Mobile Technology on Campus – University Apps Gaining Popularity

One of the things I love the most is instances in which the strengths and benefits of technology are creatively utilized in a meaningful way. While the typical challenge for professors and higher education administrators is the fact that students are always on their phones, California State University at Northridge decided to use this potential difficulty as a way to engage with their students. Ten weeks before their largest freshman class to date was set to enroll, the university took a leap of faith into mobile technology.

With an investment of about $75,000 and a partnership with a company to develop the app, it was unveiled in late August for both iOS and Android devices. Overall, the investment into the mobile app has been a tremendous success for California State University at Northridge, with about 16,000 downloads of the app and that number still increasing.

Overall, this story has inspired me to pause and reflect on how I can harness mobile technology to make campus services more accessible to the students who will utilize them. Currently in the office I work in (career services), our on-the-go outreach to students is limited. In recent years, we discontinued online appointment scheduling due to reasons I am not quite sure of, but that basically it wasn’t working out. The majority of the scheduling and counseling with students and alumni takes place in person or by telephone. Skype can be used in rare instances if a student has a unique circumstance (ex: studying abroad) but in general we shy away from mobile or even online reach. Based on the interactions and feedback I have received from students, it would be beneficial to bridge this technology gap.

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