Metropolitan Community College Improves Communications

June 01, 2010

Customer Overview

Metropolitan Community College — Maple Woods is the most northern campus within the community college district of Kansas City, Missouri and serves about 5,000 students in this location. Students are typically from the Park Hill, North Kansas City and Liberty school districts. They usually attend the institution to earn an associates degree before transferring to a four-year institution.

The rural campus is one of five related campuses within the Kansas City, Missouri area. Students usually earn an Associates in Arts degree, but many also focus on business, teaching, criminal justice, computer science, or engineering. The college also offers one of the best vocational programs in the state for becoming a veterinarian technician.

Project Summary

Maple Woods’ challenge was to determine a way to improve upon communications with its students, who primarily commute to campus on a daily basis. “It’s real difficult to capture our students and communicate with them,” said Associate Dean Brian Bechtel. Mr. Bechtel noted that students may come to campus for one or two classes and then quickly leave. The school’s window of opportunity to communicate with students is very small. “We do have a student services center, but it’s not always heavily used,” he said. “We are constantly trying to find ways to communicate to students walking through the halls on campus.”

Prior to installing the Rise Display system, various bulletin boards were used throughout different buildings on campus. Student organizations and groups would post their flyers on the boards — and also all over the walls, front doors of the building or wherever else they could find a spot. Mr. Bechtel said that administrators knew they needed a “flashy-type of communication” where they could post information and take it down in a controlled environment.

The Rise Solution

 

A team from Rise Display identified where the two 46" LCD monitors should be located on campus and worked with the school’s administrators to select the best location within each building. The system is updated and kept current by one gatekeeper, and that information can be controlled based on date, timing and relativity. Student groups now electronically submit a flyer to the system administrator. Posted information includes events, athletic schedules, upcoming book reviews and discussions in the library, financial aid deadlines, names of the school’s honor students, and even a new book buy-back program. Two more monitors were added last fall and another two are ready for installation.

The Final Result

The Rise system now allows Maple Woods to communicate more efficiently and effectively with its transient student population. Mr. Bechtel said the monitors now get as much information as possible to the students, right down to the daily cafeteria menu. “If we can show it to those commuters, hopefully they’ll stay on campus that day,” he said.

“Our goal is to have one in every building and hopefully have multiples in each building at entrances,” said Mr. Bechtel. “Rise stepped up to the plate. They were always here to help us out. They kept coming back and asking us if we needed help, and they still do — and that’s what we expected. We are happy with it and will continue to grow and add more monitors in buildings.”