“Email? That’s what my parents use, right?” Tribal partners with WAMBIZ to bridge College communication disconnect

Last updated: 23/10/2017

Education software and services company, Tribal Group has partnered with social media gurus WAMBIZ, to provide each further education college with their own MIS integrated private social network, allowing staff and students to communicate and collaborate in a safe and secure environment, which also automates a number of college processes saving the institution time and money.

Tribal is launching the product as ontrack buzz.

Extensive research over a 12 – 18 month period – including focus groups with safeguarding staff, students, teaching staff and marketing departments – evidenced the huge communication disconnect that colleges are currently facing. When asked to describe traditional letter, email and Moodle communication tools, students used words such as ‘Dad’, ‘old and ‘slow’, highlighting the issues staff have when they can’t get hold of students, many of whom have never used email or other ‘pull’ applications. One tutor admitted to spending over three hours contacting students about a cancelled lesson. Using the push application, ontrack buzz, this task would have taken seconds.

ontrack buzz bridges that disconnect. Pre-college, a new student can now connect and message with people on their course and in clubs or societies they are interested in joining, without having to share mobile numbers or any other personal details. It gives them a softer introduction to college life. ontrack buzz does not blur the lines between personal life and college life, which can dangerously occur on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, protecting the welfare of students and the professional integrity of staff.

ontrack buzz is safe and secure – a ring-fenced network for each college, that is only accessible by staff and students from that college.

This is a unique offering that no else is able to provide. ontrack buzz supports colleges in improving their communication; learning outcomes; use of social media; student engagement; rates of student retention; and ease of adoption.

ontrack buzz modernises communication, reflecting the way students wish to communicate. One college has forecasted a minimum paper and postage saving of £6k on the basis they will no longer need to send any ‘Did Not Attend’ letters to students, whilst another sees a drastic reduction in their £25k SMS bill. They also saw learning outcomes improve as a result of the students being better engaged with their course, the college, the staff, their peers and their learning. Sharing resources, ideas, deadlines and questions are done through the app, in the same way a status update, group notification or photo would be shared on familiar social media applications.

Adoption is simple, intuitive, and familiar to people using social apps in their personal life as a consumer. This means students need no training and can be up and running in seconds.

Each ontrack buzz app is branded for each institution, this sense of ownership and the community it fosters helps drive engagement, which in turn can help colleges improve student retention rates. In their first year of using ontrack buzz, one college reported a saving of £340K and retained an additional 85 students versus the previous year.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Tribal’s Head of Business Development, Bridget McGinley said “Ever since the introduction of social media, we’ve heard so many horror stories about ‘unsecure’ communication efforts to engage students as consumers. We wanted to put an end to these issues and empower colleges to be both modern AND secure. What we’re offering to colleges now, is a way of communicating to students in the way students want to communicate. We’re already seeing engagement rates go up, cost savings made and learning outcomes improved – and in a safe and secure way.”

WAMBIZ CEO and Co-founder, Harry Jawanda said “Partnering with a renowned further education software provider like Tribal is helping us to showcase the benefits of ontrack buzz to the wider world of FE. Making learning more accessible, secure and putting students at the heart of education is the driver for both WAMBIZ and Tribal, so the partnership is a great one.”

Find out more about Ontrack Buzz here