K-State 360 moves to evolve in its second year of app-hood

Since K-State 360's launch in August 2017, 3,156 students have signed up for the program, and 945 events have been posted. (Courtesy photo by K-State Today)

In the first year of its existence, more than 3,000 students opted in to join the K-State 360 app and attended 945 events hosted by 157 departments and organizations on campus.

The app, introduced to students last fall, was designed to provide students a way to track and communicate campus involvement and engagement.

Kelli Farris, executive director of the Center for Student Involvement, said the app also acts as a navigation system to find current involvement opportunities on campus.

Currently, the program is available to all enrolled undergraduate students on the Manhattan or Global Campus. After downloading the K-State mobile app, students can access the K-State 360 app to find involvement opportunities and track what events or activities they attend.

In the next year, Farris said, K-State 360 will incorporate an incentive program similar to Pocket Points.

“As students complete things, they’ll earn points,” Farris said. “They’ll have the opportunity to decide what those things are that they care about to apply their points to. There’s a possibility that we could look at offering a discount on books as an incentive, which will come over the course of the next year.”

K-State 360 was completely built at K-State, coded and created by university staff.

“It’s an opt-in only program, so we don’t load a whole bunch of students into the system to inflate our numbers,” Farris said. “Last fall, they did a big push during orientation and enrollment to start telling incoming students about what the program is.”

Farris said there is a plan to inform incoming students again this upcoming year by going to K-State First and freshman orientation classes.

“We try to get students when they’re first coming in,” Farris said. “That’s where the most value is, because they can start earning those credits early.”

While the program is available to junior and senior students, it will be more difficult to complete the K-State 360 certification due to time restraints and lack of awareness of the program. However, there is a plan in the works to make the app more useful to upperclassmen.

“We, over the course over the next year, will be working on what we call Phase 2, which is high-impact learning,” Farris said. “This includes education abroad pieces, internships, community service and employment. For juniors, if we developed the program over the next year, they may be able to do those things by the time they’re a senior in order to get that certification, but it will be tough. For seniors, they’re probably not going to be able to complete the certification piece, just because there’s building blocks to get to that point.”

Farris said this fact contributes to the push of educating incoming students about the program.

“We started with those early year students, so we can build them through the program, and can easily complete the program and certification,” Farris said. “Anyone is eligible to use the program; seniors can still go in and track their attendance and get points for those incentives. They just might not necessarily make it to the certification piece.”

Farris also said the app is popular among first-generation students.

“Oftentimes, we know first-generation college students have less knowledge about how to navigate the system, and what K-State 360 does, is it tells them how to navigate the system,” Farris said. “I’ll be really intrigued to have some conversations with first-generation students, and more one-on-one with students to find out what is it about 360 that they’re finding beneficial and how it’s helping their experience.”