Announcements in our Student Portal

When MyPCC was first introduced at Portland Community College, I would grab emails that came out to staff to post in our new student portal. The typical practice back then was for staff to send emails out to all other staff about something pertinent to students. Of course these messages were never seen by their true target. Hopefully some staff shared these with students in some way — perhaps posting on a wall or announcing something in class.

The days of me searching for news to post faded quickly. The college soon learned that students do indeed pay attention to announcements posted in the student portal (MyPCC). How did we know this? At the time we didn’t have any real statistics but we did have stories.

A faculty member thanked me for posting a poetry reading. He was very thankful because the reading had more than 70 students attend. This was a very impressive turn out.

We would also regularly get staff members posting an opportunity for students. For example, a job posting. Soon after we’d receive a request to remove the announcement due to the large response.

With success came the flood. I no longer had to search for announcements, everyone wanted one. Now we had to structure the communication. We did (that is a separate story), and while not perfect, our practices and governance are still in place.

We also now have better statistics on views of our announcements. Here are total views for a recent set of announcements:

  • 7,500 views: Grades Available Tues. 3/26
  • 12,000 views: Update on police investigation in the news
  • 6,500 views: Course evaluations online until 3/17
  • 2,500 views: Message from the President: Budget forums set
  • 5,900 views: Desire2Learn Outage and Storage Issues – 1/29/13 (only up for 2 full days)
  • 1,500 views: Weather Alert: All classes and events cancelled until noon today (only up 1 day and available prominently elsewhere on the PCC website)

Here is what a typical month looks like showing pageviews which equate to a view of an announcement:

Graphic showing views of announcement in MyPCC, the Portland Community College student portal, with daily totals ranging from 1,000 to 7,000

Our audience is aware and paying attention to what we say. While MyPCC isn’t the only way we reach our students it is a primary channel.