As students adapt to a different way of learning, the app offers students various ways to remain connected to the campus community without actually being on campus.
“This app is about connections,” said Ivan Joseph, Dal’s outgoing vice-provost of student affairs. “It allows students to find other students in their classroom, in their major, and lets them connect with others through the different clubs and societies as well.”
Society and club engagement
Dal Mobile gives students access to a range of resources, including a virtual orientation and a guide to adjusting to university life. Not only does it allow students to learn about what Dalhousie has to offer, but Dal Mobile also allows students to socialize. There’s a campus wall where students can post questions, buy and sell textbooks, or look for roommates and study groups.
In addition to encouraging students to get involved within the community, Dal Mobile spotlights the many clubs and societies the university has to offer. Labelled “Clubs and Societies,” there is a widget that redirects students to a list of different options. Users can join the group channel of a club or society to stay updated on all the necessary information about the group’s activities and upcoming events.
“It’s been a great success for our society using the app. We have gotten a lot more attention,” says Bekhruz Abdurakhmonov, the Rainbow Six Siege administrator of the Dalhousie Gaming and Esports society (DeSS). Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is one of multiple video games the society plays.
“We are trying to get more traction going with the students within the university community,” says Abdurakhmonov. “We want to spread the message that we are out there, as it is a little difficult right now with most students staying at home.”
Another tool Abdurakhmonov has found useful for the success of his society is the campus wall, which can be used to promote interest in clubs and societies, where anyone can add a post.
“As soon I posted about our society, we saw a wave of people coming into our Discord server,” Abdurakhmonov said. Discord is an instant messsaging platform used often by gamers, which DeSS uses to organize group activities.
Bringing students together
The app has also been useful for incoming students who are new to the Dal community and are missing out on social opportunities with their peers because of online classes.
“One of my friends, who’s also going to Dal, told me about the app and I’m glad he did ’cause I’ve met a lot of people through it,” Shamir Qaisar said in an email to the Dalhousie Gazette. Qaisar is a first-year student from Dubai who won’t be in Halifax for the fall semester.
He says the app has helped him prepare for school. By connecting with other engineering students, he learned how to get his textbooks for the fall term and received some tips on navigating campus when in-person classes resume.
Although the app can never fully make up for the social connection that happens in-person on campus, Dal administration is hopeful students will use the app to create a virtual campus community.
“Especially when students are still trying to find their way and make meaningful connections, we hope this app complements the student experience and makes it easier for students to navigate their way,”– Ivan Joseph, Dal’s outgoing vice-provost of student affairs