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5. Experiment and iterate

During the pandemic especially, universities need to adapt their offline content to online formats quickly, which means that neither the processes backing the courses nor the content itself will be perfect initially. The key, Crowley said, is to be agile.

Her school uses Hubspot, which Crowley said is still “a pretty manual process,” to send stay engaged with its students over email, with “low-activity” students receiving special content designed to encourage greater participation. But she said they’re on the lookout for ways to further streamline that process and to introduce more analytics and mobile-based communications.

By experimenting with a delay between the time people apply to get into HBSO and the time they’re notified whether they were accepted, Crowley said, it was discovered that enrollment rates were higher among the group whose notices were delayed. So they adopted the delay for everyone, she said.

“When you go quickly, you’re going to need to adjust and pivot. Build your systems to allow for it and lean into it,” she said. “It’s the only way to stay competitive.”

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