It seems like everything has an app nowadays. From television channels to grocery stores, apps aren’t just for social media or scheduling anymore. They’re something that many brands are taking full advantage of, whether as a marketing tool or business supplement.
One industry that’s finding a lot of success in mobile apps is education. Higher education platforms are now utilizing apps as a means of connecting with students…but does your own higher education platform actually need an app to succeed?
In some cases, higher education platform apps are a necessity. Think of apps like Duolingo that specialize in language education through their application. The application isn’t a supplement, it’s the entire platform to begin with. Other education platforms utilize apps as a means of interactive teaching. The app is the teaching tool with flashcards and tests. It’s now cheaper to create an app than to work on building a website portal with test taking capabilities, so more platforms are utilizing this method instead.
But what about an app that isn’t either of those things. An app that students can use like their University account portal, or that contains campus or site news?
The State of University Apps
It’s not as if a lot of universities have jumped on the app bandwagon, but quite a few have. Attitudes are still currently changing, and there are some obstacles in the way that are preventing universities from seeing the real benefit of apps.
What does this mean for you? Well, perhaps you’re having the same conundrum as university heads: how does an app benefit the platform in a way that exceeds the cost to produce it? Universities already have low funding for outside projects, so an app can seem superfluous if it’s just a more convenient way to perform tasks that can already been handled via outside means.
It’s important to look at a higher education platform app as something useful — ask yourself the question “how can an application save me money instead of cost me money?” There are a few ways this question can be answered in this context…
The Pros of a HEP App
First and foremost, apps are supposed to help the user in some way. This can be via humor, scheduling, mental challenge or connectivity. At the end of the day, an app with no purpose is essentially useless.
Thus, university heads and higher education platform leaders have to find a way for an app related to their platform to have true value. One way is through productivity enhancement. Mobility is something of a godsend for employees anywhere, and this is especially true for those who work in education. Teachers and professors find great value in texting and emailing right from their phone, but what if all of their education issues could be dealt with via an app?
A university or HEP app can streamline productivity and connectivity via a portal that only staff and/or students can use. This creates an atmosphere where sending information is easier, things get done faster and sending documents electronically can reduce paper use. Students can send assignments to teachers via apps instead of outdated uploading systems. The schooling experience can become easily streamlined.
Online checkers are already used in universities around the world, but what if the app could check grammar and punctuation automatically, or how original the received work is? Students, professors and staff can greatly benefit from apps like these. There’s also an added bonus of the potential engagement they offer to students in a monitored environment. This can attract new students which means good news for a platform’s funding and image.
The Cons of an HEP App
Again, it can be hard to justify the cost when the money used to design and outfit an app could be going somewhere else; somewhere more pressing. Many schools of all different types would rather funnel money into new books, improved student experiences and training rather than an application that is more convenient than functional.
There’s also the question of security. While it’s true that all online systems run the risk of being hacked, an application is pretty easy to break into if you know what you’re doing. One ultra intelligent IT student could break open an app and gain access to classified student, professor and staff information with a few days of hacking.
Does your higher education platform need an application? Maybe not right now — but it’s at the very least something to think about for the future.
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