App features hope to improve student engagement, retention
Youngstown State University's new campus app is now live for student use, and hopes to boost student engagement and retention through regular use of its features.
The app is the result of a partnership with OOHLALA Mobile, a company who focuses on student engagement though its mobile platform. The Youngstown State campus app will provide students with the ability to use their smartphones to access course listings, event calendars, payment portals and other campus resources.
The app was designed by recent college graduates and student affairs professionals to glean valuable information regarding student engagement and retention. Also key to the new app is a focus on first-generation college students and those generally unfamiliar with the college experience.
"Our community includes a large population of commuters and first-generation college students, who often struggle with adjustment to college life, and an array of programs and resources," says Joy Byers, Director of Campus Recreation at Youngstown State University. "OOHLALA has helped us to 'go mobile' in a way that's intuitive for students, drawing on concepts familiar from the consumer web to help them access information and services all in one place."
Youngstown State is among the growing number of colleges and universities leveraging technology based strategies and tools to help first-generation college students navigate and leverage academic coaching, counseling, and other campus resources. Youngstown State serves nearly 13,000 students, 90% of whom are commuters who live with their families or in off-campus residences, and as of 2014 56% of the student population were first-generation college students.
"When they arrive on campus, new students are often overwhelmed by a barrage of information about campus activities and support services," says Danial Jameel, Co-Founder and CEO of OOHLALA. "The ubiquity of mobile computing now allows colleges and universities to engage their students through an intuitive, familiar platform that brings clarity and transparency to the campus experience."
The Youngstown Campus App incorporates mobile technology like smart calendars that sync with students' course schedule and Outloook365. The app also leverages GPS, and customizable alerts to help students navigate campus life. Faculty and student affairs staff are also using the app to anticipate student engagement in events and activities, and collect real-time data on the student experience. The app is available for free download in the iTunes and Google Play stores and integrates directly with Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS).