Student Mobile Takeover: Announcing the Winners of the Great Mobile Appathon


  • Mark Albert, Director, University Web & Identity Services, The George Washington University
  • Andrew Yu, Founder and CTO, Modo Labs, Inc.
  • Matthew Willmore, mobileND Program Manager, University of Notre Dame

Goal was to get the tools for managing web apps into the hands of non-technical people at universities, so that they could make amazing apps themselves.

Schools participating in this event iteration included:

  • George Washington
  • Harvard
  • Florida State University
  • Notre Dame
  • Arizona State University


  • 14 teams, 56 students competing in total
  • Students and university benefited from this competition
  • We like the fact that through this competition, we can see exactly what student want
  • Students enjoyed the experience
  • “NutitioNOLE” was the winner at FSU
  • Eat, move learn

George Washington

  • Great way to raise awareness of the platform
  • Better understand how students wish to use their mobile devices
  • Better understand the gap between the app and student needs
  • To get the word out, we did posters, postcards, email blast, reminders to students in class
  • 80+ students; 12 teams competed
  • Outstanding ideas from our students
  • Modo’s support was great
  • 2nd place: parking app
  • 1st place: Gworld – campus ID card: dining/retail, printing, load $$, places to study


  • Fun and competitive environment to find out what our students want
  • Marketed via web site, My ASU banner ads, email
  • 10 teams, great wide-ranging ideas
  • Of our judges, each had a different winner
  • 2nd place: travel on campus
  • 1st place: ASUFit – targets fitness culture and social engagement


  • Driven by student interest; strong culture of hackathons; event that allowed non-programmers to participate
  • Marketed via Student IT interest groups, student houses, SoMe, school CIOs
  • Intense, collaborative, inspiring
  • 2nd place: dining app that includes nutritional information so students can choose the correct
  • 1st place: bliss, a resource for maintaining mental health

Notre Dame

  • Always seeking opportunities to engage students in real-world development and design
  • Equal interest in students with and without technical chops
  • First opportunity for us to see how well students could use Publisher
  • Proved to us that we can use students more to manage our mobile app material
  • Marketed via: campus flyers, table tents, email, banner and home screen icon, co-promotion with other like events
  • 7 teams
  • 2nd place: Rate My Plate – allows students to provide feedback about dining services.
  • 1st place: Mary’s View – highly visual way to find events of interest around campus; incorporates maps so students can find events near their location.

Judges & Judging Criteria

  • Chris Barrows, NYU
  • Jenny Gluck, Syracuse
  • Julia Zaga, Uber
  • Santhana Naidu, Indiana State
  • Sarah Hoch, GE Power
  • Eric Kim, Modo Labs
  • Judging Criteria: address challenge of improving campus life; creativity and innovation; design/user experience; completeness

Harvard’s “Bliss” App is the winner!



Developing a Mobile App to Track Student Engagement in High-Impact Practices


  • Amir Dabirian, VP for IT-CIO, CSU Fullerton
  • Matthew Badal, Administrative Analyst, CSU Fullerton
  • Su Swarat, Director of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness, CSU Fullerton

What are HIPs?

  • Occur when students are actively engaged in the learning process
  • Students involved in HIPs report greater gains in learning in personal dev
  • Underrepresented students affected positively the most

Common HIPs

  • First year seminars
  • Common intellectual experiences
  • Learning communities
  • Writing intensive courses
  • Internships
  • Etc.

CSUF Strategic Plan

Presidential goal is to increase student persistence, increase grad rates, and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students.

  • Get 75% of all students involved in at least TWO HIPs.
  • Broaden access to HIPs
  • Curricular (course based) and co-curricular (activity) based programs

CSUF Definition

  • Transformational
  • Significant student engagement
  • Experiential learning
  • Etc. (the list is long)

Institutionalize HIPs through a Data-Driven Approach

  • We don’t want to call something HIP unless it actually IS a HIP
  • We triangulate each course/program through a set of criteria to ensure HIP quality
  • Over 4,000 students now in designated HIPs

HIPs Technology Tracking

  • Technology, Tools, Data Collection
  • LMS has HIPs Templates
  • Peoplesoft Tracking & Designation (transcript)

We started it all through a survey, and as a result of this, we decided to accomplish this via a mobile app, but .

We harness the power of our existing app…why? Because it has a killer app built in that students go back to again and again – PARKING.

Data Collection Technology Tools Attendance

  • iBeacon deployed in all classrooms
  • All our HIPs use this feature to ensure participation

How Does the App Work?

  • Shake phone to register attendance
  • For each course, we provide HIP activity items for students to record their participation in each.
  • Real-time integration to LMS; the LMS provides the ability for professors to drill-down and view student attendance and participation.
  • It’s still a work in progress. Faculty orientations are continuous, and we also help students learn how to use the app. App changes: addition of activity tracking for more customization; multiple hour tracking feature

Humans Make the App Work

Sample timeline in a semester:

  • Pre-semester: app improvement, faculty training
  • Weeks 1-2: in-class student training
  • Weeks 8-10: mid-semester check-in, ongoing tech support, initial data collection
  • Weeks 14-16: post survey administration, heavy data collection, final tech support

Data Analysis & Assessment

There were a lot of graphs in this portion of the session, so my notes are a bit thin here.

  • Most of the gains were attributable to our female students
  • Self reported learning gains were almost universal
  • The more feedback received, the more improvement seen
  • Data identified colleges where student involvement was higher or lower than expected; this has affected pedagogical practices
Education Technology

The 2016 MMWCon Mega Post

Hey friends,

Once again, it’s time for another one of my conference “mega posts,” this time from the 2016 UCLA Mobile & Modern Web Conference. This mega post links to the notes I took from almost every session I attended, and proves that I was here and learned something. Some of this will be more useful than others…I drifted at times. There was some great work on display at this conference; I always meet awesome people and take away at least a couple gems that I didn’t know going in. As always, any mistakes, omissions or just plain crappy coverage are totally mine. Who knows, I may have even gotten something right 😉 Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14

Thursday, October 15

Friday, October 16



The Good, the Watch and the Ugly: Thinking about coding for the watch platforms

Presenter: Alfonso Roman

I’ve played with a lot of the watches.

Bootstrap Apps

  • They don’t work on their own
  • Companion apps handle communication with your smart phone
  • Cloud based account to use core functionality (i.e. messaging)


  • Each has it’s own design & interaction language
  • Rely heavily on touch, gestures, and voice
  • Different interaction affordances
  • Android Wear defines notion of a context stream that uses vertical swipes to view items vying for your attention


  • Each requires their own SDK
  • SDKs provide hooks into OS features (Apple Health, Google Fit)
  • Pebble SDK provides limited bridge to iOS and Android apps
  • Fitbit SDK is a RESTful API; not possible to talk directly to the Fitbit device, all communication must happen through the cloud after the Fitbit has synced data with its servers. Can sometimes get stale data based on sync schedule.


  • Battery life (Pebble & Fitbit are great)
  • Native vs Web API
  • Cost
  • Dev platform
  • Integration with other frameworks


  • Apple watch implies native iOS app
  • Android watch implies Android Phone
  • FitBit is web only
  • Pebble: just plain ugly (C++ only)
  • Companion apps: devices are useless without them

Sugar Streak: Seeking the holy grail of behavior modification and patient motivation

Presenter: David Ahn, UCLA Endocrinology @AnhCall

My clinical career and the iPhone were very intertwined, and I’ve been very interested in the use of mobile technology in medicine.

Medicine versus Business

  • They’re very different; polar opposites in many ways (both have their pros and cons).
  • Business-led ideas in medical hardware are often not what they’re promised to be (over promise & under deliver), i.e. Scanadu, Theranos: Hubris in disruption.
  • Medicine-led ideas: clinical utility over the user experience (“everything but the sink” approach), no clear business model: hubris in being a domain expert.

Achilles Heel of Digital Health: Engagement

  • Poor user engagement
  • Preaching to the choir
  • What happens after 30 days?
  • Do they actually lead to behavior change
  • Passive measurement alone is not the solution

How Do We Engage & Motivate Users?

  • Habit-forming psychology
  • Variable rewards, i.e. slot machines
  • Loss of reward > Hope of earning reward; expiring offers

Apps that Do a Good Job with Engagement

  • GymPact: “get paid to work out,” commitment-based, negative & positive reinforcement, effort-dependent, not result-dependent
  • Prevent by Omada Health: 16 week online course structured around the DPP (I think this one is based on solid medial principles); health coach via phone, text, private message; social motivation (teamed with 12-18 random people); technology tools provided include a wireless scale and pedometer.

Hipster / Hacker / Hustler

  • UX, Engineer/dev, marketing/business
  • In health startups you also need the healer!


  • 29.1 million in US have it
  • Hundreds of millions are spent on it
  • Managing it: monitoring glucose, diet, physical activity, exercise

Blood Sugar

  • “What gets measured gets managed”
  • Regularly checking sugar is proven to help improve diabetes control
  • Traditional: use glucose logbooks (a vital tool)
  • Every device has it’s own proprietary plug/cable

Patient’s Perspective

  • Information overload
  • I don’t want to feel bad
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inconvenience
  • I don’t gain anything from it
  • Insurance restrictions

How to Change Perspective?

  • Scare tactics
  • Education
  • Gamification
  • Rewards/Incentives
  • Punishments
  • Social pressure

What Works for Me

  • “Pact App for Diabetes?
  • Commitment based
  • Negative and positive reinforcement
  • Effort-dependent, not result-dependent

Streak-Based System

This approach helps to build a healthy habit

  1. Commit
  2. Build streaks
  3. Learn and earn

Trends and habits are reflected via graphs



App has been successful so far!

v1.8 New for “Code for the Mission”

  • Dashboard for viewing/sharing glucose reports
  • Viewable on an y mobile or desktop browser
  • Notes field

How are we doing on User Engagement?

  • 10% log in every day
  • Longest user streak: 164 days
  • Thousands of users have logged 50k sugar readings

David then gave a demo of the app

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