Scholantis Web and Portal sites encompass a rich set of tools that greatly enhance communication, content management and collaboration across all levels of a school district. This guide will help you get the most out of these capabilities by outlining a plan and strategies to engage users and drive adoption.
A successful launch acts as the basis for engagement with your stakeholders, and addressing the following will help set the conditions for success:
- Identify key stakeholders, early adopters and influencers who can help promote and provide though leadership during the launch.
- Try to find alignment with strategic initiatives, i.e. “improve internal communications” or “reduce printing costs”, to provide a link to the big picture goals of the district that can be used in communications.
- Begin communicating with users by sending series of “here’s what’s coming” emails outlining features, capabilities and try to answer “What’s in it for me”.
- Ensure key staff, such as district and school administrators, education technologists and training staff are trained to use their sites and support others.
- Confirm IT staff are ready to support infrastructure and users.
- Define internal issue resolution processes to provide a clear channel for users to get the support they require.
- Establish plan to add or migrate content to all sites to ensure that users or visitors have a good initial experience.
It takes creativity and effort to engage users beyond site publishers and early adopters, and the following approaches will reach users by showing them the value of the various site features.
Involve as many parts of the district in the launch as possible by:
- Recognizing outstanding sites, i.e. “Best School Site” or “Most Creative Group Site”
- Issuing certificates of achievement for using basic site features, i.e. “Congratulations on your personal site”
- Highlighting successful adoption of site features, i.e. a short description of how a school or department organized their information in their portal site for better reference
Generating & keeping interest
Once the Web and Portal sites have been in operation for some time, it is critical that they are maintained, which can be done by:
- Set a goal of keeping portal and public sites fresh by updating the front page at least once a week. Assist from district where required and review sites regularly.
- Occasionally send Hints and Tips emails to reinforce features and benefits
Transition from reliance on email
Email is an important and pervasive communications tool, but it locks information into a format that is not easy to explore and maintain. Districts can move this information out of the Inbox through these techniques:
- Identify five regular (daily, weekly, or monthly) communications, i.e. Board meeting notes that are emailed between different aspects of the district such as leadership to school administrators, principals to staff or departments to staff. Begin by sending attachments as normal but also share and link to the attachments in the portal. Next, send only links to the documents in the portal, then eventually subscribe the recipients to be alerted when new versions are published.
- Find staff who are subject matter experts that regularly publish documents which are disseminated by email. Work with them to share their documents from their personal site or department site.
Shift to electronic forms & processes
Managing forms in Portal and Web sites is a natural technique to drive adoption as they are ingrained in many processes across a district.
- Work with departments to centralize employee forms and send regular announcements when forms change to reinforce their availability
- Migrate commonly used forms from download and print to online submission
- Measure form utilization and leverage electronic forms and workflows tools to automate processes where possible
Leverage Online Collaboration
Scholantis Portal sites enable easy online collaboration through the group sites feature. Group sites foster the same sense of community as social media networks, but their ease of use brings them within the reach of less tech savvy users.
- Identify working groups that could leverage collaboration tools and support their transition to group sites
- Leverage key stakeholders and influencers to show leadership by moving their activities to group sites and drawing in other users
Support Digital Learning
As with group sites, Scholantis Portal’s class sites feature allow teachers to manager their classrooms online, but with the privacy and security of being hosted by the district.
- Provide exemplars to teachers who are currently using other tools in their classroom
- Utilize class sites in professional development situations to illustrate their features and functionality
Tools to Understand Habits
In addition to the individual strategies outlined in this guide, there are several ways to monitor and refine your efforts to drive adoption:
- Monitor the analytics provided by SharePoint and through Google to observe where user activity is taking place and which Portal and Web site features are being used.
- Review search usage and add refinements such as best bets and highlighted results to continue to improve the search experience for users