BYOD: Supporting Students Via Their Own Devices

BYOD: Supporting Students Via Their Own Devices image BYOD highered1istock_000017488290mediumFrom flipped classrooms to self-directed learning, even for the most traditional higher education institutions, everything is moving increasingly online with a focus towards mobile. The goal with BYOD (bring your own device) for higher learning is to turn an increasingly prevalent classroom disruptor into a cost-effective education tool. But the benefits come with an equal set of challenges and investments, from handling increased IT support requests to managing both learning and support delivery across a myriad of unique devices.

Higher education institutions, however, must be able to accept and handle all of these challenges, especially given that 85% of education institutions currently allow some form of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) on their school networks, according to a global Bradford Networks Impact of BYOD on Education survey.

BYOD use will only continue to grow as a consideration for prospective students. According to the 21st Century Campus Report, 87% of current college students consider technology offerings when deciding which institution to attend. And 92% of current high school students say that technology will be a key differentiator during their university selection process. For recruiting and relevance alone, there’s no turning back on BYOD and innovation investments.

Where Campus Support and Customer Service Connect

B2C businesses especially have had to take an early lead on offering a mobile version of service and support information and access. Forrester forecasts that companies will spend around $900 million on mobile process reinvention services in 2013, a number that will more than triple in 2014 and continue to rise through 2015.

But whether it’s a B2C brand or a college or university looking to provide a mobile offering, what can be done under a small initial investment? These best practices used in private sector mobile service and support development apply equally well to higher education:

  1. Put the Most Important Information Front and Center. The information or functions students or other mobile audiences want or need most should be available front and center without having to scroll left, right, up or down, or use additional navigation. Former Gartner analyst Johan Jacobs notes that if you have buried a function beyond three clicks, taps or keystrokes, it’s beyond the lengths the average mobile user will go to reach and repeatedly use that feature.
  2. Keep Content Simple. If your college or university’s knowledgebase or FAQ content is comprised of multi-page articles or PDFs that require downloading, you’ll lose your connection with the mobile student seeking self-serve information. Simplify or repurpose content to make it mobile-friendly, and if you must present a great deal of content, use bolding to highlight the text that will be most useful.

Mobile Matters

A CDW-G Bring Your Own Device Report emphasizes the importance of making BYOD adaptation a priority: “Although the implications of this new reality (BYOD) for campuses are still unfolding, those that don’t quickly adapt are likely to see their ability to compete for the best students weaken. Students increasingly see technology as paramount to their academic success, and they expect colleges and universities to support their technology needs and expectations.”

According to recent Pew Research, 83% of Millennials now sleep with their smartphones next to them. That statistic alone makes the case for how much mobile matters.

From taking steps to make a college or university’s website and support portal mobile responsive, to simplifying information for small screens, to facilitating increased engagement and access to real-time updates (campus safety and weather closures for instance), engaging and supporting students via their own devices is a key factor in mastering the evolving non-traditional delivery of service and support.

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This white paper features a wealth of new statistics, best practices and key insights from analysts that will demand every higher education institution’s attention as we head into 2014.

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