One month after announcing the OCCC website would receive an overhaul, the consulting firm contracted to help rebuild the site presented its preliminary findings Nov. 16.
Stephanie Geyer, Noel-Levitz Higher Education Consulting associate vice president, said 431 prospective students, community members and OCCC faculty and staff members responded to a web-based survey regarding the current website.
In addition, Geyer said, an additional survey targeting current students is available online now at www.occc.edu/survey.
An overwhelming percentage of prospective students said a college’s website plays an important role in their decision to enroll in the school.
“Nearly all [prospective students] told us they go to the college’s website to learn how to enroll,” Geyer said.
Although most of those prospective students are accessing the college website from home, she said, a growing number of individuals — 20 percent — are accessing the site from their mobile phones.
“There has been an incredible increase in the use of smart phones in the past six months,” Geyer said.
Because of increased cell phone usage, she said, mobile compatibility is a driving factor in the website’s redesign.
Geyer said tuition costs, and program and degree details ranked as the most important information for prospective students to view online.
Ninety-six percent of students said they visited the OCCC website for tuition details.
As a result of their findings, she said, the new website will feature a tuition calculator for students to use.
Another feature highly sought after by students is a private social networking site accessible only by OCCC students. Geyer said that was an unexpected finding.
“It’s normally something we only see in four-year and private institutions,” she said.
“But because students here have expressed the desire for this kind of connection, we will see what we can do.”
In addition to the tuition calculator and social media site, she said, prospective students surveyed also suggested features like customized website personalization and online forms to request campus visits and information such as course catalogs.
Three-quarters of the 190 faculty and staff members who participated in the study said they not only regularly access the website from work, but also from home and mobile phones.
Many employees cited MineOnline and the employee e-mail system as their favorite website tools, Gower said, although nearly half reported struggling with managing the multiple passwords needed to use the different web applications.
In addition, 85 percent of surveyed employees said they would appreciate a comprehensive portal featuring a single password to log into all programs.
Nearly half of 152 surveyed community members said they use the OCCC website to research upcoming community events and programs, such as Arts Festival Oklahoma and the Cultural Arts Series.
Geyer said these individuals turn to the website in search of facility details, schedules and offers.
In addition, she said, almost 90 percent of surveyed citizens said they would appreciate an online system that would allow them to register and pay for recreational classes online.
Other frequently requested items included an easy-to-find calendar, virtual tours, and an e-mail inquiry form, Geyer said.
She said the website’s preliminary framework testing should begin soon.
No launch date has been announced for the website’s debut, Geyer said.