Self-Service Enrollment Platforms for Post-Traditional Students

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Lesley Nichols, Executive Director of Professional Studies at Emerson College, returned to the show to talk about both the student and administrative friction removed from moving to a self-service enrollment platform for their continuing education programs.

Is In higeredthere's a reluctance toview students or perspective students as customers, but ultimately they arecomparison, shopping, 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 unromant growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWolson with heelic education and were here today with Lesliey NiggosExecutive Director of professional studies at Emerson College Leslie.Welcome back to the show, Hey Eric thanks for having me so excited for youto come back and talk with us today about developing a self service,enrolment platform for your post, traditional students. Before we diginto that, can you remind the listeners...

...a little about Emerson College Jangerrule there? Yes, absolutely Emerson College is a Master's granting institution, aprivate college located in the City of Boston and my department. Anprofessional studies focuses primarily on nontraditional learners. Everythingfrom adult larners working professionals, high school students andprecollege programs and then credit bearing and noncredit certificateprograms to help build skills or prepare for a career change and boydidn't kind of all of our students become nontraditional students thispast year, Leslie, I'm so excited to talk about that and more maybe to kickus off today. Can you give us just a high level of review on this project ofcreating a self service, enrolment platform at Emerson, sure yeah? So thisis actually been a project in the making for a couple of years now, atleast in the discussion stages, and...

...then we started implementing in earnestin the fall of two thousand and nineteen serendipitously. It ended uplaunching to the public the same week that the college went remote this pastspring due to Covid, so we launched selfservice platform literally one daybefore we all departed from the campus for an entire year. So good timing onour part- and I think it has worked out well for the students we serve as well-nostrodamus nickels for Shure Leslie. Can you walk us through the studentside? Friction that the self service platform removes from the traditionalstudent in Roman experience, yeah. Absolutely I think you know students face the O, many institutionsof higher education, where you have multiple systems. Those systems don'talways speak to one another, and especially, if you happen to be anexternal student, so someone working on...

...a professional program, you may nothave the same access that a campus student would have, for instance, forregistration for payment forbilling for different services, so this effort wasreally to try and create a more Amazon like shopping experience. So someonewho, for instance, you know, does not have previous experience. Working orstudying a emberson college, you know, would have access to the type ofservices they need in a very friendly format, so you were reducing thatlearning curve and making it resemble much more of a typical online retailshopping experience yeahand. How about from your teams standpoint? Is therealso an administrative lift removed from your staff? There is, and that wasalso a significant hympotist for the project- is really kind of removing alot of the manual tasks that we've had...

...to accomplish. Due to having multiplesystems of record, so the effort for this particular project was not only tolaunch the selfservice system for students, but also to Integra with himin the backend systems that the college uses for record keeping for payingbills for grading. You jus, O everything thatyou see is part of that student experience. So a big part of thisproject was also looking at the different business processes that weemploy to handle the work we do on a daily basis, getting rid of a lot ofpaperwork manual, data entry and particularly having one point of entryfor a curriculum and for student information which reduces errors, andit also creates a more streamlined workflow for our staff. So I know manyof our listeners. Listening are envious. Jealous of this end game that you're atright now, this time lift that the...

...platform saves. But let's talk aboutthe lift that was required for your team to get there. What did thatinvestment look like? So this was definitely a team effort. Wecollaborate with a lot of different departments across the college, and oneof the biggest portions of this implementation was figuring out. Howcan we make this more efficient not only for my office, but also for thepartners that we work with? So there were a lot of meetings up front toreally take a look at how we do business, how we collect informationand how we can make sure that these systems are seemlessly talking to oneanother so that everyone can get access to the data points they need. Of course,you know the nuts and bolts of starting a project of this magnitude involvesyou, ow departments like her purchasing negotiating contracts, putting togetheran IT team to determine how long the project will last and then pullingtogether all of the different stake holders and what was turned out to be avery busy time kind of leading up to...

...moving remote for covid and how we pulleveryone together in a room either in person or virtually to work through thedifferent aspects of this project and be sure it goes smoothly. And on timeyou talked about moving to this. More Amazonian, like experience, let's talkabout the benefits of making sure that our inroman experiences are morecomparable to the commerce experiences that are adult. Students are utilizingwhen traversing the rest of the Internet. You've been live for a yearnow, any initial numbers that you can cite regarding conversion or funnelimprovements because of your new platform yeah. It's kind of aninteresting question, because you know prior to the launch of this selfserviceplatform, it was hard actually getting the data to be able to make those typesof Yo know identifications of success. You know so, for instance, you know oneof the biggest things we've consolidated is moving from acompletely separate content management...

...system for posting. The courses on herwebsite moving that together inside of aselfservice system, so that the registration piece, the payment peaceand the sort of web information piecis all combined. So we didn't have really good datapreviously, for instance, if a student came to our website, they found acourse they were interested in. They would then have to click a linkthat took them to a totally separate payment site to process their creditcard. So we had no way of gathering data to know beyond clicking that link.Did they actually make a purchase? Did they add items to their shopping cardand then give up or did they follow through, and you know, convert to afulltime student, so we simply didn't have that data, but now that we've been live for a year,this is all really encompassed into one...

...system. So, for instance, I can run areport to show me how many people put something in theirshopping cart. You know, of course, or two that they were interested in howmany of them followed through and made that purchase. How many abandon theircart in the system can be programmed to actually send out automatic emails tostudents who have items in their carts similar to what you would find onAmazon or other retailers to remind that individual: Hey. Did you forgetsomething in your cart? This class may sell out so come on back and completeyour purchase, and now we actually have real data that can tell us how successful we arein those efforts. Similarly, you know and working with our digital ad agency,we can start to have real tracking data to see you know how effective oradvertising campaigns are. Are they resulting in Click throughs, but alsoare they resulting in a return on our inpestment for those conversions,Leslie love it. Finally, any next step...

...advice for institutions listening tothis jealous considering selfservice and Roman platforms at their owninstitution. Where should they start first, you know I say: There's twomajor things: one is to really look at it from a customers standpoint and Ithink, sometimes in highered, there's a reluctance to view students orperspective students as customers, but ultimately they are comparison,shopping, they're, looking not only at the curriculum, the price point, thereputation of the institution but they're. Also, looking at thatexperience, you know how easy is it to sign up for a class? How easy is it tofind the information they need to make a decision? So you really have to putyourselves in the shoes of a perspective learner to build a system,that's going to meet their needs and then, on the back end of things. Ithink you have to look at how you do your work. You know. So howdo you...

...manage the registration process? Howmany people are involved? How many different departments are involved in?What kind of Dita do you collect and really take a hard look at? How you dothings and determine? Is there a better way that we can do this? Is there waywe can streamline it, and how can we use the software not simply toreplicate the way we're doing things now, but actually to improve our livesand make us more productive and effective? Plesle thinks so much forjoining us today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you, ifthey have any follow up questions Oso listeners are welcome. To connect withme directly. My email address is lesliey under score: Nichols AdemersonDat Edu Cossome, thanks against so much for joining us today. Leslie. Thank youArik. I appreciate it attracting today's new post, traditional learnersmeans adopting new enromant strategies. helics educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new...

...education, landscape and Helex has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing and romant growth challenges download it today for free at Helocks,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (224)