Several of you, like me, may have graduated from college some time ago – longer than we care to admit. Remember those bulky course catalogs we had to flip through at the beginning of every academic year? I can clearly picture the hundreds of pages of recycled paper… oh, how things have changed!

Today’s college students simply review course descriptions online or on their smartphones without thinking twice about it. And once classes have started, customized mobile apps– branded with the university’s name, colors, and logo – make things even easier by incorporating study materials, assignments and grades with interactive collaboration features.

The goal of these custom apps reaches far beyond simply accessing a class syllabus from anywhere. Students using mobile app platforms like AT&T Campus Guide can collaborate with peers or instructors on class assignments by simply opening the course directory.  With a few simple taps to the screen, they are chatting with one another.

Smaller colleges can tap mobile apps, too

It’s hard to deny that students will continue to use mobile technology to connect like this. By the end of 2016, an estimated nine of out 10 undergraduate college students will own a smartphone – compared with 60% of the general population.

I recently blogged about the next generation of IT leaders in higher education. The concepts I discussed aren’t isolated to large institutions. IT leaders at smaller universities and colleges also understand there is an opportunity to engage students through mobile technology. But for many, the idea of customized mobile apps may seem far reaching as they face more limited resources and a considerably smaller IT staff.

Here’s the thing.  Colleges and universities of any size don’t have to make a large investment to create a successful mobile app. With the AT&T Campus Guide platform, campuses can customize and easily integrate a mobile app to their legacy systems without having to develop something from scratch.  Branded, highly functional apps can be up-and-running in a matter of weeks – and for much less than you might expect.

An award-winning platform

University leaders already using this platform are telling others about the low-cost benefits. AT&T Campus Guide was just named a University Business Magazine 2012 Readers’ Choice Top Product!

Nominations were submitted by University Business readers, describing how products like AT&T Campus Guide are contributing to their success in engaging today’s generation of mobile students.

A customized AT&T Campus Guide mobile app can include an array of features:

  • Course information, including assignments, grades and class announcements
  • Campus events
  • Student and faculty/staff directories
  • Campus maps with turn-by-turn directions
  • Campus warnings & notifications
  • Campus news and Twitter feeds
  • Class rosters and address books
  • A ‘My Card’ feature, to easily share contact information with others
Easy access for engaged students

Rockhurst University in Kansas City has 2,130 undergraduate students, and they began using AT&T Campus Guide last year. Today, the app has been downloaded 1,744 times, and our team recently connected with Rockhurst students and leaders to learn more about their experience.

Here’s what you’ll learn from the video below:

  • Rockhurst’s IT team didn’t have flexibility to invest in research and development time for a home-grown app
  • The release of Rockhurst’s mobile app coincided with a University rebranding effort, so marketing and IT teams worked together to incorporate the new look and feel
  • Rockhurst Campus Guide can be used on multiple device types, regardless of carrier
  • Faculty members don’t have to learn a new system to integrate course materials – Campus Guide works with systems already in place
  • Student leaders use the campus directory to plan events and teach entering freshman how to access information
  • The app is user-friendly. “It’s nice to have something as simple on your phone to check on things,” said Rockhurst sophomore Marcelo Feran II.

 

AT&T Campus Guide – Rockhurst University

And Rockhurst University’s mobile app is just one example.  I’d love to hear what you think about the use of mobile apps in higher education, in general.

What makes a campus mobile app successful?
What are the greatest concerns for institutions looking to build an app?
What uses for campus mobile apps haven’t yet been commonly explored?