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University Web Developers

For those of you who have gone down this path, or are considering it now - a few questions.

Who was your primary audience? From my research the consensus appears to be current students, faculty, staff and visitors. Only a few had any specific content for prospective students. If prospective students were in the mix, what types of content were you using to attract/serve them?

What vendors were/are under consideration? Looks like TerriblyClever was purchased by BlackBoard this past summer. They appear to have the most clients at the larger institutions. Were any other vendors on your radar?

Any pitfalls you wish you knew in advance?

Thanks.

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Matt - terribly clever was purchased by blackboard. Mongoose Research offers an iphone application specifically for prospective students. Please excuse the self promotion.. but i really do not know of other vendors. All the higher-ed iphone apps i have seen have been focused on the campus community rather than specifically for prospective students.

imho, prospective student want:
- be alerted of important dates and deadlines
- find events in their area
- academic major information
- sign-up for campus visit (and turn by turn directions to campus)
- view missing documents
- read news
- read student spotlights
- contact info for admission and finaid
Be sure to read up on the review we did of MobileEducator at .eduGuru: http://doteduguru.com/id3686-mobileeducator-iphone-application-and-...

The problem with prospective students is that I haven't seen a drop of research of evidence to suggest that a prospective student would even install a school's app, let alone be swayed to attend because of it. Your best bet is just to make it a good tool for fans of the college to use, with extra stuff added for the core audiences. Don't try to convince kids to come with it, because they'll be more interested on how the tool would serve them once they are there. Give them something to see to wow them that says "students at our school get the benefit of X, Y, and Z via our iPhone application." Make it about what it will do for them in the long term, not how it will help them in the brief short term.

Think athletics scores, that's something anyone who likes your college would want. Open source or CC licensed videos of interest lectures, speakers, or events. Enroll for classes, check grades, get alerts from teachers, etc...

You have to add value to the channel. What value can you add that you'd get back with prospective students? This is especially true if they are the main or only target of the application, because then they'll just delete it when they aren't prospective anymore (either by enrolling or going somewhere else). If you consider David's suggestions, you could cover all of that with a simple, mobile optimized web page. No need for an app.
I just got off a concall with Bb. I'm waiting for pricing structure and some other details, but I was impressed with their service.
I sent them an email looking for a baseline cost but have not heard back from them yet.

We are currently debating whether or not this is an in-house project.

Though I'm more prone to go with the vendor if they offer extensibility we don't have the resources to develop or support.

In particular Duke's mobile application and the presentation of their digital library collection.

http://library.duke.edu/blogs/digital-collections/2009/06/16/librar...

Quite impressive and something that we'd have trouble developing on our own given the multitude of other development challenges.
We're building one in house, it should go to the app store for review by the end of the year. We are primarily focusing on the campus community, but have developed a process where any department that wants to extend the app (i.e. Admissions, Athletics, Alumni) can join.

We are also going the Standford route, and have begun to develop courses for our students in iPhone development. Two courses, one in Computer Science and one in Music Technology will be available next year. During these courses, students will be developing iPhone apps which can integrate with the institution's official app where necessary.

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