TECH CORNER: Do (even) more from your smartphone

From posting class assignments to checking the Panthers’ score and avoiding lines at lunch, there are a variety of Pitt-specific mobile apps useful to faculty and staff. Best of all, there’s a new, easy way to find them: the Pitt App Center in AskCathy — featuring nearly 50 University-related apps in one convenient location.

“App development has changed a lot since the implementation of the previous Pitt App Store in 2015, said Jennifer Decima, Pitt Information Technology service owner. As a result of feedback, finding an app is now as simple as typing “App Center” in the AskCathy search bar. And, while the age-old debate over which operating system is better may never be resolved, the Pitt App Center offers applications specific to either system via the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“What makes the Pitt App Center unique is that it includes only apps that are relevant to your Pitt experience,” Decima added. “You get all the apps you need related to the University without having to wade through a list of those you don’t.”

Get started by downloading the Duo Mobile app, a convenient way to access the growing list of Pitt resources protected by multifactor authentication. In addition, many of the productivity tools that you use on your computer have mobile apps that you can find from the App Center. Access Box and Microsoft OneDrive on-the-go, as well as other Microsoft Office apps — including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and others.

For faculty, whether you need to send a quick announcement to your 250-person roster or reply to a discussion board comment, Blackboard Instructor has you covered. With its simple, user-centric design, you also can view your course materials and assessments to make sure they are mobile friendly. Additionally, instructors can record and upload lectures using Pitt Video (Panopto Mobile).

Those in health sciences may be interested in Micromedex pharmaceutical apps or the STAT!Ref evidence-based health care resource.

Ready for lunch or craving pizza after a busy day? Skip the lines by using Tapingo to order pick-up or delivery from many Pitt Dining locations across campus, as well as a variety of off-campus restaurants.

Within the all-encompassing Pitt Mobile app are 18 topic areas — from shuttle schedules to tech help.

The Pitt App Center also makes it easier for developers to beta test their apps, learn how to distribute them, and have them published. Whether you’re experienced or a “newbie” creating your first app, the Android Developer and Apple Developer apps give you all the resources you need.

Need Help Finding an Online Service? Ask Cathy!

Do you ever find yourself searching for an online University service, only to realize you don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re a new employee who needs to enter your timecard or a researcher who wants to log in to the Qualtrics online survey system? Luckily for you, Pitt Information Technology offers a service discovery tool to help you find more than 950 online Pitt tasks from a single starting point: it’s called AskCathy.

Based on the endearing nickname of “Cathy” that many students use when referring to the Cathedral of Learning, AskCathy is available through a search bar on the website. You also can bookmark to access the tool directly.

Once you get to know her, AskCathy just might become your new best friend when it comes to finding online University resources.

On the AskCathy homepage, tasks are displayed by the most used, most popular and a Category of the Day. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, use the search feature or click the drop-down menu to view categories such as Academics, IT Services, Research, Human Resources, and more. You also can filter results by role — including faculty or staff.

Not certain if an application is relevant to your needs? Just click the little “i” icon on the bottom-right for more information. Once you’ve identified useful tasks, click the heart to add it to your list of favorites.

Whether you need help connecting to PittNet Wi-Fi, logging in to the Faculty Center of the Student Information System (PeopleSoft), or accessing Pitt email, AskCathy can direct you to online resources for help. Simply type a question or browse the categories on AskCathy to see what interesting options you’ll discover.

This article adapted from Pitt Information Technology’s blog. For additional information on tech resources, visit