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Connection to Campus

Enhancing online students' engagement and experience during the Northwest Online program to increase alumni donations

Overview

Client

Online Professional by Northwest Online. 

Northwest Online (NWO) falls under the Learning & Teaching Center (LTC) of Northwest Missouri State University.

Challenge

Looking for ways to improve student engagement and feeling of belonging in the Online Professional programs to eventually increase online alumni donations.

Background

Northwest Missouri State University’s online program includes undergraduate, graduate, and specialist degrees which have +2000 students. The users are working parents, career-switchers, multiple-job-holders, full-time workers, etc.

Solution

A new service blueprint. Creating a new way of connecting and interacting with online students.  Providing them with opportunities to reach out and feel supported by communicating resources available to them, while providing a feeling of excitement and closure at both the beginning and end of the program through a series of interactions via email and welcome packages.

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Scope

Scope

Metrics:

Retention Rate

Overall student satisfaction

Alumni donations

Focus on graduate online student engagement and feeling of belonging throughout the whole duration of the online program (12 months to 2 years), from application and registration to ongoing activity on the learning management system (LMS), interactions with faculty and staff, graduation, and post-graduation.​

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Process

Process

Using design thinking as the framework of this project, I conducted secondary and primary research, including user and stakeholder interviews to empathize.

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From all the research done, it came down to the following themes and opportunities.

To define the problem, I created an empathy map, a current state journey map, and the CHAT current state. The ideation comprised using the prioritized opportunities tool, landing in 3 main steps to take.

In the prototyping, testing, and iteration phases I created a brand-new service blueprint, and ideal-state workflow timeline, and got feedback from the stakeholders to polish a feasible action plan.

UX Results

UX Results

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After interviewing the stakeholders the suggested prototype would not have succeeded due to the technical constraints. Thus, based on their feedback, the iteration is the one on the right. 

Marked in darker pink are the parts taken out of the original service blueprint.

The Ideal Timeline/Workflow is a chart showing the suggested cadence of the product of the service blueprint.

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ENGAGING
CONNECTING

Creative Results

Working alongside leadership, I was the head of this 4-staged process. It was crucial to get into the user's mindset before developing these four stages, hence the empathy and definition stages of the research were incredibly impactful. Because user-students have several touchpoints throughout their college career with several offices and professionals, having a system mindset proved to be a key pillar in this project. 

After extensive research and iterations, we created these four phases.

Engaging

When a student enrolls in an online program, they receive a welcome package with some "swag" and orientation material to create a warm and supportive welcome. I redesigned the original brochure (left) into a more cohesive design (right) that goes along our project's key phrase: student journey. Where the map pointer or pin signals a different stage in their learning journey.

The welcome package also includes a small mailer box that features supportive copywriting, advice, and inserts with "swag" in it. The graph on the left shows the measurements and wireframe of the mailer box, while the graphics on the right are a more advanced version of the product. 

 

You can see the journey theme on the outside cover of the dieline.

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Featured here are the final results of the mailer box.

As you might notice, there is a QR code for the student to scan and access a social media group discussion with other fellow students. Creating a sense of community right away.

The other two pieces are part of the welcome package as well. A magnet with key dates and a screensaver with pictures of what would be the student's academic building if they were to be on campus.