These are notes from a talk by Mark Mazelin and Joshua Erlandson titled “Personalizing the New-Student Onboarding Experience” during the HighEdWeb 2015. Cedarville University

These are notes from a talk by [Mark Mazelin]( and [Joshua Erlandson]( titled "Personalizing the New-Student Onboarding Experience" during the HighEdWeb 2015. Cedarville University

View Presentation:

  • Onboarding without Waterboarding (hahaha)
  • Why: the common goal is to move admitted students to matriculated students – to get them to board our train.
  • Change from a static site to a more dynamic and relational site.
  • Solution Key Tenants
    • Create our own private Facebook groups
    • Create a device-agnostic website
    • Centralize communication
    • feature their personal counselor
  • High School student Confusion: how do students want to be communicated to during the onboarding process? A personalized portal experience

Phase 1

  • Create a private Facebook group
    • establish community
    • increase relational touch points
    • got good participation
  • Some hurdles:
    • Normal vs App/Game group (used App/Game group)
    • You cannot just add users, the user has to authorize this action.

Phase 2

  • Communication and Personalization
  • Mapped out the rough wireframe and task flow
    • Four basic sections: quicklinks to resources, their admissions counselor, announcement section, then the personalize to do list of tasks.
  • Incorporated most of the original ideas into final product
  • Support for task dependencies
  • Tasks can be delivers on certain criteria (commuter, etc.)
  • Tasks that can autocomplete
  • Created layouts Desktop screenshot
  • Ending: Pilot Group: Selection of incoming students that we knew would come even if their MyCedarvill experience bombed.

Phase 3: Production

  • Surveyed the incoming class that went through the application.
  • Many of the students that came to campus ended up using the portal often.
  • Half gave their login to their parents.
  • Most connected with the Facebook group.
  • Email, Postcard and Texts were used to encourage people to log into the portal. Email was the most responded to and viewed as the most helpful.
  • Overall, the response was positive to the portal.
  • Communication plan phased in the tasks (so they weren’t all in there at the start).

Version 2 and What’s Next

  • Added more Google Analaytics event tracking
  • Expanded to handle future terms more gracefully.
  • Expanded to handle no valid applications.
  • Starting much earlier (fall instead of winter).
  • Rework the UI and backend (aiming for AngularJS and API which will enable a mobile app).
  • Broaden the types of notifications they can send (Facebook/Twitter/Text/Push/etc.)

Key Takeaways

  • Integrate Social media at a deeper level
  • Increase relational touch points
  • Evaluate data that can be personalized

– KS
Web Developer at Benedictine University near Chicago