Advanced Writing

Proposal Assignment

Original Submission:

Memo

To: Dr. Carl Smeller

From: Hannah Onder

Date: May 3, 2020

Re: The Application of a Campus App

In order for the idea of using a campus app for student engagement at Texas Wesleyan to work, the IT Department, the Division of Marketing and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs, the Athletic Department, the Student Government Association, the Mass Communication Department and the Computer Science Department would all have to agree for the unmodified version of this idea to work.

The IT Department is listed because they would be needed to assist with setting up the app and to assist with technical difficulties like they would with any other campus technology. The Division of Marketing and Communication is involved because they maintain the university calendar with university-wide events and because they could assist with digital marketing to students telling them to download the app. The Division of Student Affairs is needed because they run RamSpace. This website is where all the student clubs and organizations list their events. Marketing could also assist with promoting the app to students and potentially assist with funding the app. The Athletic Department is selected because they run ramsports.net, which is where all the athletic events are listed, and they could assist with promoting the app to their athletes and fans. The Student Government Association is listed because the board could fund the app and assist with promoting the app to students. The Mass Communication Department and the Computer Science Department are listed because their student could get work experience designing, running, maintaining, and promoting the app since it falls into both technology and communication. Plus, student involvement could relieve some of the work from other departments.

Problem

Universities want to engage students outside of classes to strengthen students’ connections to the university during their time as both students and alumni. Students engaged beyond the classroom tend to have better performance in the classroom, and alumni that stay connected to their university tend to give back to the school in the form of donations. Therefore, universities dedicate departments and funds to keeping students involved on-campus, usually through avenues like events.

Texas Wesleyan University is a university that has a Division of Student Affairs along with budgets dedicated to student events such as the Student Government Association’s budget, the Student Development Fund, and the Programing and Activities Committee (PAC). Therefore, student events are valued by the university.

However, there are three different types of events for students on campus: university-wide, student organizations and clubs, and athletics. All of these three types of events are listed on different calendars on different websites run by different departments. Because of the lack of centralized information, it can be difficult for students to know about events, especially events that are added last minute or not advertised well enough beyond the single calendar it appears on. According to event stories on The Rambler, students have talked about advertising as an area to improve upon.

With the lack of centralized information about campus events, it can be harder for students to stay engaged on campus, especially with the large commuter population at Texas Wesleyan. Commuter students usually aren’t as exposed to information outside of their classes. Meanwhile, students that live on-campus are usually more knowledgeable about campus resources, exposed to a wider variety of people, and visit more buildings, which exposes them to more information. These connections allow on-campus students to engage easier. Therefore, since Wesleyan has a large commuter population as well as a transfer population, it’s vital to keep information centralized, so people know where to find it if they want to participate in campus events.

The issue of potentially lowering student participation due to lack of centralized information affects Texas Wesleyan’s population as a whole because of the time and money that is potentially wasted by lowered student participation in events, which can be caused by a lack of information. Commuter students usually have other obligations or obstacles outside of the university, so they need to know about events as soon as possible, so they can adjust their schedules to allow them time to attend. Also, the university has a limited amount of budget and resources for events, so the events that the campus hosts need to have the participation that warrants that use.

If the event information isn’t easily accessible, students won’t be able to make plans to attend, and the time and money put in are wasted when there isn’t good student turnout. Money and time are resources that could be put toward other important items like scholarships, renovations, raises, etc. In the longer run, students that missed the opportunity to be involved on campus aren’t as likely to be as engaged in classes or as alumni providing donations. Both of those engagements are important for recruiting more students and sustaining the university.

Solution

Texas Wesleyan should create a campus app that centralizes all the information about the three different types of campus events in one place at a minimum to improve student engagement in on-campus events. Ideally, the app would also allow students to set notifications for events they’re interested in. Those reminders would work to minimize the chance of students forgetting about the event and potentially leaving campus before remembering. The app would also be helpful if it connected to a social media stream were students could post directly about events right before they happen or as they are happening to encourage further participation from students that weren’t initially interested in the event. This scenario already happens to a degree on campus with members of student organizations tagging or messaging friends on social media about their events, but this would streamline the process and widen the reach of posts.

Overall, the goal of getting a campus app would be to centralize event information on one central calendar, allow students to receive notifications for events they’re interested in, and allow students to have access to a streamlined social media feed about ongoing campus events.

Steps to Implement the Solution

  1. The first step is reaching out to the Division of Marketing and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs, the Athletic Department, the IT Department, Mass Communication Department, and the Computer Science Department to explain the idea, the roles they’d play in the plan, and get their approval as well as any other high department approval as needed. Marketing and communications, student affairs, and athletics all run one of the three calendars of events located on txwes.edu, RamSpace, and ramsports.net, so they’d be in charge of communicating their event information to the person running the app and promoting the app to students. The IT Department would help with the installation and tech support of the app. The Mass Communication and Computer Science Departments could provide their students the opportunity to get experience working on designing, running, maintaining, and promote the app.
  2. Once those groups involved in providing the information and maintaining the app are set it, people would need to figure out how the campus app would be built. One app-building company called Guidebook creates apps specifically for school use. One demo app called Student Activities seemed to have the ability to create a calendar of events that would allow push notifications and the social media live feed. Plus, the builder the added ability to track event attendance. Price-wise that option appears to be a flat rate of $3,500, according to Guidebook’s website.
  3. Once the group decides the build and price, the next step would be to figure out funding. Presenting a bill to the Student Government Association to fund the app would probably be the best option since this app would be working to benefit all students’ campus engagement. The Division of Student Affairs might also assist or point people to the SDF and PAC for funding.
  4. The next step would be to get the app designed, running, and tested to make sure it’s ready to launch to students.
  5. Then a system would have to be worked out of how much work the four departments want mass communication and computer science students doing for them.
  6. The step after that would be to promote the app to students and explain how it works. All the involved departments and organizations can do this step.
  7. Then finally, IT would assist with any technical errors or installations like they would with any other piece of campus technology.

Why this Solution

The creation of a campus app allows students to have a centralized place to find event information with both official calendars, social media feeds, and event notifications all in one. According to The Rambler’s event coverage, several Texas Wesleyan students state events could improve on their advertising if there are any improvement comments included in articles. The Rambler’s Facebook page also has students like Stacie Hill, a transfer and commuter students asking where to find information about getting involved on campus because there isn’t a centralized place that students are told to go with all the information. If Texas Wesleyan had an app, students could be informed about it when they attend their campus orientation as both incoming and transfer students.

Even if Texas Wesleyan managed to get all their events on the main txwes.edu website or Ramspace, for example, it’s still hard to navigate to those calendars. On the txwes.edu site, there are multiple calendars scattered around the site, and the site can be hard to navigate in general. Meanwhile, with Ramspace, students have a hard time getting to the website because it’s not the top option in the search, and going through the txwes.edu website takes several clicks. Also, with those websites, students wouldn’t get the added features of the app with notifications and social media connections.

Conclusion

Texas Wesleyan needs a campus app to provide a centralized place of event information such as a list of all campus events, reminder notifications, and curated social media event information. This collected information would assist in growing student engagement on campus. Students can help push for this solution by doing their own research and presenting it to the various departments listed above, like the Division of Student Affairs, to get the process rolling.

Sources

Guidebook. 2011, https://guidebook.com/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

The Rambler. 2019, https://therambler.org/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

Texas Wesleyan University. Texas Wesleyan University, https://txwes.edu/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

Thetwurambler. Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thetwurambler/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

 

Revised Submission:

Memo

To: Dr. Carl Smeller

From: Hannah Onder

Date: May 3, 2020

Re: The Application of a Campus App

A campus app at Texas Wesleyan could improve student engagement at the university. In order for the idea of campus app to work, the IT Department, the Division of Marketing and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs, the Athletic Department, the Student Government Association, the Mass Communication Department and the Computer Science Department would all have to agree to the plan.

The IT Department is listed because they would be needed to assist with setting up the app and to assist with technical difficulties like they would with any other campus technology. The Division of Marketing and Communication is involved because they maintain the university calendar with university-wide events and because they could assist with digital marketing to students telling them to download the app. The Division of Student Affairs is needed because they run RamSpace. This website is where all the student clubs and organizations list their events. Marketing could also assist with promoting the app to students and potentially assist with funding the app. The Athletic Department is selected because they run ramsports.net, which is where all the athletic events are listed, and they could assist with promoting the app to their athletes and fans. The Student Government Association is listed because the board could fund the app and assist with promoting the app to students. The Mass Communication Department and the Computer Science Department are listed because their student could get work experience designing, running, maintaining, and promoting the app since it falls into both technology and communication. Plus, student involvement could relieve some of the work from other departments.

Problem

Universities want to engage students outside of classes to strengthen students’ connections to the university during their time as both students and alumni. Students engaged beyond the classroom tend to have better performance in the classroom, and alumni that stay connected to their university tend to give back to the school in the form of donations. Therefore, universities dedicate departments and funds to keeping students involved on-campus, usually through avenues like events.

Texas Wesleyan University is a university that has a Division of Student Affairs along with budgets dedicated to student events such as the Student Government Association’s budget, the Student Development Fund, and the Programing and Activities Committee (PAC). Therefore, student events are valued by the university.

However, there are three different types of events for students on campus: university-wide, student organizations and clubs, and athletics. All of these three types of events are listed on different calendars on different websites run by different departments. Because of the lack of centralized information, it can be difficult for students to know about events, especially events that are added last minute or not advertised well enough beyond the single calendar it appears on. According to event stories on The Rambler, students have talked about advertising as an area to improve upon.

With the lack of centralized information about campus events, it can be harder for students to stay engaged on campus, especially with the large commuter population at Texas Wesleyan. Commuter students usually aren’t as exposed to information outside of their classes. Meanwhile, students that live on-campus are usually more knowledgeable about campus resources, exposed to a wider variety of people, and visit more buildings, which exposes them to more information. These connections allow on-campus students to engage easier. Therefore, since Wesleyan has a large commuter population as well as a transfer population, it’s vital to keep information centralized, so people know where to find it if they want to participate in campus events.

The issue of potentially lowering student participation due to lack of centralized information affects Texas Wesleyan’s population as a whole because of the time and money that is potentially wasted by lowered student participation in events, which can be caused by a lack of information. Commuter students usually have other obligations or obstacles outside of the university, so they need to know about events as soon as possible, so they can adjust their schedules to allow them time to attend. Also, the university has a limited amount of budget and resources for events, so the events that the campus hosts need to have the participation that warrants that use.

If the event information isn’t easily accessible, students won’t be able to make plans to attend, and the time and money put in are wasted when there isn’t good student turnout. Money and time are resources that could be put toward other important items like scholarships, renovations, raises, etc. In the longer run, students that missed the opportunity to be involved on campus aren’t as likely to be as engaged in classes or as alumni providing donations. Both of those engagements are important for recruiting more students and sustaining the university.

Solution

Texas Wesleyan should create a campus app that centralizes all the information about the three different types of campus events in one place at a minimum to improve student engagement in on-campus events. Ideally, the app would also allow students to set notifications for events they’re interested in. Those reminders would work to minimize the chance of students forgetting about the event and potentially leaving campus before remembering. The app would also be helpful if it connected to a social media stream were students could post directly about events right before they happen or as they are happening to encourage further participation from students that weren’t initially interested in the event. This scenario already happens to a degree on campus with members of student organizations tagging or messaging friends on social media about their events, but this would streamline the process and widen the reach of posts.

Overall, the goal of getting a campus app would be to centralize event information on one central calendar, allow students to receive notifications for events they’re interested in, and allow students to have access to a streamlined social media feed about ongoing campus events.

Steps to Implement the Solution

  1. The first step is reaching out to the Division of Marketing and Communications, the Division of Student Affairs, the Athletic Department, the IT Department, Mass Communication Department, and the Computer Science Department to explain the idea, the roles they’d play in the plan, and get their approval as well as any other high department approval as needed. Marketing and communications, student affairs, and athletics all run one of the three calendars of events located on txwes.edu, RamSpace, and ramsports.net, so they’d be in charge of communicating their event information to the person running the app and promoting the app to students. The IT Department would help with the installation and tech support of the app. The Mass Communication and Computer Science Departments could provide their students the opportunity to get experience working on designing, running, maintaining, and promoting the app.
  2. Once those groups involved in providing the information and maintaining the app are set it, people would need to figure out how the campus app would be built. One app-building company called Guidebook creates apps specifically for school use. One demo app called Student Activities seemed to have the ability to create a calendar of events that would allow push notifications and the social media live feed. Plus, the builder had the added ability to track event attendance. Price-wise that option appears to be a flat rate of $3,500, according to Guidebook’s website.
  3. Once the group decides the build and price, the next step would be to figure out funding. Presenting a bill to the Student Government Association to fund the app would probably be the best option since this app would be working to benefit all students’ campus engagement. The Division of Student Affairs might also assist or point people to the SDF and PAC for funding.
  4. The next step would be to get the app designed, running, and tested to make sure it’s ready to launch to students.
  5. Then a system would have to be worked out of how much work the four departments want mass communication and computer science students doing for them.
  6. The step after that would be to promote the app to students and explain how it works. All the involved departments and organizations can do this step.
  7. Then finally, IT would assist with any technical errors or installations like they would with any other piece of campus technology.

Why this Solution

The creation of a campus app allows students to have a centralized place to find event information with both official calendars, social media feeds, and event notifications all in one. According to The Rambler’s event coverage, several Texas Wesleyan students state events could improve on their advertising when asked how the event could be improved. Because students aren’t given a centralized place to get all the information, The Rambler’s Facebook page gets comments asking about how to get involved on campus from students like Stacie Hill, a transfer and commuter student. If Texas Wesleyan had an app, students could be informed about it when they attend their campus orientation as both incoming and transfer students.

Even if Texas Wesleyan managed to get all their events on the main txwes.edu website or Ramspace, for example, it’s still hard to navigate to those calendars. On the txwes.edu site, there are multiple calendars scattered around the site, and the site can be hard to navigate in general. Meanwhile, with Ramspace, students have a hard time getting to the website because it’s not the top option in the search, and going through the txwes.edu website takes several clicks. Also, with those websites, students wouldn’t get the added features of the app with notifications and social media connections.

Conclusion

Texas Wesleyan needs a campus app to provide a centralized place of event information such as a list of all campus events, reminder notifications, and curated social media event information. This collected information would assist in growing student engagement on campus. Students can help push for this solution by doing their own research and presenting it to the various departments listed above, like the Division of Student Affairs, to get the process rolling.

Sources

Guidebook. 2011, https://guidebook.com/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

The Rambler. 2019, https://therambler.org/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

Texas Wesleyan University. Texas Wesleyan University, https://txwes.edu/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

Thetwurambler. Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thetwurambler/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2020.

 

Brief Editing Notes:

I corrected a few grammar mistakes. I also rewrote the first paragraph in the memo and the first paragraph in the why this solution section of the paper for clarity.

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