Education North East’s marketing team, curriculum and support staff replaced the planned on-site open events across each of its campuses with virtual open events during the government COVID-19 lock down.
A virtual open event to take place at the same time as the planned on-site open event to enable prospective students to engage with the college when a physical event was not possible. EventBrite was amended to inform pre-registered visitors of the virtual open event and were advised to use Live Chat on the college’s website at a time convenient to them during the event.
The marketing team operated a Live Chat ‘switchboard’ to manage chats to key curriculum areas. Curriculum staff available to log into Live Chat and pick up transferred chats from Marketing Staff. Visitors can also apply online.
Marketing staff registered attended students using an excel spreadsheet on EventBrite app and identified those who did not attend. The latter were sent a follow-up email.
Northumberland College virtual open day event, 31 March 2020:
Hartlepool Sixth Form virtual open day event, 2 April 2020:
Kirkley Hall College virtual open day event, 29 April 2020:
Sunderland College virtual open day event, 12 May 2020:
*received on or after the event as part of follow-up activities with participants,
“I was very apprehensive of chatting to people in case it was for different areas to my subject area, but I felt it went really well I was able to navigate and transfer from using the documents I was given, and I am really looking forward to doing another one.”
“I thought this went really well given it was the first virtual event we have ever delivered. Obviously, the normal structure of an event is to have students physically come along to the campus, however this is a great alternative.”
“It is a good idea to try and remotely engage prospective students.”
“Freeman was very helpful and told me more than I needed to know about the course I would like to do, thank you.”
Staff costs and extension to Live Chat licence (£800 extra for three months)
Training staff and their reluctance to use new technology – staff were briefed via email a day before the event and were sent training notes for using Skype, Live Chat and how to transfer a chat.
Reduction in the receipt of applications from a standard Open Event. The Recruitment Team are now adopting a follow-up process and engaging students who joined the event
Looking at options to add more elements to the event in the future including group presentations and allocated curriculum or college virtual ‘rooms’.
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