Advancements in technology are commonplace in the world of higher education. However, attention to these changes is largely limited to the classroom. Not enough consideration is given to the overall impact technology could across college student services. Improved technology helps not only the students, but it also makes for a university that functions smoothly and efficiently at all levels.
The Time Bind
Technology is the wave of the future, so it seems logical that most schools would embrace new ways of thinking. Yet, the overworked administrative staff at many universities don’t feel they have the time or the resources to change the way they operate. As a result, everyone loses. Staff becomes more frustrated, student needs get lost in the shuffle, and unhappiness can potentially become widespread.[Tweet “It’s proven that the right technology can make a huge difference on college campuses.”]
It’s a shame, because it’s been proven that the right technology can make a huge difference on college campuses.
Universities that have used student data to identify potentially at-risk students have seen a dramatic increase in efficiency and student engagement. These students have received better service and advice because of this insight. In the end, both grades and graduation rates increased.
Financial aid departments that have embraced new technology for award letters have succeeded at lowering student borrowing, such as Western Governors University (WGU). WGU used the AwardLetter platform to reduce student borrowing by 93 million while increasing enrollment by 18% in the first year alone.
Can Colleges Keep Up?
Leading colleges and universities understand that changing with the times, particularly as it relates to technology, is key to enhancing the student experience. Over the years, we’ve seen the classroom become increasingly digital, to the point that the physical classroom itself is obsolete in many cases. Of course, there’s more to a students life than what goes on in the classroom. The entire university must be up to technology par in order to meet student expectations.
For example, consider the traditional methods for contacting students. Modern students are averse to phone calls, and even social media has its limitations; after all, not every student follows their school departments online.
According to the New York Times, many students would prefer text messages for need-to-know notifications, such as changes to in-class assignments. However, most schools still use email as their go-to method for communication. While email may be easier for the school’s employees, they’d likely get a much better response rate if they sent important communications through a text messaging system. Such a system would increase student engagement, ensuring that messages are received and attended to immediately.
A Connected Staff
Fortunately, there seems to be an increased space for more modern and conventional ways to handle student services. Many colleges, such as Texas Christian University, have begun to adopt a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy that allows staff members to be connected at all times, on the very devices that they know best. In this way, administration can quickly field student requests and attend to urgent matters.
BYOD is just one way in which today’s technology-based mindset can spill over into the working world. An effective embrace of technology can be the best of both worlds, helping students while making the lives of administrators and office staff much easier. The confluence of these developments can help make a school much more attractive to students, increasing student satisfaction while improving the school’s stature among prospective students.
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