Screen capture of the Humber Airport Welcome page on the iCent app
January 24, 2020
One of the biggest challenges faced by students engaging in international learning opportunities is accessing information – finding what they need to know about studying and living in a new country. Ganesh Neelanjanmath, a former international student in Ontario, experienced this situation first-hand. He set out to build a solution for these challenges and the result was “iCent”, a mobile application that helps students navigate the process – from transitioning to study in Canada, to explore opportunities, access anything from airport arrival and staying connected with Humber while studying abroad.
Humber’s International Centre launched a custom version of the iCent app in 2018 to support study abroad activities. It has become a go-to communications tool for supporting international study abroad activities, including work integrated learning outside of Canada. As part of Humber’s Internationalization Strategy, the platform has enhanced and expanded how we mobilize our resources to prepare students for international learning, here at Humber and around world.
International students in front of the iCent Welcome Desk at the Toronto Pearson Airport
EASING THE LEARNING CURVE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
When he arrived in Canada from India, Neelanjanmath discovered that there was a steep learning curve to get settled and feel comfortable. It was difficult to find information about transportation, banking, visas or even understanding what a social insurance number is. Compelled to assist other international students, Neelanjanmath saw an opportunity to create a digital tool that centralizes information for learners and helps international offices optimize communications efforts.
“I wanted to help other international students who were having the same problems as me,” says Neelanjanmath, who has a background in software development. “I wanted to find a smart technology solution that makes it really easy to access information and connect with the international office.”
From a pilot project in 2015, iCent app has grown rapidly, serving over 100,000 users across 300 campuses around the world.
ENGAGING TODAY’S MOBILE-FIRST LEARNERS
The tremendous impact for students is having a free one-stop information source and travel guide right on their mobile device. With iCent, students can access anything from airport arrival and campus information to details about health insurance and visas, alongside practical how-to information and a feature to digitally store documents and emergency contact information. Push notifications keep students in contact with the international office and up to date on important events. At Humber, students can apply for study abroad or international work placements directly through the app.
HUMBER’S CUSTOM SOLUTION FOR STUDY ABROAD
Humber’s International Centre has developed a version of iCent to support global mobility activities for students connecting them to campus services and international learning resources.
The Humber iCent solution is connected to a web-based Travel Registry. The registry has automated all student travel approvals for study abroad and makes tracking of student travel information simple and comprehensive. It has become a critical tool for student safety, providing a full picture of all out of province travel taking place in Humber’s community. Approximately 1,500 Humber students used either the app or the registry when travelling abroad in 2019.
Humber’s Dean of International Andrew Ness worked with Neelanjanmath during the pilot project launch at Sheridan College. He recognized its value for internationally minded institutions and their students.
“The app is a really ideal way to provide just-in-time information to our students and get information in their hands in a format that is comfortable, ubiquitous and that can answer questions that are readily available,” says Ness.
With over 6,000 international students studying at Humber and hundreds of students participating in global learning opportunities each year, iCent demonstrates the possibilities of using smart technology to support our internationalization efforts and to help our community engage in international learning opportunities.
To learn more about iCent app, visit icentapp.com or follow this link find out about downloading Humber’s iCent app.
Ganesh Neelanjanmath and an international student at the iCent Welcome Desk