Rio Salado College: Partnership With InScribe to Develop Innovative Digital Community

Annette Flores
Member Spotlight

Rio Salado College (RSC) and InScribe have partnered to launch a pilot series of innovative digital communities that will allow RSC’s students to easily connect with their peers, advisors, and faculty to promote engagement and improve outcomes. These interactive spaces were designed in partnership with the college’s student leaders, incorporating their experience and feedback to ensure that each community is engaging, impactful, and relevant.

The decision to adopt a digital community strategy aligns with RSC's commitment to flexible, on-demand student support and creating an inclusive culture across the institution. The institution is creating these virtual spaces so students from across the country can connect to get help, share ideas, build relationships, and find encouragement from each other.

RSC’s Interim Vice President of Strategy and Advancement Janelle Elias noted,

Student input is a powerful tool; when our student and alumni groups told us that they wanted an easier means of onboarding, peer mentoring, and connecting, we involved student leaders in the design of these communities to increase their sense of ownership and ensure that the content is student-centered.

"Collaborating with the InScribe team has been an exciting process,” she continued. “We've been able to merge a proven community approach with our own students' ideas and insights. Since the platform is not prescriptive, it allows us to be more intentional about our outcomes and create spaces that resonate with students."

Students have been participating in the college's digital sandbox pilot initiative where they have practiced and experimented with the intuitiveness, functionality, and multimedia capabilities of InScribe's technology. Cordero Holmes, who served as Rio Salado’s 2020-2021 student senator and is the current Arizona Phi Theta Kappa Regional Development Officer, said,

When Rio Salado asked students for input on how to improve the student experience, the first thing that came to mind was more employee-student engagement, especially early on to help those who are new to college and the enrollment process, which can be extremely overwhelming. I was invited to join faculty and staff to create this InScribe pilot program as a way of improving that engagement, which will hopefully inspire and instill confidence in students to continue and complete their educational endeavors. I believe earlier and more frequent employee-student interactions will help them greatly.

RSC and InScribe were brought together through the College Innovation Network (CIN), an extension of WGU Labs that connects institutions with a rich source of EdTech innovations and helps them identify, launch, and evaluate essential tools. The college’s digital community is grant-funded through CIN, which also is preparing an in-depth research study of the digital community's impact.

"Today's students are asked to navigate a maze of information and websites, which often leaves them feeling overwhelmed, especially when learning at a distance," said Katy Kappler, CEO of InScribe. She continued,

Rio Salado's digital community simplifies the way students find answers and get support, but it also builds upon the human connection that is so important to their educational experience and success. The Rio Salado team has been open and inquisitive since our partnership began, and it's been inspiring to see all of this come together, especially with such a high level of student attention and contribution.

Annette Flores is a Senior Public Relations Analyst at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.