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Uni Apps: Designed by Students to Support Student Success

Speaker
Miss Miriam Bennett,
Miss Kati Elizabeth

Victoria University

Abstract
The project: The aim was to engage current students i.e. employ, remunerate and apply advanced standing where appropriate, to lead the design and development of student apps.

Scout, a student engagement app, was the first of these projects, an experiment in student-led learning and teaching projects, an experiment resulting in great success. On the back of this success, the student team has now been engaged as part of a much larger University Student Digital Experience Project to design a ‘super app’, which pulls all the university student apps into one, strongly focussed on student centred design and UX.

The product: Scout, is an app developed to activate learning spaces both online and on campus and to encourage all the things that we know improve student engagement: making friends at university, attending class, spending time on campus and engaging in extra-curricular activities. Students designed the app to incentivise these activities using fundamental gaming principles like leader boards, prizes and rewards whilst drawing inspiration from popular apps like Snapchat and Pokemon Go. They also designed and built a world first social augmented reality app feature.

The results: The app is currently available to all students in both the iTunes app store and Google play and has upwards of 3000 active users. The product lead and co-author, a current honours student, has received credit for this work in the form of advanced standing for a 12 credit point unit in her Bachelor degree. The project aligns strongly with the University’s move towards an entrepreneurial orientation within and across the curriculum as well as a flexible, tailored approach to student pathways and recognition.  Conclusion: The success of the student led app project has been very clear. We were able to deliver a real world learning and teaching project, led by students, on time and on budget. The app is different, it is not what would have been developed if we had hired HEW/Academic staff and only consulted with students. Now, with students leading the design and development of the ‘super app’, students are truly front and centre of their mobile experience at university.