NESCOT, a further and higher education college in Epsom UK, has a mission, to be the college of choice for their students, employers, local community and staff. A mission that they are living every day. We met with staff and students at the college recently to see how they are using app technology to forge new relationships and break down communication barriers in a time of huge change for their students…
In 2017 NESCOT launched the NESCOMMS app, (a branded college app using Tribal's Student Engage app technology).
Adam Beral, Director of Faculty described the uptake of the app as 'interesting', he said
"We were confident that the students and the younger members of staff would embrace it, but actually, we found everyone got fully on board with it - everyone could see the immediate benefits in it. From a student point of view, 95% of students have downloaded the app onto their phones and 75% are using it on a daily basis."
We spoke to the team about their enrolment process and how the app is adopted right from the off.
Andry Waters, Curriculum and Standards Coordinator explained,
"At enrolment we tell students about the app and provide details of how to download it and get it ready so they can access their groups and start building relationships with fellow students and their tutors. If I didn’t have the app, I might not know if a new student is coming into college or not that day, I might spend time digging out their details and trying to contact them to see where they are, when actually, they aren't coming to class. It also means I can put course notes on the app so they don’t miss out, which works well and keeps them more engaged."
Adam also enthused,
"Using NESCOMMS has helped us at enrolment. We inevitably get teething problems at the start of term, with rooms changing for example, but with the app, we're able to get messages out quickly, so it's really important to us."
Ellie, Level 3 Beauty Therapy student told us of her experience at enrolment time. She explained,
"Enrolment was really easy, it was all online. I applied via the NESCOT website quickly and smoothly. We were told of the NESCOMMS app and we all downloaded it."
Ollie Reid works in NESCOT's marketing team, he said
"Being branded, the students trust the app and they recognise it as a safe environment. We sent out welcome messages to the new intake of students recently and the students find it really useful as they get something instantly - they don’t even need to get out of bed to check the app!"
As we sat and spoke to Adam, it was clear that his mission was not only to ensure the smooth clock-work style running of the college, but that of keeping students happy and informed.
"The future of teaching and learning is evolving very quickly, the pressures and expectations of young people is changing… but now that we use the app, it's more effective and speeds up the relationships we build."
Getting regular communication from college at the beginning of a student's journey helps students to squash any preconceived worries.
Zoe Brown, Head of Department for Animal Studies concluded,
"It's [the app] invaluable for us at enrolment, it's reassuring for the students."