Last fall, Mercer launched Ellucian Go as their all-purpose college navigation app. According to the Ellucian website, the app is used by “almost 1,400 institutions in 40 countries.” I can only assume those schools have a more streamlined version.
The app itself is generic and has everything I don’t want in a college-related app. Not to mention it has the world’s hardest puzzle: trying to log into the actual thing.
I can only compare trying to log into this app to trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with your toes while you’re blindfolded. There is a message in the login screen that says, “Please contact your institution’s IT staff for assistance with login.”
What that really means is that you will most likely have to call them, because of how difficult it is to log in on your own (and Ellucian is not based on our campus, so who knows what call center you are actually getting). The app provides no instruction on how you can find your username and password to actually use it.
After toying with it for a few hours, I finally realized you simply use your MyMercer information to login. That sounds simple enough but when you have very little instruction on how to login, it can be frustrating if you want to actually use the app. Lots of students will inevitably just give up and delete the app before they even had the opportunity to use.
Brandon Murphy, a second year student majoring in Game Design and Digital Media Arts says: “I had a lot of problems logging in at certain times, and sometimes the schedule was a little messed up compared to what I actually had to take.”
Joe Suarez, a current freshman studying Music has had a similar experience. He told The VOICE, “I use it a lot for my schedule to time what I can do between classes. The only thing is the app is buggy sometimes. On the first day of the second semester it got my schedule wrong and said my first 10 am was now at 2 pm and so on, and I had a mini heart attack.”
Murphy gets to the heart of the matter: “It could be useful but at its current state it’s not that well developed.”
The staff directory icon could be of use, but the app’s directory does not provide the office phone extensions for professors. This information can be easily found on Mercer’s website, so why isn’t it on the app?
In a recent interview, Mercer’s President Jianping Wang talked to The VOICE about Mercer’s objective with rolling out Ellucian Go. She said, “All of you have smartphones, and you don’t want to have to access your course schedules, Blackboards, portals and everything where you have to be sitting down at a desktop to access it. You like to have everything at the palm, that you can touch… So we want to catch up with you. So that’s our goal. To provide mobile access for the convenience of our students.”
I commend Mercer for trying to make our lives easier, but in its current form, this app doesn’t do it.
Here’s another example: the only grades you can see on the app are the ones you received from previous semesters. However, if you want to see what your current semester grades are, you need to go to Blackboard to find that.
One bright light in the darkness is the map, which, as long as you’re using the hybrid or satellite option, can provide a bird’s-eye view of the campus. I imagine this can be useful for new students arriving to campus.
The good news is, it sounds like other schools have better versions. So hopefully Mercer will keep improving the mediocre app until it is worth the phone memory space it takes up.