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The Future-Ready Playbook

Real-Time Collaboration Networks

Institutions must prepare for a world where students are learning in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid environment. In fact, the latest edition of the Connected Student Report revealed that 43% of students and 54% of staff prefer hybrid courses. Additionally, 46% of staff anticipate more remote work in the near future. 

The flexibility to learn and work from anywhere is increasingly becoming the norm, and institutions are now part of a broader network requiring constant connection, no matter the location. In order to support the needs of students, faculty, staff and external partners, collaboration must be easy, asynchronous, and accessible to all.

Why Real-Time Collaboration Networks are Key

Student belonging

Collaboration networks can help drive student success by ensuring that students feel part of a broader university community. Currently, students are seeking ways to feel more connected with others. When asked how their institution could best support their wellbeing, 37% of students said their college or university could provide more opportunities to engage with others to help them feel less isolated. 

Connection and collaboration are important on campus, and they are essential beyond  campus, too. This is why tools such as Slack are incredibly valuable in higher education. Slack powers real-time collaboration networks both within and outside of an institution, no matter where a student is.

Slack is a channel-based messaging platform allowing instructors and students to work together to share, discuss and deeply engage with learning. Slack channels replace the use of email communication throughout a college course. These channels create a digital community that empowers students to support each other’s learning and contribute in diverse ways. Plus, students can use Slack to collaborate from anywhere for clubs, school projects, and more.

Faculty & Staff Collaboration

With the Student Success Alerts App for Slack, faculty can quickly notify advisors of student concerns, ensuring they receive fast and equitable access to the support they need. 

Let’s say a student named Sofia is missing classes because of  financial challenges at home and needs some extra time for her course assignments. Via Slack, Sofia can reach out to her professor for support in real-time. This professor can communicate with Sofia and determine the best next step to set Sofia up for success. The professor can also instantly connect with the advising team at the university using the Student Success Alerts App within Slack, informing the team of Sofia’s current challenges and any additional information they might need to support her. That alert will be triaged and managed by advising staff in Student Success Hub in a matter of minutes. 

This collaboration between faculty and staff is critical in order to ensure students don’t fall through the cracks during the most challenging moments of their education journey.

Connections with External Partners

Colleges and universities can also use tools such as Slack Connect to communicate with corporate as well as public and private partners. Whether an institution is organizing summer internships for students or collaborating with external research partners, Slack makes it easy to securely share files and automate workflows across multiple departments. With close to half (48%) of institutions globally strengthening corporate partnerships, tools like Slack will be critical to bring communications out of inboxes and into collaborative channels.

example of a digital campus on Slack

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How Arizona State University Scaled Communications Campus-Wide with Slack

Education institutions across the globe are using Slack to enhance engagement and collaboration. Arizona State University (ASU), for instance, needed an easier way for students, faculty, and staff to communicate, share lesson plans, and gather feedback. ASU found that a significant portion of its community was already using Slack, making it an ideal choice for a new collaboration tool.

ASU became the first university to adopt Slack campus-wide, launching across five campuses and more than 200,000 users, including students, faculty, and administrators. The university now uses Slack to host classroom discussions, develop new courses, and support students — both on campus and online.

Faculty are engaging with students in real time using channels, which allows a continuous feedback loop to fine-tune courses throughout the semester. Professors are also creating surveys in Slack, allowing them to gauge student interest and retention of new material. Slack has now become a key collaboration and engagement tool for all of ASU.

Arizona State University Customer Story

See How ASU Applies Innovation to Purpose

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Arizona State University Customer Story

“Easy login access, a mobile app and customizable channels for conversations have made Slack a very appealing communication channel.”

Casey Thomas, Associate Director of Digital Engagement and Public Relations

RMIT University Uses Slack to Ensure Student Success through the Pandemic

Another example is Melbourne-based RMIT University. When students enroll into RMIT Online, they are automatically added to Slack through the power of Slack Enterprise Grid and Slack Workflows facilitating their onboarding process to the university. They receive a welcome email that prompts them to join Slack, where they’re added to several broader student community channels to get acquainted with fellow classmates. In addition, automated tasks help set up students for success with Slack and other learning tools.

Slack automatically organizes students into smaller course-group channels with industry mentors to help ensure their success. As a course progresses, Slack becomes the central channel for all course communications, including peer collaboration, speaker announcements, industry news, spontaneous learning interactions, and mentor feedback.

“Our students have high expectations of the RMIT Online experience. Slack helps us achieve this,” says Will Calvert, director of technology and enablement at RMIT Online. “During the pandemic, Slack has been instrumental in helping us scale and service our students and staff 100% online, whilst maintaining industry leading satisfaction scores.”

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In Summary

This Future-Ready Playbook serves as a go-to guide for institutions poised to prepare for the rapidly evolving nature of higher education—with CRM technology powering new business models, data-driven cultures, real-time collaboration networks, and holistic student support. Review the chapters below and get inspired by exploring more trailblazing customer stories from institutions across the globe.

The Future-Ready Playbook

Learn more about CRM for higher education and dive into the four pillars of the future-ready institution. Each of the following chapters is dedicated to these pillars, with actionable steps you can take to drive learner and institution success from anywhere.

Learn More about Salesforce for Education

Dive into customer stories, success metrics, and tailored solutions for education.