You can still contribute to the consultation!

Co-design is Jisc’s collaborative innovation model. Steered by customer priorities, it is designed to exploit new opportunities and address pressing issues in higher and further education through technology.

Jisc is holding a series consultation workshops to discuss how to improve the student lifecycle through digital technology in order to address the ‘from prospect to alumnus’ co-design challenge. Two workshops have already taken place in London and Birmingham, and two more due to take place next week in Newcastle and Glasgow are now closed for registrations.

There is however, still time to contribute to the online consultation which is taking place in parallel. This short survey seeks to capture your experiences of systems across the student lifecycle, and your opinions on where Jisc should focus its efforts going forward.

You can access the online consultation here until Friday 22 August

To find out more about this challenge, see our blog post ‘why this challenge?’, and click here to learn more about Jisc’s other co-design challenges.

Why this challenge?

Higher and Further Education institutions in the UK all state a commitment to listening to students and enhancing the student experience. The student lifecycle has a number of different stages, from pre-application through each part of their experience in the institution to graduation and becoming an alumnus.

There are a number of key transitions in the student lifecycle. Articulating generic transition points is intended to encourage awareness of the stages at which students may be vulnerable, enabling performance and attendance at key times to be monitored.
The improvement in student achievement and/or graduate skills arising from increased and targeted support should lead over the course of time to increases in the number of students progressing to both Higher Education and employment outcomes… (Brady, 2012)

A further complication in streamlining a series of interactions such as the student lifecycle is the huge variation in the missions of institutions, learner types and educational provision. This also makes it hard to develop a sector wide picture. Institutions manage their relationships and communications with students in a variety of ways: face to face, electronic systems for administrative tasks, provision of virtual learning environments, email, social media as well as more traditional written and telephone contact. The tools available to them to do this are also varied, and used to a greater or lesser extent in different institutions.

However, relationships are about people and not systems. Within an institution, academic and administrative functions are co-dependent in providing the student experience. For example, a placements coordinator role could be pivotal in managing the relationship between teaching staff, administrative staff, the placement provider (possibly an alumnus) and the student. Whilst technology can provide a mechanism to facilitate, enhance and manage these relationships, particularly where the placement coordinator role is spread across different people, it cannot replace the human element.

Many institutions already use customer relationship management approaches and technologies to help manage their interactions with external customers. As students also exhibit certain customer attributes, such as paying for a service and expecting higher levels of choice, quality and experience, some institutions have applied commercial techniques, such as service design, to selected stages of the student lifecycle. By placing the student firmly at the heart of the process, it is anticipated that the “overall quality of the student experience, the efficiency and effectiveness of [institutions’] administrative processes and relationships [will contribute] to adding business value and delivering success” (Chambers and Paull, 2008).

The overall objective for exploring the challenge, both for Jisc and the sector, is an improved experience throughout the lifecycle. Furthermore, any developments in student lifecycle interactions will need to be future-proofed against institutional and sector wide change. The consultation currently being carried out should allow us to explore the issues and identify the ‘pain points’ in delivering a streamlined student experience.

Contribute to the P2A consultation – online consultation and workshop registration now open

Join us at one of a series of Jisc consultation workshops and contribute to the discussion about how to improve the student lifecycle through digital technology.

London Tues 29th July only 1 place left
Birmingham Wed 30th July
Newcastle Tues 12th Aug
Glasgow Wed 13th Aug

You are also invited to complete a short online questionnaire on the topic

From initial enquiries right through to graduate employment and alumni, the ‘student’ lifecycle covers all aspects of a student’s interactions with the institution, before, during and after their student life. Information about students throughout this lifecycle is held in multiple systems that are often not joined up, and typically built around the structures and processes of the organisation rather than the needs of students.

Jisc, through its co-design process, seeks input from all stakeholders in better understanding this challenge. A series of events is being held nationally to seek views on how stakeholders, including students, academics, support staff and managers, currently experience this student lifecycle. This will help inform how Jisc will work with the sector to address this challenge through digital technology.

These consultation workshops, from 11am-3pm will be highly participatory, are free to attend, and include lunch and refreshments. Please click on the event links above and complete the booking form to reserve your place.

Introducing the P2A challenge

Organisational information about students is often held in several different systems which are rarely joined-up.

‘From prospect to alumnus’ is one of four key co-design challenges agreed by the Jisc Board 2014-15. Through this area of work Jisc aims to help institutions use all the information they have about students to provide a joined-up digital student experience from pre-application to employment for the 21st century.

Unless a compelling student experience is provided UK Further and Higher Education will lose out to competitors. Current information systems have been built around the structures and processes of the organisation rather than the needs of students. Jisc and its stakeholders understand that there are gaps in capabilities, technologies and processes but we need to explore these gaps further to move towards solutions that can work for the sector.

The aim for the challenge is to link up the student lifecycle, including recruitment, student and alumni services. National shared information services could provide a better student experience, in the process boosting UK recruitment and retention.

The first step for this co-design challenge is to consult with stakeholders to better understand this challenge. Watch out for our next post outlining how you could get involved in informing Jisc how it can work with the sector to address this challenge through digital technology.