Colleges have had to swiftly adapt their strategies in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions in order to still have the ability to provide post-secondary education to students while ensuring proper safety protocols are in place. And by students, it is not just local students that colleges have to worry about protecting, it is also the students who would be coming from outside the country to the campus for their studies.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place around much of the world, international travel has become increasingly more difficult. What with many countries’ requirements for international travelers to self-isolate for two weeks upon entry, this has dissuaded many students from choosing to enroll in schools outside their home countries.
Unfortunately, many colleges rely on this international student enrollment as a huge part of their tuition revenue, and if international students are opting to look to home for continuing their studies, this means a lot of lost dollars that will be difficult to recover through other sources. Schools must think outside the box if they wish to retain their international enrolment levels.
There need to be measures in place to make sure that, first and foremost, international students feel safe if they do decide to attend the college in person and are given the tools and support they need in order to self-isolate as required before beginning their classes. Also, there needs to be a way for the college to track these students as they arrive on campus, in order to ensure their needs are taken care of so that they can effectively follow the health protocols.
Alternatively, colleges need to find a way to assure potential international students that the same level of education can be provided online that would typically be provided in person, thus eliminating their need for travel altogether. Whether this is through the implementation of new digital tools or through the optimization of existing technology, schools need a plan to adapt course material to being consumed in an online format.
One way that colleges can help make managing international student information and education easier and more streamlined is through the implementation of an all-in-one engagement automation platform. Such a platform would possess all the tools schools would need in order to store international student information as well as successfully communicate with them – either through one or two-way notifications or in a class discussion-based setting.
Information Collection and Management
When students arrive on campus from outside the country, it is extremely important that colleges have a way to ensure they follow the self-isolation protocols that are in place before interacting with other students and faculty.
To assist with this information management, an automation platform provides colleges with multiple ways to collect and store contact information for international students. Students can self-register their information through digital signup forms accessed via QR codes, shortcode keywords, or even by embedding it onto the college website.
The information gathered through the form will then automatically be saved and stored to the automation platform’s contact relationship manager (CRM) where it can be used by the college to send notifications when needed as well as to help students participate in their online courses.
Once an international student is on campus, the college needs to regularly check up on them to make sure they are abiding by the self-isolation regulations, as well as to make sure they have access to everything they need so that this process is as smooth and comfortable as possible for the student.
With the tools available in the all-in-one automation platform, the college can automate the check-in process for these students to reduce the burden on their staffing resources who otherwise might have to manually call hundreds of students a day.
Instead, an automated phone can be sent out to each self-isolating student requiring that they press a number on their dial pad to confirm they are self-isolating. The college can then pull these reports and will only have to manually call those students who didn’t answer their phones.
Conducting Online Courses
The automation platform can also help college faculty with conducting their online courses. For class-discussion based courses, an audio-based delivery method could help facilitate instruction and participation. For instance, a teleconferencing solution could allow professors and lecturers to host calls with students, no matter where they are located.
The benefit of using an automation platform to conduct these class discussions via teleconference is that the host (the professor or lecturer) can always know who exactly is on the call using the platform’s helpful user interface, and the only piece of technology the student needs is a phone.
Dealing with Non-Compliance
Unfortunately, not all students will take too kindly to having to self-isolate for two weeks before being able to socialize with their classmates, meaning there may be some who will try to bend or break the rules. Colleges can use the automation platform to recall campus security to pay a visit to these students and deal with the situation either by issuing a fine or warning.
Security personnel can indicate whether they are able to respond by interacting with the notification a specific way. The first one or two personnel to confirm they are able to respond will be provided with follow-up instructions while any other personnel who responds will be automatically told that the task has already been assigned.
Responding to an Exposure
In the event that the worst case scenario occurs and a student on campus has been infected by COVID-19, the school needs to be able to quickly mobilize and perform contact tracing on the individual to prevent spread throughout the campus.
This is yet another use for the all-in-one automation platform.
Using the platform’s asset management tools, the college can map and investigate the case, tracking and isolating any locations that the student may have come into contact with within the last 14 days. Then, a notification can be sent to everyone in each of these locations to inform them to self-monitor for symptoms.
The college can utilize the contact information for all registered students as well to send them notifications and updates.
What Platform Can do All This?
SimplyCast’s all-in-one engagement automation platform has all the tools mentioned above and more to help protect students and faculty on a college campus. From tracking and managing international students to mitigating any possible exposures that may have occurred on campus, SimplyCast’s suite of communication and emergency management tools have the ability to assist colleges with managing education throughout COVID-19.
Click the button below to request a demo of the SimplyCast solution today to see how your college can effectively manage the information of and communication with not only international students but all students – all while ensuring they are still able to receive the best education your school has to offer!