Alterations to the BC email reminder system

Despite rumors on campus, emails reminding students to sign up for winter quarter classes are still being sent out, although emails now are less customized. An email was sent Nov. 4 to all Bellevue College students on the college’s distribution list. Bellevue College stopped using the third party system I-Modules, a customer relationship management tool, to distribute emails. The tool was no longer effective, expensive and unreliable. The college decided to switch to a free state board maintained tool. Click Dimensions, which integrates with another customer relations management tool, is being explored as the future tool to send out customized emails to Bellevue College students but has not been fully integrated into the system as of now. Because customized emails are no longer being sent out, emails reminding students about registration might be sent to non-credit students and in these cases instructions in the email would mislead students. To avoid this, disclaimers have been placed in reminder emails for non-credit students, as well as what alternate steps these type of students would need to take.

“I got an email that was easy to understand and there was also a reminder about registering on my canvas page,” said Running Start student Gabriel Lam.

Although emails are still being sent out, several administrators are still anxious. “We are the third largest institution of higher education in Washington state, and every time a process changes or we move to a different system there is anxiety,” said Emily Kolby, director of academic advising.

Bellevue College is trying to improve communication with students about registration in additional methods to email. Several registration reminder messages have been placed on the Bellevue College website and notices are planned to be placed on the college’s social networking pages. Signs have also been posted around the student affairs building.

Automated calls have also been considered as new methods of sending reminder messages to students.

“If the college is doing its job well, as a student enters the college we teach them the processes of registering and how to find out that information about how registration happens,” said Steve Downing of enrollment and registration services.
“Getting the word out better, that’s something there’s always room for improvement on.

There are nearly 40,000 students who will get an email that doesn’t apply to them. I would rather have an email to send to those 22,000 students who the email is relevant to,” Downing added.

Click Dimensions, the new software tool that is has been selected to be the future of the Bellevue College email system is available for the college but needs to be integrated. Downing estimated that the tool would be in full use before the start of spring quarter.

Administrators need student feedback in order to know how communication could be improved. “I am always focused on the student’s experience and what’s best for the student experience as opposed to what’s best for the college. It’s something that has not been great over the years, something where there’s lots of room for improvement. Are we maximizing how information is presented on the web? Where can the web be improved to have that information be more clear and accessible?” Downing said. Students who want to give advice can visit the BC online services page and go to the ask a question and tell us how we are doing links, which enable students to get in contact with enrollment and registration services and give feedback on communication.