For a majority of students, the first interaction they have with community colleges is online. Student-facing technology platforms touch all 2.1 million students in California's community colleges, yet their design tends to prioritize institutional need over the student experience. Without helping prospective students feel a sense of connection and competency in an unfamiliar environment, these online experiences can contribute to feelings of isolation, confusion, and even incompetence at a time when a feeling of self-efficacy is essential to move forward.
The Student Journey to Success project is driven by a core commitment in the Vision for Success to "Always design and decide with the student in mind." The project is a joint effort by the Chancellor's Office and the Foundation with funding from College Futures Foundation to apply the lens of behavioral science and reduce subtle barriers that hinder students' progress through the early phases of matriculation and educational path-choosing. This process informs the design of interventions that help set students on a path to success at the beginning of their college journey.
The ultimate goal of the Student Journey to Success project is to transform the student user experience through student centered design and practices. The project includes the redesign of a student's experience of onboarding and path-choosing at community colleges, primarily by improving user experience in the technology tools students use to begin their personal pathway toward academic and career success. The work will begin with a "Journey Map" of how and when various requirements, people, and technologies touch a student's journey. The journey maps will then be used to inform reform efforts at the community colleges that focus on the first two of four pillars of the innovative "Guided Pathways" approach, 'Clarify the Path' and 'Getting Students on the Path,' in order to expand focus on student-centered design to a systemwide level.