Nov 15 2017
Data Analytics

Mobile Apps and Data Analytics Boost First-Year Experiences for Students

Thanks to better university communications and timely interventions, college freshmen are poised for success.

For college freshmen, the transition to campus life can be rather daunting. From fitting into the social scene to academic pressures, there’s a lot on the plate of a first-year student.

Thankfully, technology has empowered school leaders to make sure these students are supported from the moment they arrive on campus. Whether it’s an app tailored to their needs or a data-informed advising system to make sure they don’t fall behind academically, now, more than ever, first-year college students can be poised for success.

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Apps Support Freshmen Beyond Orientation

First-year students are desperate for information on everything from class schedules to financial aid when they arrive on campus. A recent survey found that 48 percent of college students reported more satisfaction from using a mobile app to find information, rather than a university website, Campus Technology reports.

To give new (and old) students an easier way to connect with the information they need, Shawnee State University partnered with higher education app developer OOHLALA Mobile to create an app that helps students organize their classes, assignments and events, as well as engage in discussions.

“At Shawnee State University, we know connecting students to campus life and support is fundamental to ensuring retention and success,” says Elizabeth Blevins, Shawnee State’s director of communications, in the Campus Technology article.

At Sullivan University in Kentucky, former vice president Jim Crick tells University Business that the use of mobile apps helped Sullivan’s three campuses engage with existing and prospective students, thus creating a platform of support before some students even got to campus.

Colleges can also use mobile applications to give students easier access to services such as financial aid and dining halls.

Data Analytics and Adaptive Programs Keep Students on Track

Many institutions are using data analytics to make informed business decisions. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, data has helped the school retain first-year students who struggle academically.

UNLV’s educators and leaders are using course-level data in an introductory course to detect the early warning signs of failure.

Using Splunk tools — Enterprise 6.5.1 and the Machine Learning Toolkit — assistant professor Matthew Bernacki built a prediction model that tracks student academic activities and likely course outcomes to develop better intervention strategies.

“Typically, the goal is to intervene and get in front of students digitally before they start to perform poorly on tests,” Bernacki tells EdTech.

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