At the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the employability and career development of all students is the responsibility of the Student Services Unit. Part of their strategy to increase student engagement in 2020 involved creating workflows — interactive sequences of tasks for students to work through — using the UTS CareerHub system. Workflows provide personalised guidance for students as they journey through a program, internship or training series.
UTS uses a wide range of workflow tools to automate many of their business processes and communications, such as appointments, events, award programs, student assistance programs, and internships.
Using workflows, the team at UTS were able to move their processes into a virtual environment, improve user experience and combine a series of pathways into one system. By analysing three key case studies, we can see how UTS has digitised and streamlined their processes using workflows.
The Virtual Accomplish Award Workflow
When COVID-19 forced staff and students to work and study from home, UTS needed to transition one of their largest programs, the Accomplish Award, into a virtual space. Subsequently, UTS’s Virtual Accomplish employability program was developed, with the goal to assist students in enhancing their employability through a combination of workshops, employability hours and experiences. One of the key requirements in moving this program online was to have all resources available in an easy-to-use format, found in the form of the existing CareerHub platform.
The Virtual Accomplish workflow on CareerHub makes use of visual aids to separate and place emphasis on certain elements; banners create distinct sections, while encouraging pop-up messages to appear to advise the user where they are located within the workflow, and how they are progressing. The workflow is also separated into different modules, with sections detailing elective webinars and employability hours expanding for students as they progress through the different levels and complete the required activities.
The main challenges UTS faced in developing this workflow was the implementation of new processes with existing integration tools.
According to UTS Systems Coordinator, Brett Neilson, “We had to integrate CareerHub with our Vieple software, so a student can move from CareerHub into the videos, and then come back to CareerHub. We had to think how students were going to access that. The other challenge we had was trying to work out what labels and work groups we wanted to use. Did we want to create a whole new set of these resources with the idea of capturing different sets of data when we do the reporting?”
The flexibility of the CareerHub platform allowed UTS to seamlessly transition their Accomplish Award online, and create a gamified workflow with multiples stages for students to progress through, while knowing their location within the workflow at all times.
iMentors Program Workflow
The iMentors Program is a peer mentoring program for new international students in the Engineering and IT faculties to receive advice and support from experienced domestic and international UTS students. The workflow created for this program works as a checklist for students, acting as a step-by-step guide while they seek extra-curricular assistance.
Similar to the Accomplish Award, this workflow takes users through a sequential journey and encourages students to access the entire skill base from the program. As a gamified experience, it makes use of interactive elements such as badges that pop up as a student progresses through the workflow, as well as visually-appealing banners and imagery. As a result, the workflow makes it easier for students to follow and find information than traditional forms of communication.
“Students need to know what they are doing. Especially when you are coming into a new environment from overseas, it's really helpful to have everything laid out as easily as possible in these kinds of processes,” said Mr Neilson.
UTS HELPS Workflow
UTS Higher Education Language and Presentation Support (HELPS) is a program which provides support for students who require language assistance, such as academic writing support sessions, assignment advice, and English language courses. The UTS Student Services team needed to find a place to house and operate multiple programs online, while also providing a registration process and communicating the benefits and structure of the program to students.
The HELPS workflow is unique in that each of the HELPS programs works in a different way, making the flexibility of the CareerHub platform key in tailoring each workflow to best assist each student. Once students register to the HELPS program, the workflow makes use of labels and pre-requisite eligibility criteria, which evaluates each student’s needs and places them within a particular assistance program. The workflow then guides students through their HELPS program step-by-step.
The use of labels within the workflow is important, as they make reporting easier for the Student Services team. Now these programs are within a workflow, regular reports can be run on each program to see how each student is progressing through their workflow. This data is useful to the team running each program, as they can see if there any particular parts where students are pausing, and gauge how many students are completing each program.
What are some tips and tricks when it comes to building workflows?
UTS always recommends conducting rigorous and detailed testing when creating a workflow, especially if it is longer, like in the case of Virtual Accomplish.
“Getting a testing team together where you have one person as the admin user and one person doing the student side and going back and forth in the same room for about an hour — that really helps you understand exactly what's happening at each step and ensures when you go live that everything is fine,” said Mr Neilson.
Planning your workflow in advance is essential to creating a successful experience, taking into consideration your goals and objectives, and any extra elements you may require.
“When it comes to creating a workflow within CareerHub, a good starting point is brainstorming everything you want in your workflow. The way we do that is by either going through a Word document with a flow chart or potentially putting it in a PowerPoint slide. The idea is to get it into a checklist format, and start creating those workflow assets,” said Mr Neilson.
“I also get the person I am working with to make sure they have thought about what they want to write in each section, make those banners, start working about what people should be eligible for each stage, designing that, adding events in and making sure everything is ready. Then we set goals and incentives through that gamifying process and put it together.” said Mr Neilson.
Symplicity’s CareerHub solution can foster student engagement and increase operational efficiencies with highly configurable workflows to automate your processes for a seamless student experience. For those interested in learning more, schedule a conversation with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.