Student/Citizen Development with the Kurogo Platform


  • Matt Willmore, Mobile App Program Manager, University of Notre Dame
  • Nikita Shamdasani, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Kyle Koser, University of Notre Dame
  • Zach Waterson, University of Notre Dame

This presentation showcases some of the work that has been done by students with the Kurogo platform.


  • Collaboration between 3 students and ITS at UNC
  • Student-driven intiative created through collaboration with ITS
  • Mobile app team has continued to work with Modo Labs for actual app dev, University departments and other campus stakeholders.

Step 1 – Gather Feedback

  • Student priorities listed in focus groups, a kind of “dream list”:  account services, news, maps, notifications, social media, sports, building info, student info and resources

Step 2 – Research other university apps

  • Developed sense of feasibility by using other apps for comparison:  Harvard, MIT, Ohio State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Princeton, Georgetown
  • I looked for partners, specifically a developer who could explain things in layman’s terms without being condescending, a designer and a project manager

Step 3 – Development of App

  • Student government special project
  • Independent project with Carolina Creates
  • Collaboration between CarolinaGO team and ITS

Our Choice to Use Kurogo

  • Free Android iPhone versions
  • Future development opportunities
  • Sustainable trajectory

Step 4 – App Release

  • Soft launch in October of 2014
  • Modules:  emergency alerts, calendar, dining, athletics, campus map, video, news, virtual pit


  • Maintaining consistency in app framework:  differences in backends among departments
  • Integrating student priorities:  having services like Sakai on app was important in focus groups, but do not always have capability to integrate
  • Expanding app while keeping UX simple:  expanding offerings important, but have to figure out best categorization for main page of app

Past Semester’s Tasks

  • Lots of collaboration with interested groups

Notre Dame Past, Present, Future

  • Missing 4 modules:  weather, webcams, OIT, lab finder
  • What to do?  Grab some students!
  • Told students:  focus 100% of your efforts on learning Kurogo, it’s all PHP (we don’t know PHP).  OK, learn PHP first, then learn Kurogo.
  • Worked with another student to develop Mobile Printing – student-coded, OIT-owned
  • Based on Print@CU (



  • Keep momentum going
  • Other needs, including & beyond Kurogo
  • Need to strike a balance between student dev and university needs
  • Governance!
  • Working on a strategy to connect departments needing development with students wanting to develop
  • Projects would be hosted in “civilian” AWS account that ND owns and provisions resources for
  • Participating departments agree that OIT is NOT responsible for issues
  • High-reward, low-risk modules
  • What happens when students leave?  Document, break work into scheduled segments (semesters/terms/etc.), don’t forget the high-reward/low-risk balance.
  • Departmental Publisher modules (commencement, admissions, etc.)
  • We build it and give it to the customer, or give them the keys from the start
  • Continued engagement & consulting to ensure info is accurate, timely and makes the best use of the template

We LOVE Open Source and Kurogo!

  • We’re open sourcing all student-developed Kurogo modules:  weather, webcams, transit (ride request & shuttle schedules), transit backend.
  • MIT license (do whatever you want with it)
  • Available via Modo Labs package channel



Kurogo Publisher Power!

Presenter:  Eric Kim, VP User Experience, Modo Labs, @huafi

What is Publisher?

  • Browser based page assembly tool
  • gives non-devs an easy fast way to assemble mobile-optimized content and nav
  • Power to publish instantly to multiple mobile platforms, including native iOS and Android apps without IT deployments or app-store re-submissions.

Publisher Templates

  • Newspaper:  navigation-centric, best for highly visual presentation of 3-6 primary plush optional 2-6 secondary nav items.  Layout for both portrait and landscape.
  • Big Idea:  nav-centric, works best for highly visual presentation of 1 primary call to action.
  • Card Navigation:  content as nav, mix curated and feed-based content, content in cards in various sizes, card can contain either curated content of image/text.  Can be highly designed / customized with lots of formatting options.
  • List Navigation:  nav-centric, highly visual for 4+ nav items, nav items shown in a vertical list.  Can do interesting layer effects with this template.
  • Spectra:  nav-centric, highly visual presentation of 4+ nav items, touch-appropriate design that not everyone likes.
  • Springboard:  nav-centric, space-efficient, 8+ nav items, shown in grid of images (often icons) with text labels, below hero section and/or text intro
  • Content:  meat-and-potatoes of most publisher module, text-based content, optional hero image, sidebar, and top or bottom-block.
  • Longform:  completely modular approach, build a page from any combo of content blocks, 11 content block types (hero, heading, text/HTML, pull quote, image, HD image, video, Twitter, FB, feature box, links block, many more coming – table, gallery, map, lead generation, carousel feeds, social, etc.), optional inset (“responsive margins”) = greater flexibility in layout and function.


  • Showed a site-within-a-site that contained pages with most every element available within each template.

You’ve Got the Power

  • Combine curated + dynamic content + navigation
  • Assemble app-type experiences
  • Delegate admin roles
  • Iterate quickly
  • Create timely destinations to keep users coming back
  • Experiment, prototype, combine
  • Have fun!



Marketing and Promotion of Your Campus Mobile App


  • Beth Pfefferle, Modo Labs
  • Morag Charlton, Modo Labs

Modules that Drive Traffic

  • Top 3:  courses/catalog, transit, registrar
  • Other popular modules:  admissions, alumni, campus ID cards, computer lab usage, NSO, parking, Student Rec, tours, webcams

Who’s the Customer?  Primarily current students.

Involve Users Early and Often

Monitor your Analytics:  downloads, sources, devices, time on app, etc.

Before Launch

Build anticipation:  get users to test and become advocates; make pre-announcements and generate press; create a mobile brand, make it fun with a logo design contest to get students involved.

Launch & Post-Launch Activities

  • Create consistent message across multiple channels
  • Recruit MarCom
  • Sustain momentum
  • Create a QR code for easy download
  • Email campaigns:  targeted announcements with direct links to download page, create a drip campaign over time
  • Create a landing page, post on student portal
  • Posters, banners, displays
  • Information cards
  • Print and digital advertising (shuttle bus, electronic info boards)
  • Live events, i.e. orientation, tours, etc.
  • Press releases, news articles
  • Social Media, wherever they congregate
  • Videos:  make it funny, creative and thought-provoking.  They don’t have to be expensive to create.  Use student videographers with blooper reel or do it yourself.
  • Mobile ambassadors:  train staff and volunteers, res life / orientation folk.
  • Timing:  target users early with new student information so using your app becomes routine.
  • Keep them coming back by adding special event modules!
  • Instantly add modules for any event or activity.
  • Involve student orgs:  academic advising/support, career advising, career fairs, campus recruiting, Greek Life, intl groups, student orgs & fairs, orientations for new students, tours, etc.
  • Push notifications provide drastically higher engagement and retention.  Examples:  weather alerts, emergency updates, event promotion, good luck on finals, etc.
  • Send push notifications to certain groups of users, like new students or alumni, using app Editions.
  • Announce new modules and app features, share onboarding info strategically after initial download.


Created a Commencement module with publisher

  • Module is already in the system
  • A list of templates is provided
  • Newspaper template has 2 sections:  hero and call-to-action
  • Added an image, link to map, plus location on the map
  • Published to production immediately – took all of 5 minutes
  • Messaging system can be used to notify users of new module availability – an additional 30 seconds




Future Roadmap


  • Marty Johnson, Georgetown University
  • Brett Bendickson, Application Architect, University of Arizona

Brett Bendickson

  • UA public land grant institution
  • Founded in 1885
  • 40,072 students
  • UA implementation forces selection of user role via additions.
  • Lots of students want to access university gmail account through the mobile app, NOT the built-in email client (this is an interesting observation, in my opinion).
  • Usage by module:  map, transit, people, catalog
  • Usage by user:  87,191 sessions (about 3,000/day), 21,302 users (about 760/day)
  • In 2013 there were 18,600 iOS downloads.  Downloads spike for us in January and during orientation.
  • Android downloads are at about 22,000 and show a similar download pattern
  • AZ Mobile 3.2 current (Modo Labs 2.2); native tablet support; added library module
  • AZ Mobile 3.3 (Modo 2.3); upgrade to 2.3; add rec center module that was developed internally.  This will work with the resources module.
  • Portal: focus is currently on desktop view, but also working on a mobile view.  We’re doing a lot of custom development within Modo Labs, consuming PeopleSoft web services.
  • We’re excited about the direct messaging to the device, i.e. “you just got an ‘A’ in History”

QUESTION:  What software are you using in the rec center to feed the resources module?

BRETT:  I don’t know, but can find out for you.

Marty Johnson

  • Georgetown
  • GUMobile (Modo Labs)
  • We love additions!  3 campuses, 7 editions
  • NextGUTS (DoubleMap).
  • GAAP Weekend
  • We use a welcome screen by default
  • Our biggest challenge is getting accurate data from facilities and dining services.
  • LiveSafe (safe ride)
  • Laundry Alert (Quantifize)
  • NSO / OWN-IT (DoubleDutch)
  • Experiments:  CampusQuad; Usher (MicroStrategy); Radius Networks
  • Usher:  is a mobile “go card” that does multi-factor authentication (picture and QR code).  It can also be used to log into other applications.  We are hoping to add door opening functionality in the near future.
  • Working with Radius Networks to help students and parents find the admissions office from the parking lot.
  • Core Tenets:  our users are distracted, focused activities (short, sweet, and spontaneous), low barrier to entry (gradual engagement), personalized (location and time aware), adaptable.
  • Looking forward:  we believe we will have a portfolio of apps (safety, transportation, specific events, academic tasks, auth/identification); framework versus dedicated apps; app promotion

Question:  have you used Kurogo in a kiosk mode?

Both:  no.

Question:  Marty, who is Georgetown piloting this with?

Marty:  new students.

Marty:  We can imagine using iBeacons in the dorms for providing updates, i.e. water is out, emergency shelter in place notifications, etc.


Strategy Track 2 – Defining Success

Defining Success Panel:

  • Ted Erickson, University of Alberta
  • Ann Malavet, New York University
  • Bill Sivret, Tufts University

Ann Malavet

  • Who are we here for?  Internal & external users
  • User’s expectations:  immediate access to data, custom data/location-based data, same offerings as web site, always evolving
  • SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based
  • What are our goals?  Real-time data to users that provide relevant info day-to-day, provide individualized content, authorized transactional activity, online and real-time comm between all university constituents (students, faculty and staff)
  • Data Planning:  Kurogo provides 99.9% of what we need, but our planning needs to identify what we actually need.  Accessed data needs to be consistent across the university; data owners need to be comfortable with the idea that their data will become much more readily, immediately, and widely available; unique identifiers need to be consistent so that data stores can be linked and made interoperable.
  • Some of our data providers were reticent to providing data to us, i.e. Aramark calorie counts
  • What are our priorities?  What will engage the users?  Can we efficiently achieve this with our resources?  What is our greatest need?  What can wait, what is needed now?
  • Gathering requirements:  money, time, resources
  • Strategy + Execution = Success
  • Tools for building & Maintaining:  your mobile app is fed by web services, modo labs, kurogo, and university staff
  • Strong Governance is required to make it work!  Ensure vested parties are engaged; major stakeholders who commit resources would ideally be part of a mobile steering committee; utilize existing web portal governance model

Bill Sivret

  • About 10,000
  • Tufts launched mobile app in 2011 (custom PHP app)
  • Launched Kurogo in 2013
  • We use Tableau (a Business Intelligence tool) to create dashboards and ad-hoc reports.  It’s connected to several data sources, including our data warehouse and Google Analytics
  • Demo of Tableau dashboard

Ted Erickson

  • 39,000 students, intensive research university in Canada
  • Goal:  to become one of the best examples of a post-secondary digital learning environment enabled by our web, mobile, social networks and IT systems capabilities.  1) Champion interdisciplinary knowledge sharing, 2) Empower student and staff innovation, 3) Commit to audience-centric design, 4) Build for the mobile, connected community
  • Digital Product and Service Catalogue:  business and strategy, performance and optimization, product management, web, mobile, digital learning
  • We do not use a cost-recovery model.
  • Use of the word “product” is not an accident.  We manage our products through the entire life cycle.
  • Digital Strategy – our group is apart from MarCom and IT.  Digital strategy is convergence of creativity, technology and media.  It transforms business and marketing strategy.
  • Success Metrics:  web, mobile, learning
  • The future

QUESTION for Bill:  what data sources are you using besides GA within Tableau for your dashboards?  Do you use Tableau for real-time data analysis?  Did you consider any other tools besides Tableau like

Bill:  at this time, we only use GA, and it does do real-time analysis.  We did not consider any additional tools because we were already using it for our data warehouse.


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