November 29, 2020

Gordon 360 Receives Redesign and New Features

Veronica Andreades '20 - Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of Paul Hanaoka

In an age where’s “there’s an app for that”, and the average college freshman is younger than the iPod, why is Gordon’s chapel credit and meal point checker, Gordon360, a website and not an app? Well now it is.

Thanks to a cohort of nine computer science students this past summer, and code developed by teams over the previous three summers, users can now download Gordon360 to their phone home screens as a progressive web app. Once saved as an icon, the site will look and function just like an app. 

“The goal was to make the website mobile friendly, because two-thirds of users are mobile. 360 is developed by students, for students,” said Ellen Gosh, program assistant, who along with the product deployment and support team helps maintain the product, imagine new ideas, and receive issue reports.

Other updates to the app include a link to Lane’s daily menu on the meal wheel, view of attended Christian Life & Worship(CL&W) events on CL&W wheel, the Victory Promise fulfillment graphic, faculty and staff access to class schedules, and an improved format of the experience transcript. 

Since Gordon360 is entirely constructed and maintained by students, development can be slow. According Evan Platzer, who worked on the program over this past summer, sometimes student developers are just tweaking things.

“There was a place where we were trying to put one button onto the website and it just linked to another website. It was a very inconsequential button. But we talked for probably four hours about where on the site it should go and what would be most helpful and how it would be best laid out,” said Platzer.

Originally, Gordon360 was a simple app called GoCo, developed by Adam Veno, which serve the basic functions of keeping track of chapel credit and meal points. Though it crashed often, according to Chris Carlson, Dean of Student Success and founding consultant for Gordon360, the application provided the information that students actually wanted to know. 

In 2015, Carlson gathered a group of students to look into a system that would not only track chapel credits and meal points, but also show class schedules,  provide an easy people search, and more. Information that had been previously scattered across go.gordon and my.gordon sites. 

At first, they researched off-the-shelf programs. However, a $75,000 contract, which would cost students $35, only offered a third of the features that Gordon360 offers today. With only $8,000 to work with, the incubation team proposed something else: building it themselves.

Around the same time, computer science professor, Russ Tuck, was looking a project for his summer symposium students. Carlson united forces with Tuck, and for the past three summers, programming students have gotten hand’s on experience with a real-life product.

“The economy of slower development is offset by the campus identity our app provides, and the superior opportunities for experiential learning and management for student developers and managers,” said Carlson.

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