How Casper College's Mobile Learning App Improves the Student Experience
Problem: Wyoming’s rural landscape creates significant barriers in making education equitable and accessible. Casper College needed to find a way to create multiple access points for students to complete coursework and communicate with faculty.
Solution: Open LMS guided the institution on implementing and using Open LMS’s mobile application to better reach students where they are and help them achieve their learning goals.
Results: Casper College saw an increase in participation from both students and faculty using this mobile app to communicate with professors, complete courses, and more. Since its launch in January 2022, roughly 50% of Casper College’s student body has downloaded the app and uses it on average 11 times a week.
The Problem: Meeting Casper College Students Where They Are
According to the most recent census data, Wyoming is the least populated state in the United States. And despite Casper being the second largest city in the state, the limited number of individuals living in the area has brought a wide spectrum of challenges—one being the lack of sustainable broadband access. This can drastically reduce the number of educational opportunities available to students, a problem that Casper College—the first junior college established in Wyoming—wanted to ensure did not happen for its diverse student body.
Many of Casper College’s students are adult learners who do not live in the Casper area, making their commute to campus roughly 30 to 40 minutes one way. They live in more rural areas and often find themselves in WiFi dead zones. Many also juggle multiple responsibilities like full-time jobs or family obligations, which make it difficult for them to travel to campus daily for classes.
Online learning was the solution to reach this demographic of learners and help them reach their full potential on their own time and at their own pace. But Casper College needed to add a layer of flexibility and accessibility to ensure students could access course content directly from a wide variety of devices.
The Solution: Bridging the Gap With a Mobile App
Wyoming's rural landscape, coupled with the reality that students are on their phones more than ever, made it apparent what Casper College needed: a mobile app that allowed students to engage with their coursework from multiple access points despite the stability of their internet connection.
The institution turned to Open LMS and their fully offline-capable mobile application to ensure equitable, consistent access to Casper College's courses and faculty. Open LMS ensured it was available for download through various app stores, including Apple, Google, and more, making it easier for students to download and alleviating student frustration. Casper College and Open LMS also worked together to ensure the app was designed to align with the college's branding and visuals, which helped students quickly find it and begin utilizing its functions.
While mobile applications aren't unique to a single LMS, Open LMS includes more than just content in its offline experience. At an instructor's discretion, learners can download and securely access all of their course content items, including quizzes and assignments, with the results of those quizzes synchronizing with the system when the learner has access. This is key given Casper College and its students' remoteness. As long as a student has their phone, they can be in a dead zone and still take their class. Once the student reconnects to WiFi, the app syncs up with the university system.
The Results: Increased Access to On-the-Go Learning
The mobile launch has elevated the student experience since it launched in January 2022.
With the mobile app, students can access learning materials, contact their instructors, submit assignments, and complete any other tasks on the college website, even without a stable internet connection at that particular point in time. The app also allows them to easily and quickly upload photos or videos that need to be submitted for various assignments for their courses.
And the results speak to the incredible impact the mobile app has had on the student experience. Casper College reports that 50% of its students have downloaded the app and are using it on average 11 times a week, allowing them the convenience of learning on their schedule, no matter the location.