By Megan Flanagan
KU students are turning to the MyKU app for more than just information on courses, financial aid and advising. They are using it as a way to engage with the campus community.
The university-moderated app designed for asking questions and keeping up with current events has become a platform where students post about much more than school-related questions.
The MyKU student feed operates much like any social media platform with the ability to post, like, and comment. The feed also resembles other social media platforms because it is dominated by memes and posts about students’ personal lives rather than posts strictly about campus life.
During a one week period last month, there were nearly 300 posts on the feed, an average of about 42 posts per day. Approximately two-thirds of those posts were memes, jokes, and other personal statements unrelated to school.
KU senior Micah Ulicny is one of many students who frequently posts on the student feed.
“I like to post things that are funny, that I think would make people laugh,” Ulicny said. “I feel like people need that levity in their lives; I post whenever I feel like I have something funny enough to post, that isn’t extremely low effort.”
KU freshman Alexander Darlington said he uses MyKU for similar reasons.
“What I post usually varies between posting photos and such that I believe are funny or posting about serious content concerning recent events that I want to share my thoughts on,” Darlington said.
But he also uses it for political reasons.
“When student government elections are currently in session, I usually post about that as well, when it comes to my personal campaign,” Darlington said.
Only people with KU accounts can access the student feed, which creates a discussion space that is completely exclusive to current students. Both Darlington and Ulicny said that this exclusivity is part of what draws them to MyKU as opposed to other social media sites.
Students engage with the platform in many ways. In addition to jokes and personal posts, the largest topics of discussion are questions about campus and promotion of events. Students also turn to the feed to find roommates, buy and sell products, ask about the dining hall menu, search for lost items and ask for help with classes.
Although the majority of posts on the student feed are lighthearted and personal, the most likes are often on posts about serious topics on campus. While personal posts typically get anywhere from zero to five likes and comments, posts about serious current events can get anywhere from 20 to over 70 likes.
Following the accident on Kutztown Road where a student was seriously injured this semester, many students posted well wishes and their own experiences feeling unsafe on the roads around campus. They also offered up suggestions to make the roads on campus safer.
The current version of the MyKU app is designed by Ready Education, a company that specializes in creating platforms for education. The student forum is what sets Ready Education apps apart from other universities’ apps.
Holly Fox, KU’s Director of Enterprise Systems and Web Development, said that this version of the app was introduced in the summer of 2018. The app was introduced so students could have a convenient way to access MyKU services.
Fox said she had no idea that the student feed would be so popular with students. She thinks that students adopting the feed has been very helpful because it allows students to help each other answer questions quickly rather than waiting for an answer from faculty.
The student feed is entirely driven by student engagement, so only time will tell what trends appear next.