5 questions to ask before your university goes mobile

Before they set foot in their first class, incoming college students face a maze of requirements and resources that will be critical to their success. So-called “student supports” abound. Yet forty percent of first-year students don’t return the following year, and a growing number report information overload as they navigate campus life amid newfound independence.

Perhaps with good reason. Today’s students are “over” email—and university websites just aren’t intuitive to the touchscreen generation. The nine in 10 undergraduates who own smartphones are probably familiar with the xkcd about it. College-aged Americans check their devices more than 150 times per day. So it should be no surprise that a growing body of research suggests that mobile solutions can play a critical role in enhancing the student experience.

But with an explosion of campus apps for academics, extracurriculars, and events, going mobile can create an even more fragmented online experience. The risk of “app fatigue” looms large for student affairs professionals.…Read More

How self-service options improve the student experience

With nearly all higher education students using electronic devices to manage their day-to-day life on campus, including uploading assignments to their ePortfolios and managing their course schedules in the institution’s portal via the student information system (SIS), the digital life has become the de facto replacement for paper and pen. Further, students’ expectations—particularly the Gen Z crowd—to manage all of their needs online has led senior institutional leaders to re-examine their processes, chiefly the back office or administrative tasks, enabling self-service capabilities and offering the next generation of paperless functionality.

Implementing new or expanding the use of existing technologies, such as enterprise content-management tools that provide access to e-forms and reduce paper processes, can yield increased efficiencies and productivity, and offer value that improves the overall student experience.

The student-facing side of paperless administration…Read More

Wow: This app measures campus cellular download speeds

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology developed a new smartphone app that allows users to measure the actual download speeds of cellular providers and compare results in the specific geographic area. It also has security capabilities that can protect users’ identities.

RIT Cellular Metrics, the new app, simultaneously maps coverage areas and details the performance levels of cellular carriers in the area. The app is free and available through the Google Play store for Android devices.

“We developed a custom app because we wanted to know exactly which carrier—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile—had the fastest connection speed at a given location, not just which had faster speed or better coverage on a regional level,” said Clark Hochgraf, associate professor of telecommunications engineering technology in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology and a member of the research team.…Read More

Are campuses delivering the kind of app students want?

A large majority of students (87 percent) said they want their higher-ed institution to be technologically savvy, according to a new survey from software provider Ellucian.

Tech savviness is even more important for nontraditional students (93 percent) and those working full time (95 percent).

The survey, Students Are Looking for Personalized Digital Experiences: Do Colleges Deliver?, reveals that 97 percent of participating students said technology outside the classroom is just as important to their success as technology inside the classroom.…Read More

13 experts discuss higher ed’s next 20 years

The nation’s current higher education system is unsustainable, and many experts believe it is ill-suited for today’s globally-connected and ever-changing world, according to a new whitepaper from Blackboard.

Increases in mobile technologies and data access have greatly influenced higher education and access to it, but institutions cannot simply expand access to education without working to ensure students’ success. But as experts reveal, the U.S. higher education system is on the cusp of great changes.

Thirteen higher-ed experts interviewed for the whitepaper said colleges and universities will have to change their business models to thrive and drive enrollment, and new technologies will help faculty focus on the application of learning instead of knowledge acquisition.…Read More

University uses mobile app to engage and support first-year students

Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) Edge Program, a four-year initiative designed to support students from enrollment through graduation, announced the launch of a new mobile app that will enable students to access course information, student support services, and event calendars, and other resources through a single streamlined source.

Developed by OOHLALA Mobile, a fast-growing higher education company led by former student affairs professionals that now serves more than 200 colleges and universities, the mobile app is designed to improve engagement and retention among EMU’s diverse student population, as well as to support the transition to campus life for low-income and first-generation students.

“Many of our students come from low-income backgrounds or are the first in their families to go to college–and when they arrive on campus, they often struggle to navigate the range of available courses and support networks,” said Christine Deacons, director of Academic Support Programs at Eastern Michigan University, in a statement. “Smartphones are the device of choice for most students–so a streamlined, mobile-friendly app will be instrumental in providing students the information they need, boosting their confidence, and helping them persist in their education.”…Read More

Students list the top 5 benefits of a campus app

A new survey reveals that while 38 percent of students are somewhat or very worried they will not graduate on time, students also say their campus app helps them stay on top of their academic responsibilities.

The 2017 Student Life and Technology survey comes from DubLabs, a provider of personalized campus mobile applications focused on the student experience.

The survey aims to understand today’s postsecondary student experience and it reveals potential barriers to graduation and how students are leveraging campus resources to stay on track.…Read More

Technology trends that help keep our campus safe

History was made on August 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman reached the top of the UT tower and opened fire, killing several people with which he had no personal connection. The UT tower shooting was the first mass campus murder in America. As we observed the 50th anniversary of this tragedy last year, we’ve lost count of how many school shootings and threats to campus safety that has since come to pass.

Campus safety is one of the most pressing matters of our time, and we’re eager to find solutions that put the sense of security back into the educational system. As technology emerges to address the issue, it’s quickly becoming clear what’s necessary for them to be effective.

Effective Means Mobile…Read More

What the college digital experience will look like 5 years from now

Like many other industries, much of the change occurring in colleges and universities is driven by the rise of mobile devices, the consumerization of IT, and higher customer expectations. With so many educational choices both on-campus and online, institutions have had to set aside their aversion for change in order to meet the digital desires of a new generation of students and compete on a global scale. But what will higher ed’s strategic digital efforts look like in the future?

Then: Simply Keeping Pace

Along with the economic downturn of the late 2000s that caused students, parents, and even prospective employers to begin questioning the value of a college degree, which resulted trends in career and employability-focused education programs and CBE, as well as the replacement of legacy administrative systems with more modern systems, the move to a more digital campus has also been driven in a large part by the demands of a tech savvy-generation raised with smart device in hand and accustomed to anytime, anywhere access to information. Accreditation agencies today are not only looking at student competency and course offerings when rating performance — they’re also looking at student satisfaction surveys and student outcomes.…Read More

Universities using emojis for alumni engagement

Despite their nearly 20-year history, over the past two years in particular, emojis have taken the world by storm. Clocking in with about 6 billion daily usages, emojis further cemented their place in the typographic landscape (and millions’ smartphone keypads) when in 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the “face with tears of joy” emoji its word of the year. Since then, companies, celebrities and schools have capitalized on these smiling, frowning, laughing and crying faces by partnering with third-party companies, such as Priceless Misc, Swyft Media and Snaps Media, to launch branded emoji keyboards, complete with GIFs, emojis and stickers of the brand’s logos, mascots, and other identifiable elements.

But, why?

Emojis for School Spirit Branding…Read More