2016 Kurogo Conference Recap: The Next Generation of Mobile on Campus

Submitted by on Tue, 04/12/16

IMG_9385The 4th annual Kurogo Higher Ed Mobile Conference took place from March 22-24th at California State University, Northridge. The conference brought together higher ed and industry mobile leaders for three days of learning, networking, and sharing of best practices and ideas.

This year was the biggest event yet, with over 160 attendees from more than 65 schools from around the world. The conference was filled with 2.5 days of general mobile strategy and technical topics as well as many Kurogo-specific sessions.

Day One: The Importance of Mobile on Campus
The first day of the conference highlighted the importance of mobile on campus and the unique approaches schools are taking to create engaging mobile experiences for students. Hilary Baker VP of IT and CIO of CSUN FullSizeRender (1)kicked off the conference by sharing how she has led the campus mobile revolution at CSUN. She was followed by Navneet Johal, a Higher Ed Research Analyst from Ovum, who highlighted the importance of mobile as a strategic imperative on campus and provided practical tips for getting there.

Other topics underscored the significance of mobile as a student engagement and communication tool. Schools shared their strategies for using mobile to involve students on campus – from providing timely and dynamic campus event information; enabling students to add and drop classes on their mobile phones; making mobile accessible to all students with universal design principles; and even giving both technical and non-technical students practical opportunities for creating their own mobile apps.

Day Two: All About Students
Day two provided an invaluable look at what students expect from the university mobile experience. Morley Winograd, author of Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America and Fellow at the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, kicked off the day by sharing insight into generational differences, particularly for Millennials and the next generation, the Plurals. Morley enlightened the attendees with anecdotes and data on how generational differences impact worldviews and technology habits, and how these trends will impact the future college experience.

CeQFxkkUAAAd1vpAppropriately, the generational discussion was followed by one of the biggest highlights of the conference: the Student Panel, made up of four university students, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pacific University, and California State University Northridge, who are all actively involved in their campus’ mobile apps. During this panel the students answered questions from the audience, about their technology usage, social media habits, mobile expectations, and more. “You’ve got about 4 words before you lose my attention,” shared one of the students – stressing the importance of making it easy for students to quickly access what it is they are looking for.

Day two also featured several talks on how universities are using mobile to meet needs of different stakeholders on their campuses. In one session, speakers from Georgetown, Pepperdine and Pasco-Hernando State College shared how they are partitioning their campus apps to create unique mobile experiences for different types of students, like newly admitted, new, and current students, as well as for different campus locations. Matt Willmore , the mobileND Program Manager from the University of Notre Dame also shared great ideas on how he has engaged his whole campus in mobile development and empowered non-technical staff to generate their own modules for the main campus app.

Day Three: Looking to the Future
Setting the tone for last day of the conference, Andrew Yu of Modo Labs looked back to the start of mobile on campus, and the beginnings of Modo Labs itself, before making predictions for the future of mobile and beyond. What do we have to look forward to? Mobile experiences that continue to make getting information and accomplishing tasks easier and easier.IMG_5730 Improved mobile interfaces and new technology are signs of this continued movement toward “useful information you need, when you need it, and where you need it.” And, driving all this is a focus on local, social, and personal mobile experiences.

A highlight of day three was the panel discussion on Beacon technology. Not surprising, since a pre-conference survey found that almost 40% of question respondents are planning to add Beacon technology as a new feature in their existing app. Beacons were also used during the conference to provide contextual messaging for attendees – ranging from the morning Welcome to information about areas of CSUN’s campus.

Throughout the conference, Modo Labs also shared sneak previews of upcoming messaging and analytics features, as well as best practices and practical tips for app design.

CeVG58PUUAAV7SVConference attendees left with actionable strategies for enhancing and expanding mobile on their campus—especially as a powerful communication tool. Attendees were also inspired to involve the whole campus in mobile strategy and development—from departments and teams across campus to the students themselves.

It’s extremely difficult to condense three action-packed days into a quick recap. For more, please check out the presentation slides and videos, as well as #kurogo2016 on twitter.

We, at Modo Labs, are so excited about the way colleges and universities across the country and beyond are investing in mobile and striving to go above and beyond to bring the best possible experiences to their students. We can’t wait to see what the next year holds!


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