Analyzing CX Data and User Research to Uncover Opportunities to Improve the Student Experience

Case Study

How might we transform a routine technology survey into an engaging and efficient platform for student insights?  
The IT leadership team of USC’s top ranked Communication and Journalism school was tasked with developing a technology vision and strategy that would balance business, academic, and student needs. Rather than taking an operationally-driven approach to planning, they wanted to employ a more customer-based approach built on a qualitative and quantitative understanding of their student population. These insights would then drive strategic priorities, and ensure that their decisions would be aligned with the needs of today’s students and anticipate the behaviors of tomorrow’s professionals.

Seeking an outside perceptive, MO Studio partnered with USC Annenberg’s Chief Information Officer to rethink how a survey could go beyond data and opinions, providing a balance of practical and strategic insight.

The resulting reimagined survey uncovered key insights into how technology could add more value to the student learning experience and highlighted actionable opportunities to improve services and resources. The survey also highlighted better approaches for student service offerings, misalignments of current offerings and a more clear understanding of value driving academic and career experiences for students. Based on these opportunities, strategic recommendations to create new value for students were developed.

Shortly after the engagement, changes were made that had a direct impact on how Annenberg manages its portfolio of services and formulates their annual plan. Survey insights and data are now used to prioritize strategic and tactical investment decisions. Communication and signage were improved to increase awareness of underutilized resources. The range and integration of technology offerings were expanded.  Syllabi and industry needs were better integrated throughout offerings to match student needs.

Most importantly, the experiences led to better collaboration across the organization with the creation of five tips to develop human-centered technology strategies for higher education, which was shared at the USC 2017 Campus Technology Conference.

Their tailored design thinking approach enabled a renewed look at our user engagement initiative, yielding fresh and actionable results that we were able to quickly implement. I was impressed by how quickly their work generated positive, tangible outcomes.”
– James Vasquez, CIO of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism