In line with the rise in hybrid colleges and hybrid universities, schools are looking for ways to unify their hybrid campus. The goal is continuing to serve students as always, whether students are on campus or off. Here are examples of the ways that schools are using their Modo-powered campus mobile apps to maintain and even increase engagement, starting with virtual orientation and beyond.
University of Findlay Keeps Students and Parents Engaged
For University of Findlay, a combination of push notifications and a single, trusted source of information from and about the school has proven invaluable to keeping both students and parents engaged. In fact, the school boosted enrollment by about 15% in fall 2020.
Based in Northwest Ohio, the university with approximately 4,000 students calls upon the mobile app it launched four years ago using the Modo Campus platform. When the coronavirus hit, the app was an essential link between the university and its constituents, driving a 10x growth in active app users, now around 5,000.
Here are some ways Findlay uses its mobile app to fully engage its undergrad and graduate students, faculty and other critical members of its extended campus community.
- To prepare for orientation, students and parents can find everything from campus maps and student and parent calendars to introductions from admissions counselors and instructions for how students can upload photos and introduce themselves to other students.
- Findlay paves the way for new student registration days in the fall by sending push notifications throughout the summer about opportunities to engage and learn more about the school’s programs and faculty members.
- To replace the in-person visit day for its popular Pre-Veterinary Medicine Equestrian Riding Program, Findlay arranged a virtual webinar. The webinar drove much livelier interaction than during in-person visits, with students asking over 100 questions.
- Findlay enhanced its traditional commencement ceremony by pairing it with a digital version on the school’s mobile app. Students, friends, and family can access a digital commencement program, see a message from the president, watch the ceremony and virtual arch ceremony live, and see videos from students and parents. Push notifications remind app users to tune in at the right time and greatly reduce the number of questions the school typically fields leading up to and on the day of its commencement.
University of Southern Mississippi Fosters Engagement During Orientation and Beyond
The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) is a public institution with undergraduate enrollment of nearly 12,000. To enable a successful New Student Orientation (NSO) when many students were remote, the school called upon its iSouthernMS mobile application. Here are highlights of how it used its mobile app to drive an effective NSO experience.
- The university made its mobile app the first touch point during orientation. This allowed the school to communicate easily with students and their families beyond the orientation agenda. It updated the app to showcase things new students should do before, during, and after orientation, while highlighting the information fair – the main component of the virtual NSO experience.
- The before-orientation checklist in the app helps make sure students take care of final enrollment to-dos like finalizing schedules and expectations of them moving forward.
- The school sent a series of communications to incoming students two weeks prior to one-day orientation sessions scheduled for July. As the sessions drew near, orientation leaders contacted students by phone and text messages.
- Academic advisors reached out to students to engage them in extensive pre-course registration work in the two weeks prior to the virtual orientation session. The goal was making sure students understood their degree plan, were choosing classes for first semester, and thinking about how to fit them into their schedule.
- A post-orientation checklist in the app covers tasks like taking their fall class schedule to Barnes and Noble to order textbooks and sending final transcripts to the office of admissions, which they can do directly in the app.
- Once students are through orientation, the app takes them to the Golden Eagle Welcome Week, and transitions them into their new student and retention program app personas.
University of Houston Addresses COVID and More
The University of Houston has added many app features to help address COVID-19 and enable distributed learning. At the same time, it’s adding features that will continue to provide value well after COVID-19, such as a classroom support call button for faculty and staff, laptop checkout, density information, and contactless food ordering. Here are key features in its “Coog Strong” mobile app module:
- When and Where to Eat. This screen shows hours of operation for different on-campus facilities and information about cashless options on campus, and serves up contactless options. The latter enables robotic food delivery from the convenience of a smartphone.
- Push notifications based on Bluetooth beacons. As an app user enters the vicinity of campus or a building, they are shown relevant messages on the app screen. When a user clicks on the notification, they see more information, such as reminders of how to stay safe, to wear their mask, wash their hands and social distance.
- Self-assessment. A self-assessment module provides an interactive list of the symptoms everyone should check for daily before going to campus. If a user selects “no” to all symptoms, they will see a green check mark and a statement that confirms they are reporting no symptoms. The message also reminds them to follow guidelines for COVID19. If a student or employee selects “yes” to one or more of the symptoms, a notification confirms they are reporting symptoms and the app links them to the relevant protocols on the university’s COVID-19 website.
- Laptop checkout. Students can reserve a laptop with a tap in the UH Go app. Previously, when students had to make a reservation via a website, about 10% of laptops were checked out. Since the module launched, that number has reached 100%.
- Density information. By integrating its mobile app with Aruba’s AirWave API, the school can use its mobile app to display real-time population levels in specific campus areas. This keep students and employees informed about the population density of buildings and floors.
- Emergency alerts. The university distributes alerts from its Everbridge emergency management system via appropriate communication channels, including its mobile app. When the university’s emergency group flags a message as “no emergency” or indicates the emergency has been resolved, the campus app removes those messages in the messaging center.
Even if your constituents are not on campus today, now is the time to plan for the hybrid campus experience. Your school can enable a safe return to campus while supporting remote students by deploying a mobile app or extending your existing one. This app can also be the cornerstone of your strategy for supporting the student experience and engaging them beyond campus. See a custom demo today and let’s get started unifying your hybrid campus with an app designed exclusively for your mobile-native students and community.
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