, December 6, 2011

bConnected with Ball State University on Google TV

Guest post from Ball State University

(A series highlighting the most interesting new apps available for Google TV)

College students love free stuff, whether it is pizza, t-shirts or gadgets.  They also want things to be quick, easy, and available 24/7.  When it comes to meaningful student services and the technology that power them, those desires seldom waiver.  To meet those expectations, Ball State University’s office of information technology is working hard to develop cutting-edge apps to provide easy access to information, eliminate the hassle factor in finding that information, and offer a rich and immersive experience.  

Enter bConnected, a free Android app for students to use on their mobile phones, tablets and most recently, Google TV.  We’ve got all screens covered!  

bConnected provides students real-time access to course schedules, student organizations, campus housing and upcoming events, with more features planned for release soon.  
More than a simple self-service app, bConnected helps students connect with everyone around them, including classmates, instructors, organization members, neighbors and advisors.  Using our core data and integrated systems, we are able to create, and push to the forefront, relationships between the people they interact with every day - relationships they may not have known existed.  

For instance, students sitting next to each other in BIO 100 might also be members of the same sport club. Or they both might live on the same floor in the residence hall.  And that great professor for English Lit also teaches creative writing next semester and serves as a faculty advisor.  

Google TV provides the perfect platform to showcase the social networking aspects of bConnected. To deliver this experience to students, Ball State just installed a stunning 46-inch Google TV in our brand new Tech Center, part of unified technology support.  The display allows students to gather around and interact with the app as it was intended – with their peers making connections. 
With help from our students, faculty and staff, we hope to find more inventive, inspiring and imaginative ways to incorporate Google TV in the classroom and other public spaces, enriching the campus experience and community.  

In the spirit of the Android platform and because universities like free stuff too, bConnected is available through the Google Code project hosting site as an open source project. Everything to build the project is included - the code base, sample database schemas, XML layouts, and an overview of the various bits and pieces.  We encourage other universities to explore the app and use it to jump start their own development efforts for Google TV.  To discuss how to get the ball rolling, contact us at bconnected@bsu.edu.

bConnected for Google TV is available in the Android Market, and for those not enrolled at Ball State, we’ve set up a demo account to check it out.  To access bConnected, just log in with bconnected as your username and demo for the password.

Kyle Parker, Senior Software Engineer, Ball State University