Students in the international business and marketing department were charged with an unfamiliar task — design an extension for the CPP Mobile application that would highlight alumni.
Melissa Riordan, executive director of Alumni and External Relations, partnered with Jinah Young, lead in on campus Mobile and Applications and Professor Kristen Schiele, who holds a doctorate in marketing, to assist in designing an alumni interface within the CPP Mobile app.
Schiele assigned the students in her mobile marketing course this project to experience what it is like to apply the technical skills they learn in the classroom to a job for a client.
“It was great for the students to have this hands-on project. Being able to create something for a real client was awesome,” Schiele said. “We have a textbook for mobile marketing, but that’s more to get the basic concepts down. By creating an app prototype, students were able to go beyond the basics and more thoroughly understand the mobile industry.”
With limited experience in graphic design and app development, the students said they were shocked to learn that they would develop an app.
Schiele introduced the students to free tools to design their app extension.
“A lot of them don’t have graphic design experience but they were able to use free tools to help them overcome things they didn’t know,” Schiele said.
The purpose of the extension is to grow engagement in the Alumni Association, which awards $35,000 in scholarships to students and hosts more than 60 events each year. Schiele and the students recognized this need while developing the extension.
Last spring, a focus group of 12 alumni visited the campus to help students understand the needs that the app extension would have to address. The focus group assessed the user experience and provided insight for the students.
“At first it was daunting,” said Lillibeth Carmona, a senior in business administration marketing. “We had to think, ‘How does an app work?’ When you’re using an app, you’re navigating by instinct. It’s not until you’re creating it and you have conversations with focus groups that you realize what is needed to develop it.”
The project fostered confidence and gave the students experience they could use in their careers.
“It was great to see the student’s confidence grow,” Schiele said. “They went into this class not knowing how to do these things. They were able to create these beautiful designs that are now in their portfolio.”