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Beyond Retention: Supporting Student Success through Technology
Eric Stortz, Senior Director of Information Technology, Devry University
Nearly all higher education institutions are challenged to help all students persist and graduate. DeVry University embraces a culture of CARE for our students that are predominantly delivered by faculty and advisors to encourage student persistence. And while faculty and advisors are fantastic resources for our students, it is difficult to reach and engage students at the right time, particularly when they need it most. Therefore, helping them engage with helpful resources at the relevant moment is critical to improving student academic success and persistence.
To drive student behaviors that lead to student persistence, we also embraced the Fogg Behavior Model . Promoted by Stanford University professor, Dr. BJ Fogg, it indicates three elements: Motivation, Ability, and Prompt (or a nudge) must converge at the same moment for the individual to act on the behavior.
With that in mind, DeVry worked to amplify its culture of CARE through the use of technology. Digital CARE Engine or DCE is used to provide an automated digital nudging and campaign capability
that complement our faculty and advisors to drive greater student adoption and usage of these impactful resources to yield greater student persistence and overall success.
For instance, DeVry offers 24/7/365 on-demand tutoring services and a student peer-to-peer community. Through DCE, DeVry sends nudges to students to encourage them to take advantage of tutoring, after receiving a low assignment grade or when approaching a known challenging assignment or course. As these nudges need to be highly relevant to students and carry a motivational component, DeVry’s IT department queries existing systems to identify only those students who would clearly benefit from a nudge versus generic messaging to all students. Afterward, DeVry utilizes emails, in-app pop-ups, SMS texts to reach those students through multi-channel methods and sent nudges on behalf of the course’s professor or support advisor versus a generic no-reply email address.
While faculty and advisors are fantastic resources for our students, it is difficult to reach and engage students at the right time, particularly when they need it most
DCE has proven to be extremely effective in reaching students. Email nudge campaigns have shown open/view rates of ~ 50 percent up to 76 percent and click rates of 3 percent up to 17 percent. Mobile app push alerts have shown delivery/read rates of >50 percent while nudges via our Canvas LMS pop-ups have shown view rates of 77 percent to 90 percent. After implementing tutoring nudges, we observed a 6-month-long increase of +79 basis points in tutoring usage. Additionally, a campaign to encourage students to consume tutoring and then resubmit a low-grade assignment for a regrade has been effective with 62pecent of students opening the nudge and 16 percent of those who opened the email have conducted tutoring. This resulted in > 80percent of those using tutoring improving their assignment grade and finally, 96 percent of those students who were nudged and tutored, persisted to graduation or their next session course(s).
DeVry University’s Digital CARE Engine has shown how higher education institutions can deploy technology to help more students succeed academically and persist towards graduation.