QLess technology helped to unite SPCC students with information and improve on-campus experience
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Before the pandemic upended the college experience, there was a question taking root at South Piedmont Community College.
The question of how ensure students could and easily access resources and information imperative to their college experience would only be exacerbated in the months to come. With no way to collect data and a general feeling that resources, both informational and human, were not trickling down to students, Project Navigate was born.
Dr. Melinda Daniel, executive director of Learning Innovation set out to find a solution to ensure all students were able to access the resources they needed both to succeed academically, but also to enhance their on-campus experience. After a stroke of inspiration using a hair salon’s app to make an appointment for her son and being placed in a virtual queue, Dr. Daniel set off into a journey of trial and error that led her, eventually, to QLess. Today, SPCC is a shining example of how one campus pushed for near universal adoption of QLess technology and are now seeing staggering numbers of student engagement through appointment at their various services.
South Piedmont Community College, though on the small side, boasts two campuses both home to rural and urban learners in North Carolina. Like many community colleges, the student body is varied and diverse and in need of individualized attention, but resources and resource centres like admissions, advising, career support, financial aid, library services and more were going to be underutilized. Once the pandemic hit, it removed the ability to track even anecdotally whether students were or were able to access those resources. With students in flux, there was no time to waste implementing an effective solution as soon as possible.
SPCC needed a budget friendly solution to help remove the barriers between students and information. Ideally, it would be a solution that could help funnel students to the appropriate resource, but also something that could help balance both the virtual and in-person workloads associated with student support. In the midst of the pandemic, SPCC also needed technology that could easily straddle both the physical and virtual world as a long-term solution no matter how and when students returned to campus. QLess proved to be the right partner by also ensuring the added benefits of being able to track student data as they interact with campus resources and also providing staff with the ability to use that data to better advocate for themselves and their staffing needs.
“Keeping that straight without QLess would be virtually impossible”
-Dr. Melinda Daniels, Executive Director Learning Innovations at South Piedmont Community College
Project Navigate now had a partner in QLess. Students would now be able to book appointments virtually at any of SPCC’s three physical locations as well as an online space. Both booking and cancellation could be done with the touch of a button, and all from SPCC’s app. The app also came equipped with a chatbot called Navi programmed to answer many student questions using the power of AI. If and when Navi encountered a question in need of human touch, it would push out a link to end user prompting the student to quickly and easily schedule some time with the correct department.
Once QLess was selected, the adoption was easy. The staff buy-in was sweeping and swift, and today’s tech savvy students needed little prompting to download the campus app. Still, kiosks were set up all over campus to ensure even students without a phone or the app handy would be able to access the QLess technology and make an appointment at one of the many student services as needed.
QLess technology also allowed those students to select their own location after viewing proximity and approximate wait times. This way, service locations with previously lower foot traffic would be able to share the load with high trafficked areas to serve more students more efficiently. Staff across departments could also access their data to parse out whether their staffing needs were being met, and also whether their department was succeeding in guaranteeing information was easily accessible by students.
“There has been such buy-in for the ideology of what can be, and the ability to venture into something new, my staff realized how much help it is. We’ve been so successful”
The QLess adoption at South Piedmont Community College has been a rousing success. Now instead of anecdotal information or sheer guesses, SPCC’s stakeholders can look to their hard data and know that they now have an accessible solution creating a more equitable experience for students and staff. Throughout all channels, SPCC is averaging over 1,000 appointments created per month. Since launch in 2021, SPCC’s services have surpassed 10,000 appointments in total.
Although it’s still too early to know for sure, Dr. Daniels feels confident that the implementation of QLess technology to aid with accessibility has already helped with student and staff retention, as well as having a direct hand in setting students up for academic success.
“I love that QLess gives us the flexibility to aggregate the data based on our needs. It’s a single technology, but not a single solution”