What is app success?
How do you define a successful campus mobile app? From a strategic perspective, the central factor in campus mobile app success is whether the students use it. The only goal should be student adoption. Improving student engagement, success and retention are all dependent on students’ campus app use.
Success with campus app use depends on native integrations
In reviewing a recent student survey, students reported academics and communications as the two most important features of a campus mobile app. Their preferences are strongly supported by app use data. In fact, data from more than 150 DubLabs schools shows that these two features represent 93% of nearly 200 million student app activities in 2017.
Central to these app capabilities are native integrations to the schools’ SIS and LMS.
Hear it from the experts
Some of the top IT leaders in higher ed, representing a diverse range of public and private schools, explain how DubLabs’ integrations are essential to their campus mobile apps’ successes.
It’s all about meeting student needs. As Tosha Pham (California State University, Los Angeles) puts it, “It’s not about putting the app out there. It’s about delivering services and features that students will use, and that will contribute to student success.”
What services do students want? According to a national survey of students at more than 300 colleges and universities, the capabilities in a campus app that are most important to them are:
- Keeping up with academics
- Personalized notifications focused on time-sensitive academic and other information
Enabling these functions in your app requires integration with the campus systems that provide this information, especially your Student Information System (SIS) and Learning Management System (LMS), as well as other important systems.
Is integration better than serving web pages? Yes – significantly. Linking to mobile web pages does not provide the mobile experience users expect. Instead, real-time integrations pull data through APIs and web services, and presents the information in an interface designed specifically for ease of use within a mobile app.
That’s crucial. These backend systems rarely provide students with simple access to the information that’s important to them. Your SIS, for example, is difficult enough to navigate from a desktop, let alone using a mobile screen.
Elaine Beach (Angelo State University) addresses the importance of integration through a mobile interface when she notes, “It’s very streamlined, and it makes it so easy for students to get through those steps quickly. It really saves them time.”
>That, in turn, means students will actually use your app – and our data shows that they do. We recently reviewed usage data from DubLabs apps in use at more than 150 colleges and universities. Fully 58% of student mobile activities involve interactions with the Courses module of the campus app – the part of the app integrated with the SIS and LMS.
Integration drives personalized notifications. The second capability that students value most in a campus app – personalized notifications – also depends on integrations.
These notifications can be completely automated – triggered by changes in a student’s data or profile in your SIS, LMS, or other systems. You decide on the parameters that will result in a notification, and the DubLabs app does the rest.
Students really do find these notifications valuable. Our review of usage data showed that interactions with personalized notifications accounted for 28% of student mobile activities – second only to their interactions with academic information.
That’s not all. Integrations minimize the impact of a mobile app for all the academic and administrative departments of your school. An app with integrations simply accesses the information that these departments are already providing. Nothing about the way they do their work has to change.
Vince Battista (Illinois Institute of Technology), sums up this important consideration. “We take the information they use and push it out to the app, where it’s delivered and consumed with no change to anyone’s business.”
Moreover, DubLabs has already completed integrations with all the major SIS and LMS packages in use in higher education. Given the number of projects most higher ed IT teams need to manage, working with an experienced provider who can implement these integrations is a significant consideration.