AirBaruch: New Cellular Technology Enhances the College Experience
AirBaruch is a new and free mobile phone-based service for the Baruch community, connecting students to Baruch College and friends through their cell phones. The efficiency of this method of communication is apparent, since access to a computer is not always an option, particularly for commuters, and a recent Baruch survey determined that 90 percent of students always carry cell phones with them.
The college began a yearlong AirBaruch pilot program in fall 2005, spearheaded by Arthur Downing, chief information officer, using software supplied by Rave Wireless. The 100 students involved in the pilot were able to check the availability of loaner laptop computers and group study rooms. Baruch also tested AirBaruch in the classroom, where students used their phones to instantly “vote” during class in response to questions from their professors.
Additional web-based applications have since been added, allowing students to receive Blackboard announcements and alerts on class cancellations, check e-mail, search the faculty and staff directory, or get the latest campus news and events. Students can also select different “widgets” for immediate information on a wide range of subjects, such as Baruch Weather, ESPN, and Yahoo! News.
AirBaruch offers popular social features as well, allowing students to keep in touch with their friends or make new ones. Students can view each other’s online profiles, send group TXTs, and join different “channels” of students with similar interests. A global positioning system (GPS) allows students to map the location of their “entourage” of friends.
"The goal of AirBaruch is to streamline busy Baruch students' time and effort, both academically and socially, says Gregory Zimerman, AirBaruch project manager. “By providing rich mobile content, many student tasks are turned into much simpler and convenient ones."
Nearly 1500 students are currently registered with AirBaruch, and a majority of students are expected to have signed up when the service is fully launched in fall 2006. What else can AirBaruch do? MTA schedule information is now available. That’s one more feature being provided, and one less excuse for being late to class.
Communications and Marketing
To learn more about AirBaruch and to register visit: www.baruch.cuny.edu/airbaruch.