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Streamlining a communication and training plan on campus

University Business, November 2013
Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of retention services, San Antonio College
Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of retention services, San Antonio College

Just when Mona Aldana-Ramirez thought she had all the answers, they kept changing the questions. The director of retention services at San Antonio College had to spearhead the implementation of a new enrollment program while fielding thousands of student requests for clarification. But every time she trained a few of her 20-person part-time staff, the enrollment process would change, and she would have to go out and retrain. “The Texas legislature would make changes to the community college system, and we were constantly updating our internal procedures,” she says. “It was hard to keep the training up to date so that my staff would have the right information for students.”

Aldana-Ramirez, who spoke at UBTech 2013 on this subject, needed a solution that would streamline her training and communications processes, allow easy updates to free up her time, and more efficiently disseminate new enrollment standards to her staff. There was a hiring freeze on at San Antonio College, which is the largest single-campus community college in Texas and one of the largest in the United States, with 26,000 students. She had no technology budget available.

“My goal was to reduce student complaints and improve our training protocols, but I had to do more with less.”

In her search, Aldana-Ramirez discovered that the science department was already working with Mediasite, a video management platform by Sonic Foundry, so sharing resources meant she didn’t have to spend any money to obtain a solution. Since the university had already purchased Mediasite, Aldana-Ramirez received one full day of training with a Sonic Foundry consultant. “I still have comprehensive support by phone, remote access, and through email,” she says.

She’s now able to shoot and edit training videos from the comfort of her own office. She then sends links to her staff and encourages feedback and clarification. Over the last few months, Aldana-Ramirez has built a library of dozens of short training videos that clarify changes in the admissions process and get new hires up to speed. Mediasite also has built-in metrics that allow Aldana-Ramirez to keeps tabs on who has viewed the videos. “I’m able to ensure that all my staff complete the modular training,” she says.

Now, Aldana-Ramirez says, “I spend a fraction of the time I used to conducting training sessions.” Staff is up to speed and students are a lot happier with the registration process. Before Aldana-Ramirez began using Mediasite, her staff was only able to resolve 17 percent of student requests. Just three months after instituting the new training system, that number was up to 90 percent.

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