At this moment in time, I have five separate apps on my phone dedicated to Fordham accounts and services. If that sounds ridiculous to you, it should. The Fordham epidemic of useless apps has infiltrated the phones of students for years, and it shows no signs of abating. Here are some apps that Fordham has asked me to download — and why I find them absolutely worthless.
The Fordham Freshmen Accepted Students App
It was the freshmen’s first exposure to the Fordham community, and boy, was it an interesting one. After receiving an email informing me about the app, I made an account and started writing out a brief biography about myself. I joined different communities centered around my interests, but most posts were brief, with little to no comments underneath. Helping students connect to people with similar interests before the first day was certainly a benefit, but differentiating between Rose Hill and Lincoln Center freshmen was often difficult.
Almost everyone I have met has created a profile on this account, and though some people seemed to find it useful, the Facebook page for the incoming freshman class was much more active. The lack of structure on this app made it incredibly difficult to meet new people. While this app wasn’t completely useless, it was inefficient and poorly organized. Instead of offering an app service like this, Fordham should have just linked the Facebook page and encouraged students to become involved with separate social media platforms.
The Fordham Orientation App
It was the first thing that all incoming freshmen heard: “Please download the Orientation app.” On signs and posters everywhere, it motivated anxious students and parents to organize themselves and plan out a schedule. What is on this app, you might ask? An orientation schedule, a campus map, student resources and upcoming dates for breaks. While all of this information seems important, I very rarely opened up the Orientation app because the multitude of signs posted all over campus gave me all the information I needed.
Additionally, the concept of an app as a communication method for this material seemed awkward and forced. While the schedule was helpful, an email sent out with the same information would have worked just as well. Formatting an entire app to distribute 3 days’ worth of schedule information is a waste of space on my phone and an overall lackluster experience. If Fordham is looking for an alternative to paper schedules, then next year, a website will do the trick just as well, if not better.
Fordham Security App
This app was another one that Fordham encouraged students to download during Orientation. With access to file a report and communicate with security, it seemed like a great idea. However, during the Orientation presentation, security told us to disregard it completely and just call them instead. This app is a complete waste of space on your phone, and serves no real purpose with regard to your security.
In order to make a service like this applicable to Fordham students, they should provide an app that allows you to call security immediately. In conjunction with this, an app meant to enhance communication with school resources could also allow students to call the RA on duty or IT. Instead of focusing one app on a useless method of communication to Security, Fordham should create an app system that connects students to several different resource centers that they might need to contact.
Ellucian Fordham App
This is, hands down, the only app that I have actively used in my time at Fordham. With access to classes, Ram Van purchases and the alumni network, it provides resources that students actually need in their everyday lives. Using Duo Mobile multi-factor orientation to access the app gets a little tiresome, but it is excusable because it serves as a security feature to protect students’ confidential information. The format of the app is a little odd, but overall, it is the best app that Fordham encourages its students to download. In order to streamline efficiency, the features provided in the apps listed above should be integrated into this app in order to simplify the experience and improve the relevancy of Fordham apps.
In the end, the problem with this method of communication lies not with the individual apps but with Fordham’s reliance on apps in the first place. Big state schools utilize similar apps, but their large population requires a widespread center of information. Fordham’s relatively small campus and localized resources allows students to navigate their college careers without needing to rely on daily maps or phone numbers.
I applaud Fordham’s decision to use alternatives to paper handouts, but in the future, Fordham should encourage the use of alternative forms of online communication. For example, a new tab could be created on the Fordham website specifically for Orientation resources. An email newsletter could also be sent out with the orientation schedule and other pertinent resources. While a multitude of apps might seem like a modern method of sharing information, Fordham’s conglomeration of useless apps only serves to disorient students and generate mass confusion.