By: 
Thomas W. Durso
Honoree: 
University of San Diego

For most high schoolers, it’s mom or dad nagging them to get to school on time, keep track of assignments and meet assignment deadlines.

For University of San Diego students, it’s their phone that keeps them focused.

Administrators saw an opportunity in the overwhelming prevalence of mobile devices on campus to help students become independent.

“We wanted to create something to help empower students to understand and help them with their daily lives,” says Avi Badwal, senior director of enterprise technologies.

That something is Insight, an app built on the iOS platform that lets students organize coursework, extracurricular activities and personal tasks. Built specifically for University of San Diego students, Insight auto-creates categories based on class schedules and also has a smart class planner, color-coded workload views and task alerts.

Administrators are using Google Analytics to collect data on usage and most popular features, and then correlating that data to academic performance.

The initiative grew out of a recognition that students away from home for the first time face challenges managing their schedule without a parent around to lend a hand, university officials say. They hope to add features to Insight and to create additional apps that improve academic performance.

The goal was to empower students to take more responsibility for their personal experience at the university, says Christopher W. Wessells, vice provost and chief information officer.

“None of that really existed in the marketplace,” Badwal says of Insight’s features.

And now? Well, there’s an app for that.

Success Data Points

  • 30%: University of San Diego students who use Insight
  • 80%: Insight users who have found it extremely valuable
  • 50,000: Completed tasks, as of early October, assigned through Insight