When the first year class attends Welcome Week, one of the first things they do is download the ND Mobile app. They use it for the week’s agenda, connecting with their advisor, participating in events and campus wayfinding. It remains on their phones for the rest of their time as students because it gives them quick access to information, like class schedules, grades and even what’s for lunch at South Dining Hall and whether it’s crowded at the moment.
Students were the intended audience when the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) debuted the app in 2014, and they remain the No. 1 user type. Since then, OIT rolled out the faculty and staff persona in 2017 and personas for alumni, parents, guests, graduate students and, most recently, prospective students.
When you open the ND Mobile app under the faculty and staff persona, the home screen is filled with what looks like more apps. These are called modules and each one offers a path to specific information.
- Looking for something to do? Tap on TheWeek@ND or the Calendar.
- It’s snowing and you have a meeting across campus. You consider taking the Campus Shuttle and check the app to see if it’s nearby.
- Got something to sell? Post it on the Employee Marketplace.
The ND Mobile app is also helpful if you are hosting a conference on campus.
At a fraction of the cost of event apps, you can work with OIT to create a persona for an event. Attendees download the ND Mobile app and not only get access to the event agenda and speaker information, they benefit from the app’s existing content, like the campus map, dining opportunities and bookstore locations and hours.
Erin Thornton, director of special events for the Notre Dame Alumni Association, has been using the app for Reunion Weekend since 2016.
“We use a persona in the ND Mobile app, and all of the Reunion event information lives in one setting, which is great because it doesn’t get muddled in with the rest of the University information. But it’s still connected to it,” Thornton said.
Once an event persona is created, it can be used for other events an office may host. The Alumni Association has also used the Reunion persona for alumni leadership conferences. The pages are simply “reskinned,” meaning the colors, words and fonts can be changed, but the infrastructure is intact. Event personas are turned “on” in anticipation of an event and “off” when it’s over.
Student Affairs has been using the ND Mobile app to execute Welcome Week since 2017.
“Some of the things that have been really helpful with using the app is the way it can connect to Qualtrics. So when students log in through Okta, they are able to access a more personalized schedule, like where their Moreau First Year Experience class will meet and their assigned time and gate to enter the stadium for the Official Welcome and Mass,” said Lauren Donahue, new student engagement program director.
The app, which is powered by Modo Labs, also integrates seamlessly with Canvas, Notre Dame’s new learning management system that will completely replace Sakai by fall 2022.
“We’re exploring ways we can use the app with Canvas for Welcome Week. Students could access their academic coursework for the Moreau class, for example,” Donahue said.
The ND Mobile app also plays well with Google products, like Google calendars. For instance, the Hours of Operation module found under the faculty and staff persona is connected to Google calendars updated by RecSports, the bookstores, etc.
There are about 14 Google calendars tied to Reunion Weekend.
“Each one is linked in a unique way back into the ND Mobile app, and the user can view all the events together, or categorize what they want to see by utilizing certain settings we’ve implemented. They can even add events to their own calendars directly through the app,” Thornton said.
“We also curate rather specific sets of those calendars to targeted audiences within the app. So we would have a Class of 1975 calendar, which only pulls in the relevant information for that particular class,” she added.
The app also features the ability to send push notifications.
“Within the Reunion persona, for example, we can send out push notifications on demand or we can preschedule them. We have about six big events happening within the weekend, so we preschedule push notifications to go out to people 15 minutes before to remind them about an event. We have also used them to encourage people to take surveys, which are tied to Qualtrics,” Thornton said.
Whether you are interested in adding a module to the ND Mobile app or using the app as a platform for your next event, contact Martin Klubeck, product manager in OIT, at 1-5447 or email@example.com.
“The ND Mobile app is a tool for everyone on campus, and we should be using it more,” Klubeck said. “It’s a great way to communicate with your constituencies where they are: on their phones.”