In today’s fast-paced world, students, staff and faculty members as well as alumni expect information and services to be instantly available on any device. Several institutions still offer a makeshift arrangement of apps and websites for various campus divisions and services; most of them with multiple logins, interfaces, and user rules. The result is an awkward user-experience that is outdated and less useful than it should be.
No institution is complete without a comprehensive mobile experience for students, teachers and administrative staff. However, not all mobile solutions are created equal. It is clear that every college will benefit from leveraging mobile solutions.
Campuses across universities are looking more at mobile solutions that benefit students, staff and faculty alike. This will improve student experience and help higher-education institutions in adopting new technology. Mobile innovation impacts the entire student life cycle, from increased prospect engagement to alumnus after graduation.
Features like push notifications, real-time process and custom-made communications enable the formulation of a sound mobile strategy, with wide-ranging potential for customization, outreach and messaging.
In addition to accommodating a varied array of apps and websites, many institutions lack integration between their mobile app and their Enterprise Resource Planning or Student Information System. Mobile apps solve those integration issues while providing the seamless mobile experience and functionality that students and campus employees expect.
Working in real-time, mobile apps ensure seamless out-of-the-box integration with ERPs and total alignment with the overarching objectives of the institution.
According to EDUCAUSE, “Users increasingly expect that mobile apps will allow them to do virtually everything their laptops can do (if not more), in a smooth, integrated experience.”
Mobile offers comprehensive functionality for students, faculty, and staff, letting them access information anytime, anywhere. With the touch of a screen, administrative staff can:
- Share campus communications and deliver highly targeted communications
- Promote safety and wellness
- Create a Suggestion Box that forwards recommendations straight to the student government body
- Access native features, including campus maps, directories, notifications, news, events, multimedia, and offer virtual campus tours
- Complete transactions with the library, bookstore, athletics, and other departments and facilities integrated with Mobile
- Manage calendars, events, and social media accounts
Help students help themselves:
At the foundation of every solution lies the premise that technology can help students succeed. Mobile shouldn’t be an exception. By easing students’ access to campus life, course registration, financial aid information, and communications with advisors, faculty, and staff, every interaction is faster and easier, with less time wasted and more time saved for academic achievement.
Here are ways mobile apps can transform the education and student experience:
- Ease-of-access - Students, faculty and staff can get easy access to information related to profile, attendance, coursework, grades, fee payments, events, etc.
- Real-time tracking - The mobile app gives students information about attendance, timetables, grades, events, library, transport, notice board messages, hostel and more. Track all your activities and schedule to get real- time information.
- View assignments & grades - Teachers can assign assignments to students, review the submission, submit grades, possibly with comments. This information can be shared as feedback with students and parents. They can also monitor the student’s progress and evaluate class performance
- Event scheduling- Create schedules and events for an academic session using the calendar. Also, send instant notifications to students, faculty, staff and parents via email, SMS alerts and push notifications.
- Seamless learning - Search and share various assets including assignments, lesson plans, course evaluation, syllabus forms, etc., to students in a seamless learning environment to achieve goals.
Help faculty help themselves:
Mobile technology can be an excellent tool to support instructors. It helps instructors keep tabs on attendance, create assignments, assign grades, track discipline, upload multimedia, generate reports, send notifications, store lessons and interact with students via chat, discussion forums and social media. Educators can use the mobile app to communicate and collaborate with students in real time to save time and optimize assets. Integrating technology with education is a great way of bringing innovation to teaching and enhancing the learning experience of students.
Here are great ways faculty can take advantage of mobile apps:
- Take Attendance - Instructors can simply access the mobile app to mark attendance and track student activities.
- Notifications - Instructors can send notifications and alerts on attendance, grades, timetables, discipline and class events to students to make it very powerful. They can also share quick messages with other instructors.
- Manage assessments
- Assign grades
- File sharing
- Discussion Forum & Chat - Threaded discussion and chat are enough for faculty to provide the best help and tips, and share advice with other instructors on mobile phones.
For many institutions, the biggest challenge in adopting mobile applications is the lack of long-term vision. If the strategy lacks clarity, implementing mobile will tend to be expensive and overlapping. The primary focus of institutions and their business is educating students and not developing and managing mobile applications. Instead, develop a plan for long-term stability, growth, and support for mobile apps. Develop a planned, forward-thinking mobile strategy that is sustainable and maintainable.
The reliability, scalability and continued evolution of mobile apps are the reasons universities and colleges trust and adopt mobile solutions.
1. EDUCAUSE, April 2011. http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-mobile-app-development