Key Learnings From The Modo User Group Community

Submitted by on Fri, 04/10/20

Amidst a worldwide effort to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, communities are virtually coming together to support and lift each other up during these unprecedented times. That’s the case for the Modo User Group, which is now hosting bi-weekly roundtable calls for customers. These bi-weekly calls (and several other channels dedicated to the community) provide a space for IT professionals, mobile app administrators, marketing professionals and subject matter experts to share best practices, ideas and challenges they’re currently facing in their mission to serve their now-distributed user community.

To extend these learnings to the broader higher education and enterprise communities navigating the COVID-19 crisis and adapting to this “new normal”, we will be posting a bi-weekly Friday 5 blog sharing key takeaways. We continue to be so honored to have such a robust and engaged community, remarkably willing to help each other out.

Our first roundtable discussion took place April 2nd and included agenda topics such as online or virtual commencement activities during COVID-19 and maintaining student retention up.

Here are our few takeaways:

  1. Commencement is around the (digital) corner: We polled our audience during the call, and collected these statistics:
    23% will host a virtual Commencement in place of a traditional one; 33% are still deciding 33% have postponed their traditional Commencement until a later date; 4% will do both a virtual Commencement, followed by a traditional event on a later date; and 4% have cancelled their event completely.
    Almost 60% hold a relationship with the department on campus that plans Commencement.
    The main concern is how to make everyone feel involved during Commencement, with 38% of respondents wanting to get everyone excited about their modified plan and ensure it is a rewarding experience, despite the situation.

    Higher education institutions are needing to decide on whether to cancel, host it virtually, postpone it or deliver a hybrid Commencement. In order to help the administration of the institutions make a decision, it’s essential to get the opinion of the protagonists (students) and the campus community by polling them. Making sure their voice is heard can go a long way in building community and delivering a meaningful, memorable experience. Polling can easily be done through the campus app by using its in-app Quick Poll feature, along with regular communications to nudge participation on the polls.

  2. Another concern in supporting graduating students is centered around job placement: schools are struggling to support seniors in their job search now that in-person job fairs and related events aren’t a possibility, at least for the Spring semester. In order to acknowledge students’ hard work and success schools are researching ways to do so remotely, some are planning to launch digital poster sessions on their campus apps and/or websites, as well aspresentations through remote conferencing services. Any and all events that were used to support their journey through post-graduation plans will have to be rethought and having a community of higher education experts provides an advantage.
  3. A campus-wide mobile minded strategy is needed to succeed: You’re not alone– folks are all working hard to adapt to the changing times, and all campus departments must come together to strategize how to best reach students and maintain engagement with the distributed community via mobile. Other departments and stakeholders now have the opportunity to transform their regular activities and services to adapt to a digital campus experience. That may include having admitted students explore campus and various recruiting opportunities on the app. An advantage for app administrators is the ability to delegate sections of the app to the subject matter owners; together, the campus can deliver a unified digital experience for their community where they are–their mobile device.
  4. Students are already on their phones; bring the campus to it: Students are glued to their phones and are familiar with using native apps for almost everything–ordering food, socializing, getting entertained, entertaining, you name it. Using the mobile app as a way to distribute information to them versus asking them to go to a website is the right call. Advantages that a mobile app holds over an institution using their website include functionality involving the device such as the user’s camera, GPS and push notifications for a more personalized and interactive experience. This can make a significant difference for users.
  5. Crowdsourcing can be used for attracting prospective students: COVID-19 is changing prospective students’ plans;what can schools do, and how can they leverage a mobile app? Some schools were already using a “Future Student” Persona on their campus app to share events, scholarship opportunities, sessions and admission processes, but with students not being able to physically be on campus, they have a moment to evolve this Future Student experience to “host” students on their campus app. But what does that look like? The community shared how crowdsourcing video stories from current students on their personal experiences along with campus location imagery can bring the campus to life, a virtual expression of the campus culture to help prospective students visualize what their experience could be if they attended that institution. Crowdsourcing = Community.

The Modo User Group attendees come from different campuses all around the globe, but during this time all are experiencing similar challenges. This common bond strengthens the community. We’re all stronger together and will rise above this crisis being better on the other side of it. Your campus app is the new campus, and your workplace app is the new office; how can you rethink the experience and make sure your users feel part of their campus and keep thriving?

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