By Andrew Yu, founder and CEO, Modo Labs.
St. Louis Community College, the region’s largest higher educational institution with 26,166 students and 2,127 faculty and staff, endeavors to strengthen the communities it serves through the success of its students. Part of boosting student success has been meeting students where they are – with a mobile app where they can connect to college services, news and information.
To make that charter a reality, STLCC’s Director of Enterprise Services and Operations, Information Technology, Khouloud Hawasli, led the program of creating mobile experiences geared to current and potential students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, parents and visitors. She and her team delivered the project in phases through the fall of 2020 and fall of 2021.
Powered by Modo, a low-code app-building platform, the STLCC mobile app lets students register for classes, view their schedules and student information, receive notifications and access events. Prospective students can explore the college, apply directly, and chat with representatives through the app. Faculty and staff can access their pay/vacation info, directories, and help desks, while parents, visitors, alumni and friends can join the alumni association, request transcripts, check event calendars and more.
Incentive Program Succeeds with Safety, Speed and Privacy
As the fall 2021 session approached, the college was exploring ways to bring students back for in-person learning safely and developed a vaccination incentive program for students, faculty, and staff. The sticking point was in how to bring students’ private health information into their system securely. When asked to explore 3rd party tools to enable the program, Hawasli smiled, “We already had a secure connection between the STLCC mobile app and the student information system. It was an easy answer.”
She got to work, collaborating with Modo and integration partner N2N, which had already built the secure data port between STLCC’s student information system, the Ellucian Banner ERP (enterprise resource planning system) and the Modo app platform.
“The whole vaccination app was done in five weeks. I wrote the business requirements and scope, and when the committee approved it, I reached out to N2N to ask, ‘how fast can we build it?’ Their development was very quick and agile, and our marketing team did a great job designing the UI and the screens. We’re able to move so fast with Modo and N2N. Our partnership is a very complete team.”
With the STLCC mobile app, students, faculty, and staff could quickly, easily, and securely upload vaccination proof, while a backend process attached and indexed the documentation to each individual’s student or personnel record, enabled validation by authorized reviewers, and sent notification back through the student or staff information system, so each person could check the status of their approval within their private record. Incentive payments for approved submissions were deposited directly into student and employee accounts.
The incentive program was a success, and the result was significant, a 67% increase in confirmed employee vaccinations compared to pre-incentive numbers and a whopping 235% increase in students. The program also drove downloads of the STLCC mobile app overall. Today, approximately 5,459 of students and faculty/staff have downloaded it.
With the success of the program, STLCC is in the process of setting it up again to run in advance of the Spring 2022 session. “This time we’re looking at using push notifications inside the app to inform students about the program,” said Hawasli. “For the first program we used email to notify them, but students don’t tend to read email. We anticipate getting even better results communicating it through the mobile app.”