Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Meeting Them Where They Are: Using Technology to Engage Students

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Meeting Them Where They Are: Using Technology to Engage Students

Article excerpt

While earning a college degree is always challenging, it can be more difficult for some students than for others. Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that only 20 to 40 percent of students who enroll in a degree program achieve their degrees within a year or two of the program's intended length.

Fortunately, a support hierarchy method of student engagement allows institutions to reach each student through channels and methods designed to have the greatest impact.

With the right methodologies, technology and analytics, it is possible to mass-personalize support in a cost-effective manner.

Matching support to need

Using a support hierarchy approach makes it possible to give every student the specific support and resources he or she needs to succeed while making the most effective use of valuable support staff time.

The idea is simple: Focus support resources where they can do the most good by allocating combinations of high-touch, higher-cost interventions and lower-cost, low-touch interventions.

The process is premised on continuously categorizing students into one of four groups based on both their current need for intensive support and likelihood of engaging with it:

* Low Risk/Low Impactability: low need and a low probability of engagement

* Low Risk/High Impactability: low need and a high probability of engagement

* High Risk/Low Impactability: high need and a low probability of engagement

* High Risk/High Impactability: high need and a high probability of engagement

Personalizing student support

The next step is to define the appropriate mix of six basic types of interventions, ranging from least to most resource-intensive, for each category of student:

1. Automated Nudges

Nudges are messages sent through email, text/SMS, and/or mobile apps (depending on individual student preferences) to large groups of students at predefined intervals to remind them about deadlines, opportunities, productive habits, and resources.

2. Self-Service Support Content

Self-directed resources--like short instructional or informational videos, interactive checklists, document templates, or essential forms--provide students with guidance on key topics and help them develop needed skills. Building this content into web and mobile apps makes it easy for students to access information anytime, anywhere.

3. Transactional Coaching

This type of support is directive, focusing on addressing simple issues. Advisers, coaches or other student support professionals often simply layer a slightly personalized message on top of a piece of content, such as a FAFSA checklist, and give students the option of reaching out for additional information and guidance via text, mobile app or email. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.