Welcome to the first issue of Rokwire Insider
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Issue 1: June 2021


Welcome to the first issue of Rokwire Insider, the newsletter for Rokwire stakeholders. Subscribe to this newsletter for the latest updates on the Rokwire project. Feel free to forward this issue to colleagues who might be interested. 

Where Have We Been?

The Rokwire initiative has been hard at work enhancing campus life. In October 2019, the Illinois app was first released and became widely used as a helpful tool, especially for students to navigate the Illinois campus. Integrating all university facilities and activities with a safe and effective digital platform has been the enduring goal of the initiative. In early 2020, the focus of the project shifted to pandemic management.  

Rokwire Timeline

With Rokwire as a starting point, Safer Illinois was able, within a matter of weeks, to combine the expertise of medical scientists and public health and safety officials to serve our university community. Our service partner Rokmetro assisted other organizations in adopting Rokwire technologies in their communities. To date, Rokwire apps have more than 350,000 unique users. The COVID-19 apps together have delivered more than 3.5 million tests for the COVID-19 virus. 

Safer Illinois Campus Adaptions
 Safer Illinois has been adapted and deployed at sixteen campuses all over the United States
Where Are We Going?

This summer we are focused on adding new features to the Illinois app. Our August release will take us closer to our strategic goals of Student SuccessHealth and Wellnessand Research Capabilities.

Student Success calls for the development of resources and tools that help students navigate the Illinois campus and adapt to life as a student in college. The goal of the Student Success initiative is to guide students at every stage in their college career – from helping prospective students make the most of their first year of college, to supporting current students navigating academics and campus life, up to and including their graduation.  

During a recent collaboration with Lisa Jackson from Student Affairs, we incorporated the information from Illinois Beginnings – the guide for new and prospective students – into the Illinois app. The app will make this information quick and easy to access on every student’s mobile device wherever and whenever they need it. Students will also find that the new Events section of the Illinois app provides improved access to virtual events and support for multi-day events. 


Health and Wellness will focus on improving the Illinois app so that students can more easily identify and locate the appropriate wellness resources they need at the time that they need them and in the right format. Wellness resources will be made easily searchable through the app and customizable. The app will help students enrich their physical and mental health throughout their time at the university.  


Research Capabilities will focus on developing tools that contribute to campus-wide and even interinstitutional research projects. To this end, students and faculty in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program are currently developing a secure privacy-preserving data enclave called Rokwall, which will enable researchers to analyze data gathered from Rokwire apps and conduct valuable research. With Rokwall handling data, Rokwire will support IRB and HIPAA compliant research conducted with the assistance of data collection tools in the Illinois app. 

We have also recently collaborated with researchers from a diversity of programs, including Psychology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Social Work, and the Center for Social and Behavioral Science to develop cross-disciplinary research proposals. 

Rokwire Community

As an open source initiative, we are particularly interested in tapping the wealth of innovative potential on our campus to encourage software development and associated activities. We welcome participants from various corners of campus and beyond.  

Rokwire Community publishes a bi-monthly newsletter with the latest updates from the world of community-building. You can also become a contributor and get recognized on our website. Take a look at the Rokwire Community contributor guide to get started.   

As a recent example, students in the Translation Studies program have contributed to the Safer Illinois app with their language localization projects. Safer Illinois now includes Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese as language options.  

If you have an idea for contributing to Rokwire, contact Bradly Alicea the open source community manager at balicea@illinois.edu. 

Ask Us Anything

Q: Will you add a way to report COVID-19 vaccination status to Safer Illinois? 

Yes, Safer Illinois can now include your vaccination information. To show your vaccination status in the app, first you must upload your completed COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to the MyMcKinley Health Services portal as described on the Vaccines for COVID-19 webpage. After your vaccination status has been verified as fully vaccinated by McKinley, your health status color in the Safer Illinois app will change to green. A confirmed fully vaccinated status will replace the need for COVID-19 testing until further notice. Vaccination information will be displayed in Safer Illinois starting in mid-June.  

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