Are Your Students Struggling To Get Their Information?

Author: Bryan Czajkowski

Does your institution have a campus app? Is that app older than the freshmen dorms? Is it more difficult to manage than a herd of cats?

It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Well-planned and properly curated institutional apps are keeping pace with the technology expectations of today’s students. In fact, they’re quickly becoming more capable, easier to develop, simpler to maintain, and more cost-effective to launch.

Campus apps are critical in providing students, faculty, and prospects centralized information for grades, schedules, event calendars, maps, and other resources. Having all these resources available at their fingertips is not just a convenience, it’s a necessity. Students are accustomed to managing their entire lives — food, transportation, music social lives — on their phones.

According to EDUCAUSE — the largest nonprofit community of technology, academic, industry, and campus leaders advancing higher education through IT — in order to better serve students, institutions must do more to create user-friendly apps connecting them with necessary services and information.

You’ve got to go where your students are,” said Vanessa Hammler Kenon, associate vice president for information management and technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and speaker at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2019. “Your students expect the same kind of technology that gives them Facebook [and]Instagram.” Examples of universities offering students an engaging and productive app experience include University of Notre Dame, Texas A&M University, and California State University, NorthRidge.

Campus apps are not just convenient to users: they also make the lives of institutional administrators easier by tying together multiple disparate systems and providing one system that manages content that is not just accessible on the app, but also as the same personalized experience on the web.

Modern campus apps can pull data from an institution’s email system, student information system, learning management system, library automation system and other sources. They can use individualized or role-based messaging to opt-in channels and emergency communications, ensure everyone on campus receives relevant communications, including proximity notifications to notify users when they are near events or locations.

Additionally, campus apps provide valuable student data about interests and resource usage that help shape institutional decisions.

A well-executed campus app initiative improve student engagement, satisfaction, and retention experience, which spans that student’s lifecycle from recruitment to a fundraising alum.