Improving degree completion through the use of innovative technology
enise Swett has seen the same approach from several different companies when it comes to offering academic-planning solutions: Plenty of promises that do not fit the needs students at Foothill College, a community college in Northern California.
“Everyone says they’re going to solve our retention problems or graduation problems,” says Swett, who has a doctorate in education and is vice president of student services at Foothill.
Foothill offers more than 300 online classes per quarter with 70 percent of its 14,000 students taking at least one class online and 32 percent attending classes fully online. Foothill also has a high student-to-advisor ratio, which puts students in a challenging position to plan which course to take, when to take them and which are required to graduate and/or transfer to a four-year school.
“If we don’t have somebody guiding students on next steps, they can waste time taking a class that doesn’t apply to what they’re doing or won’t transfer to the college they want to go to,” Swett says.
When EduNav presented its academic-planning tool to Swett, suddenly the solution to the problem was in front of her.
“Within the first 10 minutes of their presentation I pulled together four of my other deans and told them that I think we found the product we’d been looking for for a very long time,” Swett says.
EduNav Campus provides an always up-to-date pathway to completion for every student using its SmartPlan algorithm, which updates student education plans in real time, even as courses fill and graduation requirements shift. It creates personalized plans right up to graduation for each student based on actual degree requirements, recalculating and revising a student’s plan and class schedule when conditions change. Also, because EduNav Campus can build personalized education plans for every student based on their academic history and goals whether they use the system or not, it can forecast more accurate course scheduling needs for future terms.
“Having the actual data available about how many students need each course by term is going to fundamentally change how we offer classes,” Swett says. “The backend enrollment tools will also help us identify students who are very near completion so we can easily provide them with a plan to finish.“
Swett says EduNav Campus makes students better informed and will lead to fewer wasted credits and a more effective path to degree completion. Swett adds that it will increase student retention and improve operational efficiency for Foothill staff.
“Students often don’t finish because they don’t know what to do to finish,” Swett says. “There is confusion over pathways to finishing a degree. EduNav addresses so many of the problems we are dealing with.”
Swett says the campus is currently conducting a soft launch of the solution as it trains its counselors, with broader rollout scheduled for the fall.
“There’s a huge return on investment because we’re going to be able to offer classes when the students want them and when they need them,” Swett says. “Our students are going to be able to complete their degrees. It’s a phenomenal tool for everyone.”
For more information, visit www.edunav.com/solutions