Student communication is often decentralized on many campuses. Each department plans and manages their own programming and is responsible for communicating this programming to all students via email. This scattered communication often leads to students missing out of key information about events, programs and campus resources. Students who would have participated in these programs are unable to because they simply “missed the email”.
Mobile platforms provide us a unique opportunity to address these communication issues on campus. Today’s generation is a mobile-first generation who look to their mobile devices for all of their day to day communications. Institutions can use this reliance on mobile to maximize their messaging to students by supplementing their email outreach with a mobile communication strategy. Push notifications are an effective tool to promote events and programs, and to inform students of changes and important dates. The Trent Central Student’s Association (located at Trent University in Ontario, Canada) use push notifications on their campus platform to communicate important information to their 7000+ members. At Trent, we feel that it is very important to maintain a clear line of communication with students about services that are crucial to [them] and directly affect their post-secondary experience. We have found that using push notifications are an efficient method of reaching students with important updates and news items, such as health benefit information, transit route changes, and campus security notifications. Push notifications are beneficial to our student union as they present a sense of urgency while remaining professional and separate from all other fee.
-Christine Liu, TCSA Communications Coordinator
In the event of an emergency, speed is essential and information needs to be relayed to students quickly and concisely. When the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana needed to send important information regarding a possible active shooter on campus, they used the Emergency Push Notifications feature on their mobile platform to reach their students. While this was thankfully a false alarm, the students were able to receive the information they needed within 2 minutes of the notification being sent out, significantly less time than it took for other on-campus systems. The Argo Life app emergency notification is quicker and more reliable than the notification app we currently have.
-Ross Murphy, Chief of Security
Campus apps can also be used to communicate vital information during extended times of crises. After Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma hit the southern USA, a number of institutions needed to inform their students about emergency and support services, and donation and volunteering opportunities. They did this by creating featured tiles that contained all the relevant information on their campus apps. Students knew exactly where to get this information and were able to access it from their mobile devices whenever they needed.
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