NESCOT, a further and higher education college in Epsom UK, is a tech-first college. They have truly embraced the need to communicate with their students on a familiar, interactive and instant channel. We found out first-hand how the college uses its NESCOMMS app (a college branded version of Tribal's Student Engage app), when we spent the day with them.
We arrived bright and early at NESCOT and were greeted with open arms. The tutors, management teams and students were full of energy and enthusiasm as we set up our cameras to film our latest case study video, showcasing the great work that the college is doing as part of its communications improvement strategy.
We spoke to staff and students alike and there were so many common benefits that the app was bringing to the college. It was so exciting to hear that 95% of students had downloaded the app onto their phones and 75% were using it on a daily basis. These figures are huge considering it's not mandatory for them to do it.
NESCOMMS has changed the college's slow, one-way and old fashioned communication attempts into instant, more modern and accessible forms of communication. It's helping to break down communication barriers and reduce student anxiety.
It's a topic hot on everyone's lips at the moment and quite rightly so. The staff at NESCOT had plenty to say about how running three quarters of all communications via their app is helping their students, particularly those who may experience stress or anxiety moving from school to college.
Andry Waters, Curriculum and Standards Coordinator at NESCOT said
"[The app] secures connections with our more reserved characters as communication is in a written way, rather than verbal or face to face, which some shyer students struggle with. It gets the door open and helps them to feel part of the college."
Ollie Reid, Events and Social Media Coordinator, concurred
"Speaking to their tutors online feels a lot more comfortable to the students than face to face communication, but at the same time, they know their personal data is safe which is great for the parents also."
Adam Beral, Director of Faculty expanded on the issue, saying
"For some students, turning up to college and finding the teaching room locked, room changed or coursework forgotten is enough to send them home again, but by communicating on the app, we make sure everyone has the most up to date information and reminders."
Rob Greening, NESCOT's Director of Personal Development and Welfare added
"The NESCOMMS app engages students that maybe don’t have the confidence to talk to staff or peers to highlight issues."
We spoke to students at break times and almost all of them used the app on a daily basis. You get the overwhelming impression that their mobile phones aren't just mobile phones. They are home, they're where they find their information, get their justification, learn and share. To these students email is dead, letters recycled without being opened, and phone calls dodged. Group chats allow them to go from 'me' to 'we' and allow them to be friends before they've even said hello.
Adam summarised with
"Ultimately, it gives them a more positive experience. Student experience is always best when it looks seamless. All students want is good quality teaching and a nice experience. Tribal's software allows us to do this. It reduces student's anxiety levels and improves communication."
Take a look at the next blog in our mobile app series. A mobile app for education: Using an app for a slick enrolment process.