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NZ institute digitises int’l orientation

Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology has developed a mobile website to deliver orientation information to international students before they arrive on campus. The strategy has resulted in a higher level of engagement with students and significantly improved the distribution of orientation information, organisers have said.

Unitec held a student services expo to accompany the mobisite, allowing students to “tag in” to each stand which also provided data on what information a student had and hadn’t received.Photo: Unitec.

The service freed up student services staff from answering simple questions and allowed them to focus on more serious issues

The service, delivered via a mobile website developed in collaboration with mixed-media production company Satellite Media, provides orientation materials to international students prior to them commencing their studies and has so far increased the school’s ability to track attendance and utilisation of the information contained in the site.

Additionally, the mobisite has received high student satisfaction feedback and contributed to an increase to Unitec’s International Student Net Promoter Score; a measure of the likelihood a customer will promote a company.

“We wanted to think about it from a student’s perspective – when I arrive somewhere, what could I have been pre-sent?”

General manager of international market development James Burroughes said the idea was conceived after he and his team began to consider orientation services from a customer-centric perspective as well as a desire to further digitise student services.

“We wanted to think about it from a student’s perspective. When I arrive somewhere, what could I have been pre-sent information-wise? What would I need to know on day one, and what would I want access to readily in my pocket? We then thought about how could [Unitec] serve that up to students in a relatively user-friendly format,” he told The PIE News.

He added the service freed up student services staff from answering simple questions around topics such as transport and allowed them to instead focus on more serious issues, such as academic and welfare related issues.

Accompanying the mobisite, Burroughes said a student services expo was also held, allowing students to “tag in” to each stand which also provided data on what information a student had and hadn’t received.

“If students didn’t “tag in” at one of the expo points that we knew they wouldn’t have benefited from the information there and we could serve that to them via a text message; or an invitation to come in for a conversation,” he added.

Burroughes said it also helped avoid bottlenecks and provided detailed data on when more staff were needed during orientation.

Unitec intends to develop the service further for 2017 intakes, which including plans to extend the orientation site to domestic students.

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