Last week, we announced the WCET Outstanding Work – or WOW – awards for this year. these awards honor member institutions and organizations that develop technology-based solutions to challenging educational needs. Congratulations again to Colorado State University/ Grit Digital Health, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, Colorado Technical University, Open SUNY, and University of Montana. 2018 WOW award logo. The WCET logo inside of a black box. Below the wcet logo, text reads "WOW award 2018." Underneath the black box reads "WCET Oustanding Work Award"

Each of these institutions will be featured here on WCET Frontiers to discuss their award winning initiatives. The series, which started last week, will continue each week leading up to the WCET Annual Meeting in October, where we will honor the WOW winners at an awards ceremony. There’s still time to register to join us in Portland!

Today we are joined by the Chief Academic Officer and Provost of Colorado Technical University, Connie Johnson, who is here to tell us all about the CTU Faculty App. Congratulations on your WOW Award (their second award by the way!) and thank you for taking the time to tell us more about this incredible technology!

Enjoy the read and enjoy your day,

– Lindsey Downs, WCET

In higher education, faculty engagement with a university’s latest technology advancements may serve to fuel the fire for additional participation from students. Because over 90% of students at Colorado Technical University take classes online and the majority of on-campus students also participate in the virtual classroom, CTU’s journey with mobile applications started with the implementation of a student-facing app in 2016.Screen shot showing the login page for the CTU Facutly app on a smartphone screen. It says "Welcome CTU FAcutly" and has a field of Username and password, with a sign in button below.

The goal of CTU Mobile was to provide personalized and convenient access to courses and university resources on the go. It was designed to help students stay connected to their education anytime, anywhere with a smartphone or tablet. CTU Mobile was honored with a 2016 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award for implementing innovative and effective, technology-based solutions in higher education.

Development for University Faculty

Stemming from the excitement, success, and positive momentum of the student mobile app, CTU made it a priority to invest in a similar on-the-go experience for its faculty. With the launch of the CTU Faculty app in early 2018, online and campus instructors can engage with their courses and connect with students directly from their mobile devices. The response to the app was remarkably positive!

A screen shot of the assignment section of the CTU FAculty app. This shows "unit 1" and the top and dates (8/15 - 8/23) Unit 1 included several discussion board assignment with questions. The example photo sits in front of a red ribbon which says "see all assignments"."

Some CTU faculty shared the following insights about the app:

  • I find the app very helpful to stay connected when I am away from my computer. I use it to answer intellipathTM messages and question queries and to push intellipathTM
  • “I use the mobile app because I am always on the go. I can participate in discussion boards on my lunch break, make announcements, respond to students, etc. while I’m waiting at an appointment.”
  • I use the app to check my messages from the messenger, email students with LDA (last date of attendance), posting some announcements, and responding to discussion board postings.”

A total of 732 out of 1,180 CTU faculty members downloaded and used the app, with an adoption rate of 62%. Overall, CTU faculty have spent 1,048 hours of time in the app since its release in 2018.

Faculty App Features

An example of how faculty use the app to post announcements. A Screen shot showing "create announcement" with a field for entering a title (the example says "Discussion board follow-up") the body of the announcement, and settings, including "set as high priority, post to other current class, and post now." faculty can also schedule a date to post the announcement.

The CTU Faculty app allows university instructors to access an overview of their classes and countdowns to scheduled next meeting times or live chats. Course views show past or current assignments and let faculty members know what areas of the classroom may need attention through dynamic countdown notifications. Faculty can also view due dates, discussion boards, and submitted assignments as well as post class announcements quickly and efficiently. University instructors can even schedule or update live chats and view key student details from the palm of their hand.

An example showing how to send an email in the faculty app. This example shows fields that can be filled in with "to" and "from," and a setting to select which accounts should be used to email from.

“Central to CTU’s mission is our support of students and faculty through technology,” shared Chief Academic Office and Provost Dr. Connie Johnson.

“CTU’s mobile application was designed specifically to provide faculty with the tools that faculty requested to provide access and engagements with students anytime through their mobile devices.”

Winning the 2018 WOW Award

CTU is honored to be recognized by WCET with a 2018 WOW award for the CTU Faculty app, further solidifying and affirming the university’s goal to provide industry-relevant higher education to a diverse student population through innovative technology and experienced faculty. CTU President, Andrew H. Hurst, shared, “The CTU Faculty app enables our faculty to better access their courses and thus provide a more positive overall student experience.”

President Hurst continued, “A key priority for CTU includes frequently investing in ways to improve the student journey, and we believe this forward-thinking mentality will allow its students and CTU as a whole to continue to achieve success and improve student outcomes.”

Implementing Technology Tools for Your University

What are the lessons that CTU learned during the journey with the faculty mobile app?

  • Faculty feedback is critical to the success of implementation,
  • Make changes early in the implementation cycle to address usability issues,
  • Communicate successes and challenges to faculty during the rollout process,
  • Find faculty who are champions and provide them the opportunity to tell their ,story
  • Be open to uses of the application that you had not considered during development.

Most importantly, CTU’s faculty informed the design and usability of the app and continue to teach university leaders how the application can assist instructors with their work with students. In the words of one CTU faculty member:

I use the mobile app because I am always on the go. I can participate in discussion boards on my lunch break, make announcements, respond to students, etc. while I’m waiting at an appointment. I use it while my husband is driving so I can focus on our activities when we reach our destination. The app is also helpful in quickly identifying students that aren’t participating in class and the students who are at risk of being dropped notifications are helpful.” 

As with any technology implementation, faculty are essential to the success of the technology adoption and have contributed to the success of the CTU Faculty app.

author headshot Connie Johnson
Constance Johnson
Chief Academic Officer/Provost
Colorado Technical University



Author Biography: Connie Johnson, Ed.D., is Colorado Technical University’s Chief Academic Officer and Provost, working with both online and ground degree programs. She has oversight of academic affairs, including faculty, curriculum, classroom experience, and accreditation. During her time at CTU, Johnson has initiated adaptive learning technology implementation, leading academics through change, and effective technology implementation in the online classroom including the promotion of academics, faculty and student engagement through social media. Connie also serves as a peer evaluator and team chair for the Higher Learning Commission, and is a member of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) and was recently appointed as an ACAO Digital Fellow. Her educational background includes a Doctorate of Education, organizational leadership emphasis (2010), and a Master of Business Administration in management (1991) from Nova Southeastern University; and a Bachelor of Science with honors in criminal justice from Florida State University.

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