Engaging Other Campus Stakeholders to Build a Whole Campus App


  • Matt Willmore, University of Notre Dame

Mobile is not just for IT anymore. Hear how schools are engaging other departments in mobile app development.

This is a very nuanced and more drawn-out process.  Outreach to stakeholders is different on every campus, and I’d like to hear from you as well, so I’m hoping this is a more interactive presentation.

Notre Dame’s Challenges

  • Each module contains info from a diff part of campus
  • Lack of funding for paid additions (Publisher, Indoor Maps, etc.)
  • Departments decide they need their own app
  • Our CIO pays for “core functionality,” and other departments pay for the things that they want.

A Couple Other Challenges

Some people want to be in the app, but they don’t provide good content or even simply mobile-friendly content.

Vendors of bespoke apps (i.e. GuideBook) often reach out to everyone else on campus, and you’re unaware of the app until after ink is dry on their contracts.


  • Address campus needs with a standard platform
  • Save the university money
  • Increase the app’s ROI
  • Improve the user’s experience


  1. Engage departments that are interested in building an app or being in the app.  Redirect some to MarCom to build a more responsive web site; make determination if they fit in the app, and where
  2. Discuss the balance between their interest in the app, and that of their users.
  3. Secure funding for the module
  4. Construct a content map together
  5. Build a skeleton structure module
  6. Train the department on how to build and maintain the content
  7. Launch and promote the module

Outcomes at Notre Dame

  • Every module has a campus partner
  • Over $100,000 saved by partnering in the app in under two years
  • Our partners now advertise the app for us
  • Went from pushing departments to participate, to departments pushing us to add functionality
  • Built a community of Publisher champions


  • Focus on how departments can better serve their users
  • Don’t try to replicate the org structure in modules – users don’t care, and departments with related content can share costs
  • Talk to your students, faculty and staff – what do they want in a module?  How can we make their day easier?

New Community Resources

  • Google Group:
  • Monthly Call 1st Wednesday @2PM Eastern

Partitioning Your App: Multi-Role/Multi-Location Apps


  • Emil Morrow, Georgetown University
  • Melissa Harts, Pasco-Hernando State College
  • John Ayers, Pepperdine University

Partition your app to create unique, personalized experiences for different users and different campus locations.

Melissa Harts, Pasco-Hernando

  • Pasco-Hernando is on the West Cost of FL
  • We have five different locations, all within about 30 minutes of each other
  • We have over 16,000 students
  • We are now a STATE college, not just a community college
  • We’ve experienced massive growth, and our app has helped us manage that.
  • Initially, we just wanted to HAVE a mobile app.  I came from the K12 sector, and I had no idea how to build one!
  • Thankfully we had Modo Labs, which offered a package that met our needs.

Persona Strategy

  • INITIAL:  most stuck with the default persona…about 85%; students were the ones who chose that.
  • AFTER:  we really wanted personas to meet those folks we were targeting.  We worked with each area to build out the materials in that persona (alumni, student development, etc.)
  • FUTURE PLANS:  authentication (persona vs modules), personalized content, distinct landing pages, push notifications (sparingly), blogs/newsletters, student contests, community partnerships, student clubs (i.e. Mobius Literary magazine), we’re going also ask our students what they want.
  • What makes our personas distinct?  Other apps (i.e. Canvas); other devices for information.

John Ayers, Pepperdine

  • It’s tough to follow a student panel!  What we’re trying to do is serve up the right content at the right time to the right people.
  • We’re located in Malibu, have satellite programs, about 8,400.
  • Mobile roadmap:  mobile-friendly web sites; unified mobile app (UMA – Unified Mobile App), and specialized native/web apps
  • We’re championing a “one university” strategy.
  • The UMA provides everything in the same box.
  • We looked at role-based and school-based personas
  • School-based content is specific or dynamic based on what’s going on at the time
  • Alumni experience:  we have about 20-30 screens that a student worker put together for us via the Kurogo app.
  • We’re thinking about an admissions experience as well for our Undergraduate team.
  • Shared a school-based personas graph.

Emil Morrow, Georgetown

  • Deeper, richer experience > More Utility > Greater Satisfaction
  • Practicality:  GU is a complex org; main campus, law, continuing studies, Qatar
  • Context:  multiple types of end-users; INITIALLY:  welcome, current students, new students, alumni; NOW:  student and staff, new student, alumni; FUTURE:  investigating by school and department
  • We chose to merge some of our personas.  INITIAL:  New students and alumni; CURRENT:  current students (retired this one), students, faculty and staff, Prospective students (GAAP).
  • We have a part-time designer who helps us build icons and such.
  • FUTURE:  still TBD.  We’re trying to understand the end user.  Tasks versus information, spread across stakeholders of students & staff, new students, prospective students, alumni.
  • We’ve been pretty successful with our push notifications because of the partitioning.  When the Pope was in town, we were able to send a note out to JUST the prospective students, which was really great.


  • Do you find good uptake among prospective students?  EMIL:  we’re not using the app to sell the school.  We use it during the GAAP weekend.  JOHN:  on recruitment side, if someone comes into our app, they’re going to end up at a mobile responsive web look.  MELISSA:  we’re just targeting students to see what they’re looking at.  We’re using it to market to them.
  • What’s the difference between locations and personas?  EMIL:  we follow the app convention, basing it on the location the user is at, then you pick a persona.  JOHN:  we landed at a “school-based” persona.  Our business school doesn’t necessarily sync up as nicely because we have spread-out locations.  MELISSA:  we started out as location-based, but ended up with personas.  ANDREW:  with location, you can geo-fence locations.
  • Is there a way to automatically select a persona for a user?   ANDREW:  most schools do manual selection, but if you have a system that can provide user attributes, you can drive users toward a particular persona.  EMIL:  only one of our campuses (the main one) uses multiple personas.  With GAAP, we do provide instructions for selecting this persona.  JOHN:  we initially used a “lead capture” process when people initially downloaded the app.  MELISSA:  our users self-select.



What’s the Word on the Street: Student Panel


  • Katie Lightcap, Pacific University
  • Diana Dayal, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kyle Shaver, California State University, Northridge
  • Kevin Moore, California State University, Northridge

We’ll get the inside scoop straight from students themselves about how they are using technology and how we can create engaging experiences that truly connect.

Can students comment on this morning’s presentation about the generations?

  • Katie:  we launched our app in January 2016, so it’s all still very new.  We have a very active YikYak community.
  • Diana:  YikYak & SnapChat integrate well with location-based services.  Everywhere I go, there’s a filtered feed based on where I am.  We have a safety network.
  • Kyle:  Yik Yak is entirely anonymous.  We used to go to YouTube, but now a lot of us use Vine for consuming fun content.
  • Kevin:  I like Reddit because anyone can post anything they want and the community votes up what they like the most.  I think this would be very powerful in a university environment.

What about Privacy?

  • Katie:  at pacific, privacy is a big deal, that’s why YikYak seems to be so popular.  Apps that help plan your day are growing in popularity as well.
  • Diana:  at UNC people don’t seem to be quite as interested in their privacy.  IE it would be great to integrate my schedule with Google Maps to help me get from place to place.
  • Kyle:  our generation is willing to give up a lot of personal information depending on the payoff.  We like to feel in control of what information we give out.
  • Kevin:  I agree with Kyle.  I like Google Now because it gives me recommendations for example you need to leave now to get to work on time.  However, we do see a strong split between some of our contemporaries regarding privacy.
  • Diana:  we do like the ability to opt-out.

How Do You Get Information / Notifications?

  • Katie:  email is definitely not dead for me.  I’m a fan of push notifications; great to be able to turn them on/off.  Freshman are typically less on email and more on push notifications.
  • Diana:  email is not dead for me, either.  However, mass emails are!  Mass emails are better formatted for SoMe channels.  Each university has a SnapChat area / filter.
  • Kyle:  everyone has their preferences; I rarely use FB.  We’re opposed to seeing the same thing multiple times.  Text messages work, but catch my interest in the first four words or you’ve lost me.  Humor helps.
  • Kevin:  email is not dead.  Email used to feel personal, but it feels like a different medium now.  Text messages / push notifications feel a lot more personal now, but I think they’re going toward a more impersonal form of communication.

What are some of the things that could make apps more engaging?

  • Katie:  we’re still exploring what we need to incorporate.
  • Diana:  a lot of requests are map integration-related, i.e. bathrooms, printing locations, etc.
  • Kyle:  do this / get this incentives worked well for us when I was in Associated Students.
  • Kevin:  how do you keep your population on your app?  A lot of things we have are one- or two-time use.  One idea I have as an Android user is an app that can give an incentive based on usage, i.e. answering questions.

Can You Talk a Bit About Wearables?

  • Kyle:  I don’t know how much I’d use it.  It’s good for contextual awareness, and at-a-glance info.
  • Diana:  I wouldn’t focus on it – I bring my phone everywhere.  Student IDs via your campus app would be great.   Swiping for events like ApplePay would be really awesome.

Should Schools Offer Purchase Programs for the Latest Devices?

  • Kevin:  I like to buy the latest and greatest – especially Google Nexus devices – but I’m not like everyone else.  I know lots of people who don’t get my obsession.
  • Diana:  many students buy their laptops/iPads through the campus bookstore.
  • Kyle:  I sold phones at Best Buy for a couple years.
  • Katie:  I didn’t get a new phone until mine broke.  I think there’s more benefit over a tablet or notebook purchase program.

What’s the Right Way of Engaging with Students?

  • Katie:  athletics are big at Pacific.  We use a lot of digital signage as well, and that’s effective for us.
  • Diana:  have things that are only accessible via the app.  Our orientation and First Year Experience are very effective for this.
  • Kyle:  hit them where they live:  if they’re on YikYak, do something there.  If they’re on SnapChat, do something there.  Raffles and prizes help.  iOS or Android, btw:  it really doesn’t matter.
  • Kevin:  as a developer, I’d love to see if the university had a set of APIs I could play with.

When do you use the App Versus the Browser?

  • Katie:  whatever I have on me at the time.  If I’m on a browser, I’ll just open a new tab.
  • Diana:  whatever’s fastest.  If the app targets for example, eateries, I’m likely to use that.
  • Kyle:  people are creatures of habit.  If I’m used to doing things on my laptop, that’s what I do.  If it’s easier on my phone, I’ll do it there.
  • Kevin:  in a perfect world, I want the information I need to find it’s way to me.

What did You Think of Morley’s Presentation?

  • Katie:  Harry Potter was my bible, but I definitely agree that my generation is enthusiastic, progressive and open to change.
  • Diana:  I’d say it was spot-on.  We’re very interested in getting involved, so I’d suggest that you get students involved in your mobile apps!
  • Kyle:  also loved Harry Potter.  I felt Morley’s presentation was a little “exposing.”  Put a word on a board in a room and watch a group of us talk!
  • Kevin:  saw the movies, have not read the books 🙂  I thought his comments were spot-on.  Also, you need to watch Silicon Valley.  YouTuber named VSauce has a great intergenerational commentary video.




Millenials and Plurals: Engaging a New Generation of Students


  • Morley Winograd, USC Fellow and Author

If you thought you had the Millennials figured out, now here come the Plurals. Morley Winograd, acclaimed author of Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America, will share his insights about millennials and help us get ready for the next generation, the Plurals.

Generational Differences are Just as Great as National Cultural Differences, but Rarely Perceived

A series of videos was presented that tested our awareness.  The idea is that we miss things that are happening right in front of us.

Defining a Generation

  • A group of people in a roughly 20 year span that share a common location in history, with common beliefs & behaviors, and perceived membership in a common generation
  • Why do they have these commonalities?  Changes in child-rearing approaches (i.e.”When I have kids, I’m not going to raise them the way I was raised”); events experienced during maturation (coming to make independent decisions about how the world works – luck; hard work; luck & hard work;); changes in communication technologies (i.e boomers and TV).  Creates an 80+ year cycle of four distinct archetypes:  Civic (millennials), Adaptive (silents), Idealist (boomers – believe strongly in a particular set of values), Reactive (GenX).
  • GenX’ers are a  Reactive generation:  against what came before and reject almost all of it; unprotected, criticized children; cynical, anti-institutional young people; entrepreneurial risk-takers in mid-life; communication technology is cable tv.  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off famously portrayed their rejection, “I have to take a stand.”  GenX lived in a very hostile environment.
  • Millennials are a Civic generation:  they’re optimistic and like to work as a team.  Their communication technology?  The Internet and Social Media.  Has a female-dominated narrative.  Kids are the center of the universe in this generation.  Increasing:  media options, shared attention, consensus, customization; Decreasing:  gender gap, network TV, living on their own, risk taking.  They very much want to change the world together.  Risk must taken via the group…don’t assign projects with lots of individual risk.
  • Adaptive:  First majority/minority US generation; enthusiastically diverse, will smooth over differences, communication tech is  mobile.
  • GenX parenting style is beginning to show in the plural mindset:  Time for True Grit (ability to move forward despite obstacles).  Qualities plural’s parents think are important for young people to develop:  less dependable/respective, more creative / independent.
  • What do plurals think about college?  80% want college education to be integrated with practical experience.  72% want flexibility to create their own college experience.  Colleges have to become learning experiences.  Faculty will help co-design and co-instruct.  Mastery will be demonstrated through visual communication and simulation.
  • What do teens think about technology?  61% know a victim of cyberbullying; 52% play video games at least one hour per day.  38% make most of their purchases online.  15% prefer to interact with friends using SoMe.
  • Smartphone is the primary Internet access device.  It’s an appendage that almost never leaves their person.
  • New Generation’s SoMe is mobile and visual.  SoMe platforms are changing as a result.  SnapChat has an edge over Instagram because it’s impermanent.
  • Learning by listening to learning by doing.




Crowdsourcing: How to Make Students Part of the Mobile Solution


  • Matt Willmore, University of Notre Dame
  • Greg Mena, Cal State Northridge
  • Deone Zell, Cal State Northridge

Crowdsourcing Your Content

  • Think of both tech and non-tech ways members of the campus community can contribute
  • Think in terms of ownership:  we want the entire community to feel like it’s their app, not just an app for where they work/learn
  • If they own it, they will use it and provide lots of feedback

VisitND Challenge

  • Stewart told me:  “You should have a student tour contest!”
  • Partnered with EVP, SAP (vendor) and Modo Labs, plus $4,500 in prizes lined up.
  • Built student interest with a ladder of engagement:  get people excited.
  • Each team had to go through a mandatory 1-hour meeting (over dinner with pizza) to hand out credentials and walk them through Publisher, adding videos, where to check out cameras, how to use NC photo collections, etc.
  • Teams had 30 days to build their tour
  • Judging committee chose the top six, which went into the ND mobile app
  • Collected public feedback and committee ranked the top 6
  • Two biology majors won the event!

Crowdsourcing Your Content

  • Think about how the campus community can be involved in the app building process
  • Liberally borrow other schools’ (and apps’) ideas
  • Find opportunities to solve “information pain points” on campus with your app

CSUN – Story of AppJam

  • Desire for instructional apps on campus
  • App Dev too expensive to outsource
  • Valuable skill for students to learn
  • Potential jobs await!

AppJam 2015

  • Based our event off UC Irvine’s event
  • Team challenge:  3+ members, cross-disciplinary
  • Two categories: student life, student finances
  • Open to all students
  • 3 milestones:  idea, wireframe/storyboard, video
  • Showcase Event

Sample App Projects

  • Book reselling
  • Carpooling
  • Campus Restaurant Rewards CArds
  • Tutor Finding App
  • Social Networking

Curriculum Apps

  • We hired three of the students who participated in the AppJam2015 to help with app development
  • Instructional designer works with the professor to determine what the student learning outcomes are, and from that determine what the outcomes for the application are.
  • Tree of Life:  app that helps bio students learn evolutionary trees
  • Elite Gene Team:  a difficult quiz app that teaches Mendelian Genetics
  • Nematode Classification:  an app that helps students identify nematodes under a microscope; there’s a companion faculty app that allows professors to view quiz answers.

AppJam 2016

  • One main category:  solve a problem on campus or the community
  • This year, we have a “popular vote” sponsored by the Associated Students (hearts)
  • Scaling app development by surfacing talent from:   faculty, students, the campus, the voting public


  • What’s your code maintenance strategy?  We use BitBucket
  • What about licensing of IP?  Form of credit and form of revenue depends on the case.  So far, no faculty have stepped up to claim ownership of their app.
  • Are these all written in Swift?  Yes.
  • Did you consider security?  No, the apps were judged on innovation, relevance, market potential, user experience