Mobile Leader of the Month: National American University

Submitted by on Wed, 07/26/17

In our monthly blog series Mobile Leader of the Month, we sit down with organizations that are creating exceptional mobile experiences.

This month we spoke with Trip Bauer, Application Developer at National American University.

About National American University

National American University (NAU) opened its doors to students in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1941. The founder of the university, Clarence Jacobson, strived to bring unique opportunities to fulfill a need of students desiring specialized business training.

After five decades, NAU sought out to fulfill another student demand for online courses, creating a powerful pathway for working adults. Today the university consists of 35 campuses across 10 states offering degrees in today’s top growing industries including accounting, information technology, healthcare, criminal justice, business and more.

In its 75th year, NAU continues to offer high-quality programs, provide caring and supportive learning environments and offers technical and professional career programs.

How did the app come to fruition, and what are its goals and objectives?

The app came to life with a new initiative to be mobile-first and we needed an app to meet our students where they are which is on their mobile devices. We also wanted to work with a company that was going to be innovative and leading edge but also willing to partner on new ideas as they came up. Modo Labs was that company.

The core objective for us was to facilitate student involvement and participation at any point, at any time. Students are on the go, waiting for the bus, going to work, heading to the library and so on. Being able to meet students where they are, when they need to be reached – that is meaningful to them and is meaningful for us to communicate with them where it’s convenient, for them.

Tell us a little bit about using the app for commencement

NAU has quite the task when it comes to commencement, we have one dozen ceremonies over 40 days – just this Spring. It struck us that we should drive students, family and visitors to the app for these special events. In only three days we reviewed this idea and how to make it possible with the Modo Labs go-live team and made a thought into a reality.

The fact that we could deploy our commencements in the modules, with live streaming, maps, and information was outstanding. This is what makes a true partnership shine – they helped us make our 75th anniversary commencements accessible and available for everyone. They helped us form a community around our commencements. Next year we have even larger plans to stream all commencements live, even our online ceremony. It’s important that we showcase the accomplishments of every student.

NAU has a strong online population, can you talk about how the app has played an important role in connecting your students to important info?

The app has played a key role in commencement and other areas. The app is constantly evolving and one of the near future changes is that we are making new personas, adding in special personas for the Doctoral program, splitting the app to two locations (still one app), one for military studies and one NAU general location, with specific things, like community boards, within each to connect everyone together. We are also in the process for our Canadian school to be either a separate persona or separate location. We have built out an alumni persona, next we are expanding on career services section, as well as looking at opps to leverage communities, particularly our military presence.

What modules/features do students access most?

The most used feature is the Modo LMS integration with D2L, students love having access to their courses. There are other modules and features that share a healthy balance such as the Wifi module paired with QR code flyers at each location that provide an easy way to manage wifi access. As we use the app more we plan on utilizing Modo Analyze further to understand what our students are using and what they need.

What kind of feedback do you get from students from the app or any as it’s still new?

We are looking at doing a survey, but we are waiting for a few more pieces like our SIS integration before we do so.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Students are amped up about the holiday and seasonal themes we do in the app. It’s very easy to change our screen themes on a daily basis to keep things interesting. We are pleased to be working with Modo Labs as every team has been exceedingly helpful and willing to explore new ideas. It feels like a partnership, not a customer vendor relationship, which is rare these days in a Software-as-a-Service world.

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