How to reduce admin tasks post-holidays with online tools

Student meetings, course requests and more can be streamlined with online tools to reduce time wastes for faculty and admin.

online-tools-adminThanksgiving has just ended and faculty and academic staff will soon dive into a full spring course load post holiday season. Professionals in the education industry know that meetings, paperwork, and other administrative tasks can be just as important to ensure a successful school year. However, they can often take up too much of an educator’s time. A study conducted at Boise St University in 2014 estimated these administrative tasks are taking up 30 percent of an education professional’s weekly workload, taking away from their abilities to properly serve their students.

While it is not practical to eliminate these tasks, there are some great ways that professionals within the education sector can reduce the time it takes to complete them. From large universities such as Texas A&M University or Morehouse College, to smaller institutions, by utilizing simple online tools, education professionals can eliminate the burdens of time-consuming administrative tasks.

Here are two simple tips and one great example of how utilizing these tools and related strategies can help improve administrative processes for professionals in the education year-round:

Look to simple marketing technology and practices as examples. While most marketers are using online client management tools to capture more clients, for education professionals they have other great benefits. Online client management solutions can be a tremendous help for faculty with hundreds of students. Also, with the ability to track communication history, past activity and private notes, tracking student interactions can be very helpful to document past interactions in order to be as prepared as possible for the next meeting.

For counselors it can be even more helpful to review notes from previous interactions when prepping for an upcoming meeting with a student. This functionality is also critical when a new quarter rolls around and the need to reference past course load preferences for a particular student arises. Many of these client management platforms also come with mobile capabilities for the on-the-go teacher. New student requests and scheduling changes will immediately pop on the teacher’s phone. These tools can also be utilized for collecting information from new students in order to record all the important information for new enrollees.

(Next page: Scheduling and a powerful example)

Remove the hassle in scheduling. The other key capability for education professionals to integrate is online scheduling. That not only means that the staff have their online calendar accessible from anywhere, but also giving new and existing students a way to view academic staff availability and choose a time for a meeting that works best for them. Online scheduling can be part of the institution’s website, or accessible via a link on each of the professor’s or counselor’s email. Either way, it will eliminate the need for multiple emails and phone calls back and forth to determine a best time for a meeting. Online scheduling software will also take care of reminders to avoid no-shows and give both sides easy way to reschedule if necessary.

An example of these tools in action: Pasco eSchool, the second largest school district in Florida, is one great example of how impactful online scheduling can be. With 70 teachers spread over 7,000 students, each was required to have a monthly meeting – averaging at least 100 meetings per month. Additionally, the district receives 31,000 course requests for each student, averaging 4 to 5 courses per student. As an eSchool, scheduling digital meetings a key driver for success of the entire district as face-to-face contact was minimal.

Online scheduling allowed them to streamline the district’s entire scheduling system and help staff consolidate their scheduling efforts in order to meet student needs and automate how these colleagues could schedule meetings. Teachers now have more time to teach rather than rearrange schedules. Pasco teachers can customize their schedules, easily display availability, and automatically respond to appointment requests. Students can set teacher appointments anytime, anywhere on any device—all of which eliminated tens of thousands of administrative tasks each year.

Education professionals can set themselves up for better success by being proactive about how to deal with administrative tasks that take up nearly one-third of their week. Seemingly simple online engagement technologies can make a tremendous difference. While relatively simple to adopt, the savings these technologies provide is tremendous.

Ran Oelgiesser is chief marketing officer of vCita. He has nearly 20 years of experience in helping startups and large organizations with technology, product management, and marketing across a variety of sectors. Prior to vCita, Ran was a co-founder and vice president of product marketing at Kidaro (acquired by Microsoft in 2008). 

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