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How to engage students over this extended break

Overextended breaks and periods of separation from their universities, students are more likely to feel the ramifications of a socially distant or online learning environment. With no real separation between home and school, the only differentiating factor will be sufficient interaction with the institution. This is where conversational AI and texting can actually alter student perceptions of the institution. Beyond sending persistence nudges asking students whether or not they plan to return, administrators can send messages of support and can conduct community-building initiatives digitally.

With EdSights’ chatbot, 40% of students who answer our messages reply within the first 15 minutes. This proves the incredible access institutions have through texting as they are almost immediately able to connect to their student body. In a period of constant uncertainty, students need to be able to trust in their institutions not only to convey information but as well as to support them. EdSights' chatbot allows administrators to demonstrate individual care for students through institutional texting campaigns. As students already can feel a sense of alienation and faculty are calling on institutions to take a more humane approach, this upcoming winter recess will be critical in maintaining communication with students as well as restoring institutional trust. Here are a couple of ways that you can show care for your students this winter...

#1 Wellness Check-in

Since this winter break is extended, students will most likely feel isolated earlier on in the break. Because of this, it is vital that institutions conduct a wellbeing check-in halfway through to not only show students that their university cares about them, but also to understand what students are struggling with in real-time. A Wellness Campaign like the one included below, allows institutions to provide a resource that is accessible from anywhere in the world as well as to gain a better understanding of how this break has impacted their community. Depending on the particular struggle that a student is facing, here the chatbot will connect them to a specific institutional resource as well as outside free resources that they might not otherwise have known of.

Here's a video of SUNY Oswego's chatbot, Oz checking in with students about their wellness.

#2 Shared Spotify Playlist

As students feel disconnected from each other it is incredibly important to help facilitate a sense of belonging. This can be achieved by asking students to share words of support, their interests, or anything that is helping them get through this difficult period. From Spotify playlists to share what they're currently binging on Netflix, texting is a great way to connect students beyond the institution and with each other. The below campaign asked students to share their current favorite songs to be included on a campus-wide playlist.

#3 What are you most excited about?

Finally, towards the end of the break, it is important to get students eager and excited for classes to start up again. In particular, during a time of uncertainty, it is important to convey positivity and excitement for your students to prove to them that institutions feel for their experience. This type of communication with students asks them to share what they are most excited for as well as what they are the most nervous for in the upcoming semester, allowing institutions to attain a temperature check of student sentiment before the semester begins.

From individual wellbeing to shared interests, these types of interactions are crucial over extended periods in order to convey a sense of institutional care and a larger virtual and remote community.

EdSight's chatbot grants unparalleled access to students as texting is an intimate and immediate way to ensure your students persist regardless of how far away they might be.

Whether you are considering onboarding a new texting tool, or have one already, our team is always happy to share some best practices around texting and remote campaigns.

We'd love to hear from you.

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