Empowering Student-to-Student Support with Q&A Communities

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Katy Kappler, Co-Founder and CEO of InScribe joined the podcast to talk about the power of student-to-student engagement, and how institutions can think about facilitating it this fall.

They did a survey this spring ofstudents that had moved online due to Qorta virus and eighty five percent ofthe students reported that one of the challenges that they face, Hewas justmissing, having regular interaction with their friends, their classmatesand with the faculty you're listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to Enroman GrowthUniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWolson with helics education and we're here today with Katy Keler, cofounderand CEO of inscribed, Katiye welcomed to the show thanks Eric I'm happy to behere so excited for you to be here and talk with us today about the power ofstudents to student support and how we need to be thinking about helping tofacilitate that this fall before we dig in. Can you geve the listeners a littlebit better understanding of Inscribe Yeah? Absolutely so inscribe is acollaboration platform that is really designed to wrap around continentcurriculum and leverages the power of community and a little bit ofartificial intelligence to help connect students with answers and resources andindividuals so that they can feel connected and be more successful incollege love. It Kati with colleges feverishly scrambling to move in classinstruction online. You believe we may be overlooking, and equallycriticalissyou figuring out how we can replicate student to student supportonline yeah. So, if you think about it, the learning that students do in theclassroom is really it's, obviously an important piece, but it's really justone piece of the experience that you have in college college is also so muchabout the connections that students make outside of the classroom and thosemight be connections with other students. They could also beconnections with staff like your advisors, your administrativeleadership and your teachers, of course, and these relationships that studentsfiled they're really vital to helping students stay on track and besuccessful like they provide the place for students to turn. When things gettough, that's the trusted ear that they go to when they have a challenge. It'salso just an opportunity for like Camaraderie and fun and remember thatwhat students do in the classroom is what I would refer to as requiredengagement right. They are told to interact with each other. They aregraded on the conversations that they're having, but when students areoutside of the classroom, all those interactions are voluntary, and whatthat means is that they're, driven by...

...what the students really interested intheir reflections of the students, personality their aspirations, and whenthat is missing, then you are missing a huge part of what the collegeexperience is really meant to be. This is reflected they did a survey, thisspring of students that had moved online due to corotavirus and eightyfive percent of the students reported that one of the challenges that theyface was just missing, having regular interaction with their friends, theirclassmates and with the faculty that they were used, tof being in thehallway. So it's a real problem. I also add, though, that at it isn't a problem.That's sort of unique to this point in time. Online programs have struggledfour years from the inception to really think about how to create this outsideof the classroom, engagement experience and we actually, we created in Sprid,specifically because we saw how much energy was going into innovating andreplicating the classroom in a digital way, but very little thought of energywas going into how to facilitate tbat engagement outside the classroom, andwe really knew like this is a space where we could really help institutionsand, by extension, help students to have a more fully formed collegeexperience when they're learning online. So let's say, institutions are on boardwith the need and and the benefit. How should they think about community rightnow and fatilitating community right now, when inperson activities are solimited yeah? So it's funny because I will say that there are so manyadvantages and benefits to creating a digital space for community and thoseadvantages, although they are really really important right now. They alsosome of these advantages come into play, even when you are learning face to face,there's a lot of ways that digital communities help students andinstitutions be more successful. So one example of that is digital communities,simplify the process and the experience of getting help and connecting withpeople so think about it, and even in the best of times when a student has aquestion or meeds help, they very rarely know where to go. Is it therecistrarrs? It's the burser? Should I ask my roommate, you know it's acomplicated landscape and students get shucfled around. It often takes them along time to figure out and land in the right place and that's at the best it'sfrustrating, but it werse. Sometimes it will actually students will just giveup and end up not finding the help or resource that they need today, with somuch change facing everybody on campus. That confusion is amplified. You know ahundred fold, but what happens when you have a digital community space? Is Youcan you can essentially aggregate all of the support, resources andconversations into a single location? So it doesn't matter what the studentsquestion is or what it's about. They have one place, that they know thatthey can go and find the people that they need to provide that wos that theanswer on that response, another sort...

...of key advantage that we see withdigital communities, is there they're always available. Now this is alwaysyou know. This is something that institutions who serve big populationsof nontraditional students have been thinking about for a long time. Youknow we have two thirds of our students who are working while they are learning.We have a quardoro students who have kids at home, and so these studentsthey have always needed a space that is more flexible and allows them toconnect in easier ways and outside of normbal business hours. Now that wehave sort of the situation that we have,this fall with so many students returning in he new environment andonline environment. You can guarantee that they are also going to faceschedules that are much more complicated than they were before,whether they have not had to take on jobs or whether they're living at homeand the home life is creating complication. These students are alsogoing to be looking for flexibility in how they interact with each other andwith their institution. So now, if that student is, you know, working at nightor maybe they're learning on the weekend, and they want to reach out andconnect with somebody they're not having to wait until the next businessday or the next zoom meeting that scheduled to be able to raise theirhand and get that support and chances are if they turn to a digital space.Somebody else is also online and working at that time and they're likelyto be able to connect and get support much more quickly and more fluidly. Thelast thing I would say is you know. I really encourage schools to think abouthow much they can learn from the interactions that are taking place in adigital community. Most of the time, the way that institutions gatherfreeback and learn about you know how students are feeling and what they need.It comes from surveys, then, maybe the survey is deployed twice a semester oronce a semester, but on the one hand, survey responses are not great, soyou're only gathering information from a really small portion of the studentpopulation and by the time you've got it, looked through it aggregated it.The opportunity sort of intervene with whatever students are reporting hasprobably passed. So it's just a very reactive, slow process. On the otherhand, a digital community creates a space for what is essentially real time.Feedback to the institution. Students are raising their hand at the momentand letting you know what they're thinking and feeling, either throughthe questions that they're posting to the school or just through theconversations are having with each other. You can learn a ton about whatthey're excited about what they're worried about what challenges they'refacing, and you can respond immediately with real time help and and real timesupports to help mitigate those challenges. You got a few reallycritical things there that I want to circle back on this, this criticalconcept of community and how important it is also we're about to usher backstudents who have more questions than ever before and coming back to anIstution that might have less answers...

...than ever before. Talk about how youthink about what you've called Q Anda communities and how they specificallycan be communities designed to improve that student to student support yeah.So I a hundred percent agree wewere. The world is even more complex anduncertain now than it's ever been, so the amount of interaction and need forthese kinds of spaces is even higher. When we think about a successfulcommunity or communty that really drives student engagement, we tend totalk to our institutions about a set of best practices that Tutally honestwysort of borrowed a little bit from your first year marketing class, and we talkabout the four peecs of success, ind community. In our case, what we reallymean by that is purpose place people and plan, and so, when we work with aninstitution, we will touch on east of each of these and the importance ofhaving a strategy there. So just at a high level, you know purpose is what itis. I exactly what it sounds like. What is the purpose and goal of thecommunity? And although that sounds really simple, it actually is somethingthat gets missed a lot, and you can't just put up a community and expect itto you could take off and be running. You really have to clear with thestudents about what the goal is, why they should go there, what they'regoing to get from it you're essentially commuting the value proposition of thecommunity to the student and and why it's important for them, and you set upyour community to reflect that value proposition and by doing this byestablishing at Teir purpose, you're also signaling to them that you reallythought about it and it's a place that they can rely on and trust goingforward, and that is going to be one of the foundations for getting students togo in there and engage and and engage with each other place is really justabout access. How are students get into this thing? How are they discovering it?You could have the most amazing, you know community in the world, and ifpeople don't know where it is or if it's sixteen clicks deep to get therenobody's going to go. So we encourage a concept that we refer to as communityin context, which really just means put the community where the students arealready going. So your websites emails that you're sending out your learningmanagement system. Your portal create many access points and make it so whenthe student feels like they want to engage when they have that question,it's likely that the community is just to CLICP away from wherever theyalready are. The third best practice that we talk about is people and, ofcourse the community is nothing if it is not made up of people, and studentsare the focus most of the time. Students are the focus of thesecommunities, but also you want to be thoughtful about having somebody one or two people whoreally are playing the role of community manager and are helping thecommunity get off the ground. Nothing kills. The momentum of a community likethe first twe students come in, they share they're, asking questions, andthen it's crickets and nobody's reponding and that's natural when acommunityis first getting started,...

...you're not going to have a ton ofpeople in there. So, just you know not only is that student that post thequestion now feeling a bit dismayed and like sort of left behind they putthemselves out there and they didn't get anything back for it, but otherstudents will come in and see these orphaned questions you know, so we justencourage. Have a community monitor, have somebody who's been designated tokeep that engagement going in the early days, while the students are buildingtheir trust and and then they will pick up the ball and run with it, especiallyin terms of interacting with each other good news is, it is not a huge task. Weget that question a lot honestly. We would tell the themanagers of the communities one to two hours a week, maybe just to stay on topof things and keep it going, and you would you'll see a tremendous benefitfrom that and then the last thing I'll just touch on is plan and that's reallysimple. How are you letting people know about it? Make sure you tell peopleabout the community again and what it's for, and you can do, that throughannouncements or email, but really what you're trying to do is show thestudents that you're excited about this concept. You're really excited aboutthe opportunity, and that will be infectious and they'll get excitedabout it too. So it's not a ton of work, but if you're just a little thoughtfulin these four areas, you can get your community running and start to get thatPerod of pear engagement that you're looking for. I love the thoughtfulnessthat needs to go into this to to do this right and create this activecommunity. How about the thoughtfulness on the institutional side, in terms ofwhere should this live, where's the governance who's responsible for this?WHAT LINE ITEM is this? Is: Do you see QNA communities, primarily as acustomer service offload or more of a student to student engagement tool? SoI'm going to cheat on my answer here, a little bit because in my experience andwhere we've seen them really thrive, it's both- and this is really important becauseyour students are going to come to you with different goals and differentexpectations. And so you want to make a space that really meets the needs ofboth sets of those students. So, on the one hand you always have students whoare very practical, they have a question. They need an answer. Theywant to know, there's a place to turn. They don't want to have to dig througha bunch of stuff and so just making sure that the community really is setup in a way that they can get to that information really quickly and easily,and that the right support teams are sitting behind the community to providethose answers. Not On the other hand, you have thestudents that are really thinking about it from a social standpoint and they'rereally craving connection. So these are students who are looking to find peoplewith similar backgrounds and experienences their students that wantto tell their story and talk about things that are exciting or worrying,and here beed back from other other people, and so in the community makesure that you're also creating spaces...

...which encourage students to speak upand connect with one another and share information with each other. You knowyou really cannot underestimate how important it is for students,especially students, learning at a distance, to hear from each other andto see themselves in their classmates. And it's you know so many studies haveshown how creating that sense of belonging, especially early on forstudents, not only helps them be more successful in education, but it's thetype of confidence builder t a that continues to provide benefits evenafter graduation. So you know, then one other thing I'll say so you do want tocreate a system that has the practical tactical side. This social componentside and what's interesting, is you'll, find that, although these two groupswill come to you with very different kind of initial ideas and goals in mindby combining the experiences into a single community, they will start tobleed over into the other area. So students that came just for answersthey'll see the social stuff. That's going on and oftentimes be drawn intoit and start to participate or the students that were just there. Hersocial they'll see that, oh, I didn't even realize I had that question ordidn't know the answer to that thing and start to bat it so it's nice tohave them Qoe, combined, because you really essentially add value to bothgroups that they maybe didn't even know that they were looking for initiallyany success stories that you can point to in terms of how these kinds of QNAcommunities can help impact things like persistence and retention, rats, yeahand, of course, persistence, rettention always top of mind, especially today.But I will say: That's not the only success measure that our customers arelooking at, so well give you a couple of examples that touch in kind of a fewdifferent areas. Certainly on the on the success side, one of the schools that we worked withTe were really keen to reimagine the first year experience for theirstudents and, in particular, help them navigate through some of the placesthat first years tend to get tripped up, for example, math class, which can be astopout for a lot of students for a number of reasons, and so they putinscribed in place as a way for again going back to our previous. You knowthe previous question practical help. I don't understand aspect of this. I needhelp with my learning, but also a place to go for motivation and to keepencouraging them when times get tough and you're, not in this alone and whatthey saw was in just one year. They improved the success rates for studentsby almost twenty percent. Well, a huge uptick with some really simpletechniques. Now other schools, theyre they're, more focused on things likeengagement and satisfaction. They just want to know students are using it andthat they like it, and with that in mind, it is not uncommon for us to seeengagement rates that are in the Eih. Ninety percent range- and you knowinspribe, is not a required platform.

It's generally voluntary to participate,and so to have that level of engagement is really really high, and, coupledwith that, and we do survey our students periodically the students thatare using inscribe and we got back in the most recent survey. Eighty fivepercent of student said that they highly valued inscribe and actuallywished. It was incorporated an more aspects of their womn. For that, and then one final thing you know,depending on the school time savings helping support staff is something thatpeople really think about, and we had one school report back to us thatinscribe helped save their support staff, H, W toecrease, the time,support staff or spending on sort of general QNA activities by forty percentand we've estimated just in the last year, through the engagement, but we'veseen on the platform that we've helped our customers save over sixty fivehundred hours of support staff time, which you know now they can spend onmore critical and kind of higher levels. Dudent interaction, really fastnatings,tough Katie. Any final next steps advice: You can leave us forinstitutions, hearing this thinking, boy yeah. How can we help betterfacilitate student to student support, especially this year? Where should theystart Welli'll? Just I'll give thim a couple of piece of advice? One is it isnot as hard as you think. I think when people think about setting up acommunity and a system like this, it can feel a little overwhelming. Itdoesn't have to be that way and if you're working with the right partner,they can bring a lot of best practices and strategies for do, for example, andwe we can get people oand running in less than a week as a starting place.So don't be shied away by thinking that it's just too big of a task to take onthe other piece is sort of coupled with that is, don't you don't have to boilthe ocean? You know you don't have to start out with communities that cutacross the entire institution. Hicka usecase or a demographic of studentslike, for example, maybe want to focus around onboarding and orientation, ormaybe you want to focus around first generation students. You know pick anarea where you really want to move the needle and make an impact and juststart there, and you can always expand out over time and then the last thing Iwill say is trust your students and empower yourstudents. Youknow really give them the space to have conversations in these communitiesand play leadership roles. If you've got student, mentors or studentleadership groups bring them in. As community leaders and managers to helprun, the communityes will be so impressed by the leadership rules thatthey will take on and the impact that they can have for each other. To thankso much of your time and your thoughts day. What's the best place forlisteners to connect with you, they have any follow up questions yeah.Obviously, so thank you and the best place to learn more about inscribe. IsYou can visit our website, which is inscribed appcom at where you can feelFreto emailist at hello, at inspread,...

...afcom and we'd be happy to get back toyou and share some more information. Awesome thanks, Givin, so much forjoining us today. Katy thanks. So much eric is great chatting with youattracting today's new post. Traditional learners means adopting newenrolmant strategies. Keelics educations data driven enterprise, wideapproach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helex has justpublished the second edition of their enrolment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing andromant growth challenges download it today for free at helocks.EDUCATIONCOM playbook you've been listening to enromintgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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