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The Best of Dreamforce 2021 Education

The Best of Dreamforce 2021 Education

Bringing the Best of Education Cloud to Students Everywhere 

Education is our future, as is technology, so technology must play a role in bettering education. At Dreamforce 2021, Salesforce’s biggest event of the year, we heard from leaders in the field on tools they are using to address many prevailing issues, such as unequal access to education and graduation rates. Salesforce has been working with K-12 and higher ed institutions to improve access, achieve greater retention rates, and ultimately enable students from all backgrounds to have more opportunities in the workforce.

Salesforce also announced some exciting, new innovations in its Education Cloud, allowing educational staff to address the student’s needs in that moment, track that student’s success, provide support, and offer flexibility in scheduling so that all students have access to the tools to help them succeed, over a lifetime.

Placing the Student at the Center…Always.

Historically, education has been strictly focused on academic performance–test scores, essays, and intellectual understanding. More and more, however, both K-12 and higher ed institutions see student performance holistically. Teachers and faculty understand the huge role that factors outside of school play in student success, such as poverty-related issues. Educational institutions know that now is the time to use technology like never before to ensure that every student, no matter what their circumstances, achieves their goals.

Student Success Hub for Higher Education

We are excited to announce Salesforce’s Student Success Hub for Higher Education (check out Student Success Hub for K-12 here), formerly known as Advisor Link. Initially used for making academic advising appointments, students and faculty can now use Student Success Hub to ensure proper onboarding, student wellbeing, career exploration, and a host of other services. Most importantly, it serves as a center where students can express concerns, communicate with one another and teachers, access their schedule, and much more.

Case Western Thrives with Student Success Hub: A Use Study

Meet Case Western Reserve University, who has been using Student Success Hub for Higher Education to provide a centralized space for students and faculty to access everything they need. According to Tom Matthews, Associate Provost of Student Success, student retention and graduation has gone way up since using the platform. “It’s a high-tech, high-touch approach,” Matthews says. And it works. Case Western has seen its 1st-to-2nd-year retention rate rise to 96%, and its 6-year graduation rate rise to 88%. Matthews believes this is because of the huge uptick in student engagement, as reflected in their data. Even more exciting, this platform has made a big difference for underrepresented students at Case Western. According to Matthews, 89% of those students made contact with their navigator or career consultant in 2020, while this year that number has shot up to 96%. “This suggests that what we’re doing to try and diversify on the platform is really working,” Matthews says.

Robert Solomon, VP of the Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity at Case Western has seen how Student Success Hub has been able to help meet the needs of the whole student, taking into account what they are experiencing outside of the classroom. “Our students are more than what happens on a test. They are whole human beings. Those of us who support them should think of them on those terms,” he says. For instance, many students are having to reintegrate after 18 months of fully remote learning, and this takes time. Other students need additional support right now, having weathered losses during the pandemic. This technology enables faculty and support staff to support students, communicate with them, and make sure they are accessing the services that could benefit them.

Addressing Access Issues

We know that one of the biggest issues in education is access and opportunity. While technology alone cannot solve these deeply rooted socioeconomic issues, it can help bridge the gap by providing the tools needed to keep students on track.

Exciting Education Cloud Innovations

Salesforce is pioneering a slack-powered safety net for better student outcomes. Slack has been particularly helpful for teacher communication. When teachers have more support to work as a team, express their concerns about a particular student or situation, and come up with solutions together, fewer students will slip through the cracks unnoticed. In its latest acquisition of Slack, Student Success Alerts allows faculty to share concerns with advisors while fully supporting students, staying in contact and offering appropriate intervention when needed. 

Another approach to addressing access issues is through Salesforce’s Admissions Connect, which enables students to apply to schools directly from their phones, view the content and status of their application, and upload any necessary documents using the Applicant Experience Portal. Students can access application updates via text, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Slack. These mobile-first experiences are instrumental in ensuring success for every applicant, including students who don’t have laptops at home.

Student Success Hub has also launched an enhanced Retention Tools and Scheduling Wizard, and will be adding an even newer Scheduling Wizard this fall, enabling students to schedule an appointment with an advisor based on location, timing, and topic–all from their phone.  For K-12 students, teachers and support staff can use Student Success Hub to implement success plans, track student progress, and intervene when necessary to help students stay on track so they can enter the world of higher education if they wish to. Student Success Hub aims to increase retention for all students from the very get-go, supporting them along the way.

The Best Education for All

At Coastal Cloud, we believe that quality education should be available to everyone, and technology is the key to providing it. To hear more inspirational stories from Dreamforce 2021 about innovations in education technology, visit Salesforce+.

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