Faster Outreach to Students, Through a Mobile App

The creators of a new mobile application are aiming to improve colleges’ engagement with students, using pop-up messages to survey students and aggregate data in real time.

The app, Student Engauge, is part of a larger trend toward mobile outreach, as colleges seek ways to engage with students who often don’t respond to e-mails or online pestering, says Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The app follows in the path of mobile warning messages that many colleges have adopted to alert students of campus emergencies.

Once downloaded on a mobile device, Student Engauge syncs to a student directory, allowing students to authorize their accounts using their existing credentials. The college can then send out questions or alerts based on those data—for example, asking a student whether he or she liked a professor, or asking a specific group of students if they found a counseling session to be helpful.

The app “taps into the one device students absolutely never put down, and that’s their cellphone,” says Nate Frechette, a recent graduate of Le Moyne College, who started the service with Aidan Cunniffe, a rising sophomore at Syracuse University.

While Student Engauge is the first app Mr. Reich has heard of that reaches out to students via their phones, he believes it fits into a broader effort in higher education to collect data about students’ experiences to improve college offerings through strategies such as online and in-class surveys. <Read more.>

Via Sara Grossman, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.