Beyond Retention: SupportingStudent Success Through Technology
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Beyond Retention: SupportingStudent Success Through Technology

Eric Stortz, Senior Director of Information Technology, DeVry University
Eric Stortz, Senior Director of Information Technology, DeVry University

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 is 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.

 DeVry offers 24/7/365 on-demand tutoring services and a student peer-to-peer community 

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.

DCE has proven to be extremely effective in reaching students. Email nudge campaigns have shown open/view rates of ~ 50% up to 76% and click rates of 3% up to 17%. Mobile app push alerts have shown delivery/read rates of >50% while nudges via our Canvas LMS pop-ups have shown view rates of 77% to 90%. 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 62% of students opening the nudge and 16% of those who opened the email have conducted tutoring. This resulted in > 80% of those using tutoring improving their assignment grade and finally, 96% 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.

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