3 Ways That Colleges and Universities Cope in the New Normal - MSM Unify

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way we look at higher education. Colleges and universities have had to quickly make changes in their curriculum as the threat of the virus continues to disrupt travel and term schedules across the globe.

With travel restrictions in place, everyone from higher education institutions (HEI) and agents have turned to the internet for a sense of continuity in service delivery. For students, the shift is made easier as millennials and Gen Zers are known as digital natives and are fluent with technology. HEIs, however, have been mostly grappling with the big changes.

In recent months, HEIs have slowly started to adapt to the digital challenges of the pandemic in hopes of surviving this academic year.

Asynchronous Learning
One of the major challenges that colleges are facing is figuring out how to make online courses more accessible to economically challenged and international students. Students who have unstable or no internet connection will have more difficulty attending classes. Similarly, international students who are studying remotely are up until midnight or at the crack of dawn just to be able to attend classes being held in another timezone.

Seven HEIs have adopted what is called “asynchronous learning,” a practice already being done at the University of Colorado at Denver. Asynchronous learning takes away real-time interaction but provides the courses through online modules and videos available on demand. This allows students to access their course material at any time using their preferred platform.

Karen Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping community college students and championing evidence-based institutional improvement, said that this method works best for community colleges who have more students with responsibilities outside of class. It would not discriminate against those who cannot afford to attend online class at a specific hour, such as parents and part-time workers.

Digitized Applications
Even before the pandemic, online tools and platforms for student applications are already becoming popular. Instead of applying straight to institutions, students can now search for programs online based on their interests. These platforms include information about the institution, tuition and living costs, the host country.

HEIs have started using these platforms as a means to increase their student numbers, particularly their international recruitment. They also expose themselves to more agents worldwide online, increasing their visibility in their target student markets.

Automated Engagement
Modern technologies have also helped make student engagement easier and faster. Younger generations have turned to technology and the internet to decide on their study-abroad goals, preferred disciplines and fields of study, and even post-graduation and job search plans.Through AI-powered tools and software, HEIs can tap into this and generate automated feedback and personalization to target students.

Personalization is done through getting digital data based on the applicant’s searches and preferences. From this, the software creates suggestions on the best programs for their plans, and how their academic and financial qualifications fit into those plans. Data collected in the software can also be accessed by institutions in order to generate marketing strategies supported by hard, real-time data.

What Can MSM Unify Offer
MSM Unify is an online platform connecting higher education institutions to top-tier agents and their students around the world, accelerating agent base growth while invigorating recruitment efforts.

For HEIs, it can offer high-impact promotions on a single platform, pre-screen applications at greater speed and efficiency, perform program matching for students so they can land the most qualified candidates, and connect them with skilled agents to fill enrollment slots.

On top of that, MSM Unify also provides applicant analytics to help HEIs identify high-demand programs and support their marketing strategy without increasing their headcount or traveling at a time like COVID-19.

With thousands of study options available on MSM Unify, agents get the support they need to find the best matches for students, while institutions are able to seamlessly market their on-campus and online programs regardless of geographical distance or even with a modest marketing budget. Discover more on MSM Unify.

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