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Kirsten Bondzio’s daily life revolves around working with young, motivated people. She works at the Central Student Advisory Service of the University of Paderborn. With more than 20,000 students and about 70 courses of study, it is a heavyweight in the German higher education landscape.
Of course, such a university attracts interest among students from all over Germany. The University of Paderborn organizes an Open Day every year so that students can inform themselves comprehensively, explore departments and experience the campus in person. This event is organized by Kirsten. She has been using an event app from LineUpr since two years. In this interview, she talks about her experience with LineUpr, the advantage of an app compared to paper and how quickly and easily everything is created.
LineUpr: Hello Kirsten. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the University of Paderborn.
Kirsten: The University of Paderborn has about 20,000 students in about 70 degree programs. I work in the Central Student Advisory Service and the main focus of my work is the support of students in their study orientation. This includes the organization of our annual open day, where prospective students can inform themselves about our courses of study through informative presentations, library and laboratory tours, lectures, and information stands around the university.
LineUpr: You use LineUpr for the Open Day of the University of Paderborn. How do you inform students about this event? Which channels and tools do you use for this?
Kirsten: Since the Open Day takes place on a weekday and many of our visitors are groups of pupils or whole classes, we especially inform schools in our area about the event. The schools then decide whether they come as a closed group or exempt individual students from the classroom. In addition, of course, we also use classic press work to publicize our Open Day.
LineUpr: You told me that you currently use printed program booklets and the app in parallel. What added value or advantage does the app have in comparison to the printed booklet?
Kirsten: For us, the app is great, because it allows us to easily enter our program and even announce short-term changes (e. g. room changes) – even on the day itself. But I see the great advantage for our visitors, who can put together an individual daily program from our wide range of offers and can quickly look at their favorites.
LineUpr: How long before the event do you start creating the event app? How much time do you invest in the app?
Kirsten: The program is usually completed about three months before the event and then we start creating the app. The entry of the program points does not take much time. We have used the app for the second time now and really appreciated the auto-completion. This means that, for example, events that had the same title last year are directly suggested when typing. That’s a great time saver.
LineUpr: How do you integrate the app into the event communication? When is the app published and how do you share the app among the students?
Kirsten: We publish the app about two months before the event together with the program in paper form. We refer directly to the app on the program booklet and on posters. We also use the app as a cornerstone for press releases and information letters to schools.
LineUpr: What information and content do you communicate via the app?
Kirsten: We mainly use the app to announce the individual program items at the Open Day, but also to point out special features that are not included in the program booklet. We link in the app, for example, the daily menu of the canteen or explain how to understand the room information.
LineUpr: Do you still use your app after the end of the event?
Kirsten: The feedback survey is a great way to get direct and anonymous feedback on the event. We have not used them yet, but we are planning this feature for next year. We would like to draw the attention of all visitors to the events to the feedback function in order to get as much feedback as possible.
LineUpr: We want to grow daily and offer our customers a better experience, what features do you wish for the app and why?
Kirsten: At the open day, our student councils have info stands in the university foyer and in the program booklet we have a map that shows who is where. It would be nice if there was a way to integrate this stand plan in the app.
LineUpr: Which top three tips would you like to give other organizers when using LineUpr?
Kirsten: Orientate, inform, and try! These are tips or steps that we suggest to prospective students to help them reach a study decision. But that’s exactly what I did before I decided to go with the app:
Orientate: View examples of other events and gain an overview of the possibilities.
Inform: Get in touch with LineUpr and get information. For example, I wanted to know how to enter the data.
Try it: Use the app for an event. We were immediately convinced and even plan to get rid of the printed program booklets in the future.
LineUpr: That’s a great tip. Thank you for the friendly interview, Kirsten. Universities and colleges are an exciting market. Unfortunately, in Germany, most are still very reserved when it comes to apps. In the USA many educational institutions already have their own app. You, as pioneers in this field, are helping other educational institutions to follow this path as well.
We are already looking forward to the next open day.