If you braved the snow on Monday, December 2nd, to join us at Career Everywhere - this blog will be no surprise! Read on for a sneak peek into what you can expect for updates and new releases in the first quarter of the new year!
A few things to note
We've done our research and listened to your ideas. Now, we're ready to start building!
Before we dive in, there's a few things to note:
This is not an inclusive list – you’ll see many more updates throughout the year than just what we’ll talk about today, so stay tuned!
The items we'll cover today are those that we’ve already mapped out for the beginning of the year, or those that speak to broader projects we're focusing on that will span the entire year. We’ll continue to send our Features and Updates blog every month that will provide detailed lists for you and your team, and stay tuned for more product roadmap announcements every quarter!
The problem we're solving for
Strada and Gallup surveyed 32,585 currently enrolled college students, from 43 randomly selected colleges and universities, and found that 86% of incoming freshmen between 2010 and 2017 said getting a better job represented a critical factor in their decision to enroll in college.
Yet, 39% of students have never visited their school’s career services office or used its online resources – including more than one-third of seniors. This tells us that there’s a clear disconnect between a student’s reason for enrolling, and their awareness of the resources and tools designed to get them there.
One of the main factors contributing to this lack of awareness is the scattered nature of these resources. Often, we find that these valuable tools are spread across multiple departments, apps, websites, and portals on campus, making it difficult for students to know what resources exist, or how and when to use them effectively.
We’ve taken all this information and used it to inform our development as a company, inspiring us to build the platform in a way that will make the career and student success resources on campus more visible, accessible, and universally effective in helping all students launch or advance their careers upon completion, all in an effort to help our institutional partners more confidently make, and effectively deliver on the promise of career advancement.
Our product development strategy
What has this meant for uConnect this year?
- A focus on building partnerships with the tools you use across campus, to build deep and powerful integrations that highlight and consolidate your content in a way that’s both meaningful for students throughout their career pathway, and effective at improving scalability for your team to make it as easy as possible to manage your ecosystem.
- It’s allowed us to focus on creating unique platform layouts to effectively display a wider variety of experiences and resources on your platform, highlighting what’s important about each one in order to tell a clear story to visitors.
- And finally, it’s enabled us to create new channels and products to promote your work to a wider audience.
Product Roadmap: The Integration Library
Now, let's dive into the updates themselves!
Employers & Job Boards
In 2019, we focused on making our current job and employer integrations even easier to promote by implementing auto-tag, auto-publish workflows for all API-based integrations. This means that we can map your tagging structure from within these systems to your uConnect communities and content categories, enabling the system to pre-tag your content to the relevant communities for you. Because of this increased automation, we’re now happy to support an auto-publish feature as well! Rather than manually publishing employers and jobs, you can set up your integration to automatically publish them for you. This is great for schools who want to showcase the full range of their job opportunities instead of a highlight reel. This update applies to:
The updated API and auto-tag, auto-publish workflows for all three of these integration partners will launch in Q1 2020.
News & Advice
In an effort to simultaneously improve scalability and quality of content, we integrated with five new trusted content partners that curate high quality professional development and career success articles. These integrations provide you with a ready-to-use library of informative articles that you can publish in just a few clicks, to help scale your efforts at providing thoughtful content to your students, without requiring all the time and resources that go into writing a blog from scratch. The five new partners include:
We also released a feature that allows you to auto-import any campus blog feeds, to help further consolidate relevant content from across campus.
We’re actively reaching out to new partners to build out more feeds and will update you as those become available. If you have specific sources that you use with students and would like to see included in our outreach, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This year, we integrated with the Vault to import industry guides straight to your resource library. These guides help to inform student pathways by providing insights into various companies, industries, and fields of study. By embedding them directly into your relevant career communities, you help to clarify what a pathway looks like for a student, which is a key step in helping them make their career decisions.
Interested in integrating? Reach out to email@example.com to learn more!
This year, we developed a universal import feature which allows you to import events from any community or campus calendar with an iCal feed. This helps to further consolidate your experiential content across campus into one clean interface for students to engage with.
We also developed new event integrations with CampusGroups and CampusLabs, to import campus events, and specific events hosted by student organizations.
In Q1 of 2020, we're also releasing an expansion to the events side of many of our existing integrations, including Symplicity, GradLeaders, and 12Twenty to support automated workflows for all three.
SIS & SSO
We refined our universal Student Information System integration to work with any system that can provide an automated export of student data. This integration works to map incoming users to communities based on any accompanying information you choose to include, which helps to tailor their experience from the start, and provides you with more insight into their interests when you proactively communicate with them.
In 2020, we’re expanding the capabilities of our SSO integration, which will allow for dual authentication portals. This will enable you to provide SSO access for not only students and faculty, but alumni, employers, or any other key stakeholder that uses a separate configuration method to authenticate within your institution’s digital ecosystem.
In 2019, we released a brand new content type! Now, you can promote your entire mentor community within your uConnect platform, alongside the rest of your meaningful career development content and tools.
Mentor profiles can be filtered and explored on a library page, which features all published mentors, and within community pages, where we can highlight relevant mentors based on their imported areas of expertise and which communities are most relevant.
This content layout is available to the entire uConnect community, regardless of whether you utilize one of our recently released integrations to source the content. We developed integrations with PeopleGrove, Firsthand, and Graduway, all of which support automated workflows, allowing you to pre-tag and auto-publish your entire mentor community straight to your uConnect platform.
Now, you can present your mentors in a clear and informative way to facilitate your students’ ability to network with your greater institutional community!
Like our new People content type identified above, we developed an entirely unique way to format and present your organization information by highlighting exactly what’s meaningful for this unique group of opportunities. Organizations are a key place to network, gain insight into a field, meet employer partners, hone your skills and develop passion for a particular industry or field, which is why it was so import for us to create a defined space to promote them on your platform. When an organization is published on your platform, it also automatically becomes a tag which you can use to tag relevant content, like events hosted by the organization, resources the organization has produced, users that make up the organization’s executive team, employers that they partner with, alumni that were once apart of the club, and more. This content can then accompany the native content on each organization’s profile, building out a truly robust online experience for anyone looking to learn more.
If powered via an integration, we can also link out to the club profile within the system for a user to register or sign up. Like other content types, organizations can be explored via a library page of all published clubs, curated widgets featuring community-relevant organizations, and through unique profile pages.
Again, this content layout is available to the entire uConnect community, regardless of whether you utilize one of our recently released integrations to source the content. We developed integrations with CampusLabs and CampusGroups, both of which support automated workflows, allowing you to pre-tag and auto-publish your entire organization library straight to your uConnect platform.
Next year, we’re focusing on ways to promote your study abroad, volunteer trip, immersive mission trips and more, through our new ‘Experiences’ content format! Like with organizations and mentors, this new content layout is being expertly designed to promote the key pieces of information that are meaningful to someone interested in learning more about an immersive experience.
In addition to this unique content format, we’ll also be releasing an integration with Terra Dotta, to automatically import, tag, and publish experiences housed in Terra Dotta, straight to your uConnect platform.
2020 will also be the year that we release new ways to highlight your video content. Whether these are interview tips, recorded webinars, or ‘how-to’ videos, we’re building out our content layouts to more effectively promote your videos across your platform. This update will include a video library, the ability to categorize your videos the same way you do for all other content types, curatable widgets for your community pages, and more.
This new update will be released simultaneously, with automated integrations available from CareerSpots and CandidCareers, to consolidate and promote your video content within your uConnect platform.
Product Roadmap: New Channels
Next, we’ll look at the new channels, or products, we’ve developed to promote your career pathway content within new contexts, for different stakeholders.
In 2019 we released a new product, 'Program Pages', which are designed to embed career outcomes and opportunities into the enrollment experience, to inspire prospective students and drive leads based on the promise of career advancement.
Now more than ever, prospective students are weighing the costs of higher education, which means the tie between programs and outcomes is more significant than it's ever been. Students need to know that the investment in higher education will be worth the increasing cost. Program Pages bridge this gap by embedding success stories, outcome data, internships, study abroad, volunteer opportunities, and all other career-forming experiences and activities into one, clearly defined and contextualized page. This creates a clear pathway for students to not only be inspired by a potential outcome, but to be able to clearly point to the opportunities that will get them there – all of which are unique to YOUR institution, and drive leads for YOUR program.
Outcome Data Visualization Tool
Our Outcome Data Visualization tool is designed to highlight your outcome data in a way that’s interactive and accessible to your entire community. Our ODV tool transforms your data into a tool to inspire enrollment and persistence, by showcasing achievable outcomes from past students in way that’s meaningful for each individual. Your data can be filterable by year of graduation, degree level, major, gender, visa status, and more – all designed in a way to create an inclusive experience.
Out Outcome Data Visualization tool can be used as a standalone product, as an added module within your uConnect platform (both as a standalone, shareable page and through curated data promoted within communities), or as an iframe that you’re free to embed across your existing campus web presence.
What else can you expect?
In addition to what we've outlined so far, there will be many more updates to come! Some top level themes we're focusing on are:
Stay tuned for more as we release new features, updates, and improvements to or uConnect community! We're proud to have accomplished so much with you all in 2019, and excited for all that 2020 has in store!