Journey Mapping Sheds Light on First Year Student Experience
What does a day in the life of a UA first-year look like? And how is technology supporting their academic goals?
These are the important questions a group of technologists, staff, and faculty were recently asking former freshmen as part of a three-day Student Journey Mapping workshop.
Led by University Information Technology Services, and facilitated by vendor Asynchrony Labs, the journey mapping workshop captured the voice of the student to understand their experience, behaviors, and feelings during their first year at the University of Arizona.
The UA is fortunate to have a better than average freshman retention rate, with 80% of students making it past their freshman year, while the nationwide average retention rate for first year students is 71%.
Regardless, the first year of college can be eye opening for students for a variety of reasons. The journey mapping workshop allowed students to share important insights as they traversed their first year journey, revealing areas of trepidation, confusion, elation, and frustration.
“There were a lot of things I didn’t know as a freshman,” said Amy Barrientos, a pre-business sophomore. She continued, “But making my voice heard and speaking for students who are in similar situations as me is going to help them in the future.”
The idea for the workshop originated from Darcy Van Patten, Executive Director, Student and Academic Technologies for UITS. According to Van Patten, “As technology continues to evolve, the way students use and consume technology is changing, too. Direct input from students will help us fine tune our strategies and ensure we are on the right path to provide the tools and services for them to be successful.”
She continued, “Using the journey mapping process strategically and collaboratively with our campus partners will provide clear direction to create a shared vision for the first year student experience.”
Information collected from students during the process will be compiled and used by UITS and other campus partners to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities with the potential for creating high value, positive impact for students.
A whole new class of freshmen embarked on their college experience when fall classes began earlier this week at University of Arizona on Monday, August 20. UITS staff are already developing short “on the street” surveys to continue the conversation and learn more about what incoming students need to be successful.