The Sustainable Campus App Strategy

How NC State created a campus-wide app that meets the needs of students and staff

Starting with new students

Mobile apps originally made their debut on the North Carolina State University campus when Cameron Hill, Associate Director of New Student Programs, introduced a mobile guide for Wolfpack Welcome Week as a new way to get students interacting with a large, diverse schedule. She says, “Guidebook was a great solution because it helped students customize their own schedule, get connected to other offices on campus, and connect to each other through social media and photos. Right away it felt like the right fit.”

Three years later, NC State boasts its own mobile app with more than 34 separate mobile guides inside. With uses ranging from a New Student Orientation guide to a guide for the campus recreation center, campus units now have a place to quickly publish information in a mobile format, and students are connecting with information in innovative and unexpected ways. (Read how New Student Programs is a great place to start with Guidebook.)

Doing away with custom development

Leslie Dare, IT Director of Student and Academic Affairs, found that a solution like GuidebookEDU freed her from the pressure of needing to develop and maintain a custom campus app. “There were a number of departments coming along saying, ‘We want to build an app,’ but we don’t have the resources to build apps.” After looking to Cameron’s use of Guidebook for Welcome Week and New Student Orientation, it seemed as though she had found a strong alternative. “The more we talked about it, the more we realized that everything we needed to do could be found in Guidebook. And, not only that, we wouldn’t have to do any development.”

Asa result, the NC State app acts as a portal where users can access guides for practically every aspect of student life. Prospective students first encounter the NC State app when they attend University Open House. From there, guides welcome them to New Student Orientation and Wolfpack Welcome Week. Having been primed to seek important campus information within the app, students also find guides that are of use throughout their academic careers – Campus Recreation, Greek Life, Academic Advising, the Career Development Center, Parent and Families Weekend. As students prepare to graduate they’ll be helped along by a Career Fair guide, and, as they return as alumni, they’ll find a Homecoming guide as well

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Additional advantages

“I think our hope for Guidebook is that students will be pointed to a particular guide and through that they’ll discover other guides that maybe they didn’t expect to encounter, but that will open their eyes to the other experiences that are available to them,” says Leslie. In a sense, the NC State app has become just as much about discovery as it is a tool for searching out a specific piece of information.

Leslie also found the administration of the app doesn’t come with an inordinate amount of work or a need for technical know-how. “I imagine that it’s not going to be long before some of my colleagues who work in other institutions, folks who are maybe a little tech savvy, but not responsible for technology, who are interested in Guidebook and are trying to figure out if they can do it. I have found that the management of Guidebook for our campus doesn’t really require a lot of technology skill, it just requires some good organization skills and the ability to partner with other people on campus.”

A technology partner

GuidebookEDU is allowing hundreds of campuses the freedom to easily deploy mobile apps and guides for countless uses. And, best of all, Guidebook has taken the time to listen to the needs of higher ed institutions. Leslie says, “I feel like Guidebook understands what we’re trying to accomplish. I’ve never had a request unanswered practically the same day in almost every case. They’re very responsive and they care a lot about making sure that we get what we need.”

You can check out NC State’s app and it’s wealth of guides by downloading it yourself.

Start building a guide for your campus unit today with the incredibly easy-to-use Guidebook Builder.

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