DubLabs Reports that 93% of Student Campus Mobile App Usage Focused on Two Needs

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Based on campus mobile app use from over 1 million students, it is clear that they are less interested in campus life activities, that today dominate most schools’ campus apps.

BSU Mobile is a collaboration between IT, students and Student Affairs. We know it helps students stay engaged with the university and with their academic efforts.

DubLabs LLC, the leading provider of integrated campus mobile applications, today released usage data from campus mobile apps used by students at more than 150 colleges and universities, showing that students overwhelmingly use their app to:

1. Track academics
2. View important school communications

The data corroborates the findings of a recent survey of students at more than 300 higher education institutions. In the survey, students identified “keeping track of academics” and “communication” – both through personalized notifications and directly with their professors – as the most important capabilities in a campus mobile app.

The usage data from DubLabs campus apps, gathered from the fall 2017 semester, is a valuable source of information on how students actually use campus apps to interact with schools.

In addition to overall use patterns, the data also identifies which specific features within the app students are using, providing important insights into the kinds of information and assistance they value.

93% of App Activity Focused on Academics and Communication

The overwhelming majority of app use by students involve academics and communications between schools and students – the same capabilities students said were most important to them in the national survey. The DubLabs data, drawn from actual student behavior, provides important confirmation for that campus apps should focus on these capabilities.

The detailed breakdown of student app activities in fall 2017:

  • 58% of student activities are interactions with information about academics, such as courses, assignments, discussions and grades from the schools’ SIS and LMS;
  • 28% of activities involve students checking personalized, SIS and LMS integrated notifications;
  • 7% of student activities take place in their personalized dashboard, which displays academic information, notifications and other student-chosen information
  • The remaining 7% of app activities includes campus life features such as News, Events, Maps, Social, Athletics, Dining and more.

These statistics mirror the survey data and feedback, confirming students are far less interested in campus life features within a university app and far more interested in academics content and campus communications capabilities.

95% of Students Using the App Monthly

At Bridgewater State University, a public liberal arts school in Massachusetts, 95% of the school’s 11,500 students use BSU Mobile an average of 20 times a month. The most frequent activities for students involve the app’s Courses capabilities (class information, assignments, grades and discussions), accounting for 55% of usage. Another 30% of usage is accounted for by personalized notifications, primarily about academics and important administrative matters.

Bridgewater’s Chief Information Officer, Ray Lefebvre, notes the successful app is the result of a group effort, and sums up its value for the school and its students. “BSU Mobile is a collaboration between IT, students and Student Affairs. We know it helps students stay engaged with the university and with their academic efforts.”

Better Communication Drives Engagement

Usage data from The University of Texas at San Antonio provides a closer look at how educators are making use of personalized notifications in their campus apps. This large, urban-serving public university uses personalized notifications effectively to help students stay on top of academic requirements.

During the fall semester, UTSA students performed more than 3.1 million activities on UTSA Mobile and received roughly 947,000 personalized notifications. Of these, 41% related to course discussions, 21% concerned course announcements, 15% dealt with assignments, and 23% involved grades.

Overall Year-over Year Growth in App Use

By all measures, students are substantially more engaged with their campus mobile apps than they were a year ago. Student use of campus apps is up significantly from fall 2016:

  • 65% more students (measured by unique visitors) used their campus app in an average month;
  • These students performed 73% more activities in their app, showing that campus apps not only attracted more students, but helped each student accomplish more during their app use.

192% Increase in Push Notifications:

Of all campus app features, push notifications saw the biggest year-over-year growth. More schools are using integrated, automated push notifications through the campus app to improve communications with students. These personalized notifications update students about academic matters such as courses, discussions, assignments and grades, along with important administrative communications such as account holds, billing and financial aid deadlines and more.

Simplifying Apps to Create a Better Experience

The DubLabs usage statistics from the fall 2017 semester show students really want a more streamlined mobile app experience to meet their academic and communication needs, while placing less emphasis on campus life activities.

These student needs are also in-line with most institutions’ goals for improving student engagement and success. Staying on top of coursework and connected through effective campus communication should have a greater impact on student success than most campus life features.

“The clear message to schools who want to provide a mobile solution to improve student engagement is to focus on academic information and communications. These are the areas that impact student success the most,” said DubLabs Chief Strategy Officer, Chris Hopkinson. “Mobile apps that have dozens of unused features or that focus on campus life are not providing as much value to students or to schools.”

About the Data

This usage data was collected and aggregated from the campus apps created by DubLabs. Each app serves as the official campus mobile app at one of more than 150 public and private colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including both two- and four-year schools. Data was collected from August through December 2017.

About DubLabs, LLC.

DubLabs helps schools improve student communication through a school branded mobile app integrated to SIS, LMS, CRM and more. Starting in 2012 as an integrated mobile platform for higher education, we have since helped millions of students at over 150 schools track academics, communicate with their school and stay in the know about campus life. For more information, visit http://www.dublabs.com or email info(at)dublabs(dot)com

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Meg Robinson
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