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Information Technology
Advancing the University Mission

Enhancing the Experience for Students

Creation of a student mobile app

The UTHealth Houston Student mobile app was created in response to feedback from the 2021 student perception survey, which highlighted the need for improved communication between students and various central student services. The app was developed in partnership with Ready Education, a leading mobile student engagement platform app.

The new mobile platform allows students to interact more conveniently with central student services and peers. Within the first year, the app was downloaded by more than 1,000 UTHealth Houston students and has seen engagement activity at more than 200 campus events. The app's top used features were the campus shuttle tracker and the course view sections.

Students have described the app as a "game changer" that is incredibly fast and stable. It can be used simultaneously on different devices, giving them the capability to communicate with other students at a touch.

Most students are digital consumers who prefer to communicate seamlessly with members of their institution via text messaging on their phones. This app makes it easier for students to access important information, stay connected, and receive push notifications without having to open an email or get multiple communications from the university.

A hand holds a phone with the UTHealth Student mobile app open. In the background, there is the UTHealth Houston University Center Tower, a UTHealth Houston Bus, a bright blue sky, and a tree.

Online admission applications and university forms

The Administrative and Academic Technology Department is continuously streamlining the documentation processes for students who need to fill out online admission applications and university forms. Improvements include an implementation of electronic transcript requests, the integration of DocuSign for electronic signatures, and improved flow with other systems including Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams.

These upgrades have made it simpler for students to access their transfer credits and admissions grade point averages. And, the enhancement of the student application interface has made it easier for students to apply to the university.

As a result, these improvements helped UTHealth Houston be selected as a pilot institution by the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Services for its new digital application solution - making the process smoother for the incoming classes.

Shane Cunha, PhD, teaches in a hybrid classroom that consists of both in-person and remote students at McGovern Medical School.
Shane Cunha, PhD, teaches in a hybrid classroom that consists of both in-person and remote students at McGovern Medical School.

Virtual learning

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the IT Department swiftly ramped up virtual solutions for the educational mission at all six schools in the university.

For example, videoconferencing and 35 iPads allowed students at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston to remotely participate in hospital rounds. The attending physician brought trainees to the patient via a rolling stand outfitted with an iPad. This also helped preserve personal protective equipment, which was in short supply.

Student exams also moved to a virtual environment with an online proctoring solution. Other educational opportunities, such as an orthopedic surgery camp, evolved into a hybrid course accommodating an international audience of incoming orthopedic interns. Attendees logged into virtual lectures for didactics and completed skill labs at various physical locations.