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As more digital natives enter college, higher ed institutions must make their campus apps more user-friendly, engaging, and useful to meet the needs and expectations of these students. Year after year, we see campuses rise to the task with innovativeness and creativity. This year’s Appademy Award nominees reflect how college apps are becoming a one-stop platform for students to access all the tools, information, and services they use daily, with features that make school life easier.
This “empower for success” trend has fueled more campuses to integrate personalized messaging and alerts, wayfinding, digital IDs, communication tools, fully integrated and intuitive academic systems, and more into their apps. We have also noticed a rise in student involvement in app content, features, design, and development as schools see significant increases in adoption and daily usage rates for their apps.
At the fifth annual “Appademy Awards,” held as a virtual ceremony on October 19, 2022, we recognized digital leaders and their campus apps across ten distinct categories.
Best Apps for Student Engagement:
Best Apps for Design and Experience:
Read on to discover who was nominated, and find out who walked away with the top honors.
Recognizing apps that utilize modules and/or communications to highlight special programs, groups and/or resources that support holistic student wellness.
The winner: Vassar College (Vassar Mobile) Back to Top
Vassar College really took the time to understand and recognize their students’ mental health hardships and addressed the issue head on in Vassar Mobile. The redesigned student home screen includes a call to action for mental health support in the hero section and quick links to mental health resources. The change resulted in hundreds of students accessing mental health support resources that they may not have discovered otherwise.
Recognizing apps that integrate modules, personas, tours, in-app communications and/or other features for prospective students. Specially highlighting their creativity and capability to be iterative through virtual and/or hybrid experiences.
The winner: UC Merced (UC Merced Connect) Back to Top
UC Merced Connect was a standout for its support, in both Spanish and English, of students and their families going through the recruitment and onboarding experience. The app is both creative and helpful.
Recognizing apps that have leveraged mobile creatively to complement or host the Commencement experience for their graduates and their families.
The winner: New York University (NYU Mobile) Back to Top
The NYU Mobile app did an excellent job of providing vital commencement information to students, including the schedule, health protocols, ticketing, directions, attire, and parking. A series of portraits of graduating students were also shown on the app in the days leading up to the event. On graduation day, the app provided a live stream of each ceremony.
Recognizing apps that engage students, faculty, staff, and visitors for new student orientation. Specially highlighting their creativity and capability to be iterative through virtual or hybrid experiences.
The winners: Northern Arizona University (NAUgo) Back to Top
The NAUgo app allows users to select whether they will be attending orientation in-person or virtually. For those choosing to attend in-person at the Flagstaff Mountain Campus, specific content is presented before, during, and after the orientation to ensure students and families stay informed every step of the way.
Recognizing apps that utilize personalized and timely push notifications and in-app banners to improve communication with students and/or various target audiences.
The winners: Harding University (HardingU) Back to Top
HardingU has a very clean design that makes it easy for users to quickly access what they need. Notifications are brief, to-the-point and always include an image to make the message engaging and attention-grabbing. The app also takes advantage of location-based, public messaging and opt-in channels.
Recognizing apps that achieve a great visual design on both its aesthetic appeal and usability. They draw their attention to the important aspects and strike the balance between a fresh, powerful design and what their users expect to see.
The winner: Florida Atlantic University (MyFAU) Back to Top
Florida Atlantic University’s MyFAU app is aesthetically pleasing and intuitive for both mobile and desktop users and offers many features and useful integrations, such as email, CANVAS, and library access.
Recognizing campus apps that have empowered students to become involved in the app development process. They can be student developed or with constant student input (focus groups, surveys, usability tests, etc).
The winner: Illinois College Back to Top
Content for the Illinois College mobile app, which was developed by a student, was driven from Student Senate suggestions, student surveys and in-app polls. As a result, the app includes announcements, dining hall menus, LaundryView, maps, digital ID card and more with constant input from the student senate.
Recognizing apps that deliver the best and most creative mobile experiences through XModule(s) and/or XComponent(s) to facilitate hyper-personalized and unique experiences to students on campus.
The winner: Old Dominion University (ODUMobile) Back to Top
The ODUMobile app includes several personalized components, such as attendance check-ins, account and financial aid alerts, checklists, and a course module with course and instructor details. It also includes My Advisor, which enables the student to check their advisor’s contact details and communicate accordingly.
Recognizing institutions that offer their students and campus community a unique, personalized and meaningful desktop experience.
The winner: Penn State University (Penn State Go) Back to Top
Penn State Go offers a unique and personalized desktop experience with single sign-on integration so students can more easily access campus tools and accounts, such as Canvas, Email, Starfish, and id+ Card. The desktop version also takes advantage of the additional screen space to display dynamic information from multiple sources.
Recognizing the campus whose app is using innovative integrations, promoting events in their app, leveraging communications, and personalizing it to elevate their students’ experience on and off campus and more! All finalists from the 9 previous categories were considered for the best overall award.
The winner: Northern Arizona University (NAUgo) Back to Top
NAU continues to enhance its NAUgo app by leveraging the Modo platform. The addition of a digital wallet to facilitate building access and payment transactions was achieved in partnership with Touchnet, HID and Apple. The app, which was built by students, evolved through feedback from students and a mobile steering committee. Today, users can view personalized information such as class schedule, grades, and advisors through LOUIEgo; track campus shuttles in real time; use the dining module to see menus; access maps to find parking, printers, restrooms, etc.; reserve study rooms and much more. We cannot wait to see what NAU’s roadmap is for 2023.
Congratulations to all app nominees and winners. We are always amazed by what our higher ed customers create on the Modo platform. We applaud the creativity and focus to improve the lives of students, to help them navigate campus life, and ensure they are successful. Engaging students in the design and development of these apps is especially valuable as it often generates new ideas that improve the user experience—something many of our nominees and winners discovered. And, we love that our platform enables campuses to do this.
Thank you for your participation and keep blowing us away with your innovations. We can’t wait to see what you build in 2023!
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