BYU-Idaho Academic Help Center

 

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A student employee helps another student at the Academic Help Center.

Project Overview

In April 2017, our department took on a new project for the leadership of the school. The new focus for the campus was on how to help the school’s 17,900+ students succeed academically and graduate from BYU-Idaho instead of leaving or going to a different school. They wanted a location in the Manwaring Center on campus where students passing through could get academic help for their immediate (such as getting off waitlists or having enough classes for scholarships) and long-term problems (having a graduation plan set or getting all credits completed for graduation). We needed to create something that fit these standards and set it up by the start of the semester in September, and we went through several ideas and plans before we reached a plan that worked for everyone involved.

Project Responsibilities and Plan

Our team was responsible for creating ideas with the graphic designers to present for approval, and what plans we could implement to help attract students to the location and get help. We went through several phases and ideas for what we could physically put in the space, which included an interactive jumbotron screen, a projector with images against a dark wall, iPad/computer stations where students could get electronic help with a student aide there to assist, and a small booth with tables and banners.

The idea of a small booth with tables, banners, and seats was chosen for the fall semester. There were many different possibilities we could do for a booth, depending on if we wanted it to be more temporary or permanent. These were some of the mockups that the graphic designers created to present, ranging from more permanent and extravagant to more temporary and simplistic.

For the fall semester, it was decided that the plan was to set up a temporary booth that could be easily moved if we changed locations or needed to remove the equipment for some reason. The temporary booth for the semester would give us valuable information from student traffic and the questions they asked that would help us plan for a more permanent booth in later semesters.

Once we knew what we were working within the physical space, our team created content for the backdrop and banners to catch attention from passing students and bring them to the area for help. We worked with the Academic Advising office to find out what were some of their commonly asked questions from students and built our banners around those questions. The content was separated into three sections for the large banner and four sections for the banners.

For the fall semester, it was decided that the plan was to set up a temporary booth that could be easily moved if we changed locations or needed to remove the equipment for some reason. The temporary booth for the semester would give us valuable information from student traffic and the questions they asked that would help us plan for a more permanent booth in later semesters.

Once we knew what we were working within the physical space, our team created content for the backdrop and banners to catch attention from passing students and bring them to the area for help. We worked with the Academic Advising office to find out what were some of their commonly asked questions from students and built our banners around those questions. The content was separated into three sections for the large banner and four sections for the banners.

To create awareness about the Academic Help Center when it was set up before the fall semester, freshman students were taken past the area on their freshman orientation tours and informed about how the students there could help them address and resolve their academic concerns. Social media posts on BYU-I’s Facebook and public announcements at the start of the semester helped other non-freshman students learn about the area, and how they could help those students as well.

Project Results

The project is still ongoing, and the information is still being gathered from the students and managers who work on the area to determine how effective it was in helping students and what subjects we need to focus more or less on. At the moment, the Center is busy helping passing students with their concerns, showing them features on the BYU-I website that can help them succeed, and helping them set up advising appointments to learn more about their majors and how to graduate successfully.