For a majority of students, the first interaction they have with the community colleges is online. Student-facing technology platforms touch all 2.1 million California community college students, 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 confusion, incompetence, and isolation at a time when self-efficacy is essential to move forward.
The Student Journey to Success project was developed in response to a core commitment in the Vision for Success: "Always design and decide with the student in mind." The project was a joint effort by the Chancellor's Office and the Foundation with funding generously provided by College Futures Foundation and the Stupski Foundation. Philanthropic support allowed for the application of behavioral science learnings to key points along students’ educational journeys, particularly early phases of matriculation, to set students on a path to success at the beginning of their college journeys.
Through the Student Journey to Success project, the Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation have laid the groundwork to transform the student user experience through research and application of student centered design best practices. The multi-phase project included a landscape analysis of existing student-facing matriculation tools, the development of student personas, and student journey mapping. By establishing the Student Centered Design Lab, the California Community Colleges will be able to more efficiently reduce barriers to student access and success by embedding authentic student input into the design processes of student-facing technology and communication campaigns.