How Destiny One is helping Camosun College improve the experience for its continuing education students and corporate training clients
About Camosun College
Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia offers certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree and continuing education programs out of two campuses to over 19,000 students each year.
It serves non-traditional students mainly through two divisions: The Continuing Education unit—which offers open-enrollment classes and professional development programming to individuals—and Customized and Contract Training, which maintains training engagements with local businesses and industries.
Both units are housed within Camosun’s Partnerships Division, and while they were making a big impact in the community, Camosun’s Vice President of Partnerships Geoff Wilmshurst saw room for improvement, especially when it came to customer-friendliness and efficiency.
Our mission is to support financial sustainability and lessen the College’s reliance on grant money and domestic tuition fees. The best way for us to accomplish that is to make the Partnerships division profitable as a whole.
After all, by improving the experience for continuing education students and corporate clients, and creating opportunities for long-term relationships with both, the Partnerships Division would grow—which is critical for the success of the college as a whole.
“Our mission is to support financial sustainability and help lessen the College’s reliance on grant money and domestic tuition fees,” said Wilmshurst. “The best way for us to accomplish that is to make the Partnerships Division profitable as a whole.”
When it came to the Continuing Education unit, Wilmshurst said Camosun was having a hard time competing against other local education providers. Additionally, given the decentralization of non-credit offerings at Camosun, it was difficult for the college to deliver a consistent experience to its CE students.
Our mission is to support financial sustainability and lessen the College’s reliance on grant money and domestic tuition fees. The best way for us to accomplish that is to make the Partnerships division profitable as a whole. .
“While we’ve had many successful courses and programs with Continuing Education, we’ve only touched the surface of what’s possible,” he said. “We’re competing against two other postsecondary institutions who, in some cases, are offering very similar courses. We’d like to do a better job of distinguishing ourselves from them.”
In Customized and Contract Training, Camosun launched a workforce development initiative for the industrial marine sector and saw early success from its work, but wanted to ensure companies within this sector remained compelled to form partnerships with the division.
Additionally, looking at the early success of this industry training initiative, Wilmshurst saw opportunity for the college to establish more customized learning engagements with companies across a broader range of local industries. However, in order to truly realize this potential, it was critical to tighten processes around serving corporate clients and to facilitate easier engagement experiences for their partners.
To address these issues, Wilmshurst and the team at Camosun turned to Destiny One, the Student Lifecycle Management (SLM) platform by Modern Campus. Crafted specifically for non-traditional education, Destiny One provides staff with the tools they need to efficiently manage all aspects of the learner lifecycle, including marketing, enrollment, curriculum, finance and more. The SLM software platform integrates with main-campus systems, engages students with an Amazon-like experience, optimizes staff efficiency, and provides business intelligence that empowers data-driven decision making.
Camosun is leveraging Destiny One to transform their business across both the Continuing Education and Customized and Contract Training units by:
- Simplifying the experience for continuing education students
- Expanding and diversifying contract training partnerships
Why It’s Important for Non-Traditional Divisions to Invest in Purpose-Built Systems
For non-traditional divisions, their programming, students and approach to divisional management bears little in common with the work done by their colleagues on main campus. Unfortunately, many divisions have to make do with software systems designed to manage operations for main campuses.
This often puts divisional staff in a position where they need to paper over gaps
between MacGyvered systems while putting in superhuman effort to make highly manual
processes look automated. It can also create a situation where innovative program
ideas are left on the backburner because they can’t be launched with the available
At Camosun, despite the fact that main campus was looking to replace its existing system, Wilmshurst realized that Continuing Education and Contract Training would need a purpose-built software system to meet their goals.
“We’ve been working with quite an antiquated system, and while that system is in the process of being revamped for the broader college, it’s not meeting the unique needs of our continuing education and contract training clients,” he said.
Main campus software systems are designed to offer programs within specific semester-based periods of time, to learners enrolled in offerings that progress toward degrees and diplomas. They’re not designed to allow for programming that needs to be launched in response to workforce demands, or for offerings that do not conform to the semester system, or for students who are looking for just-in-time learning opportunities.
“Degree and diploma programming at Camosun are different from continuing education, and we need a dedicated system that can enable us to react more quickly.”
By investing in a system built specifically to manage non-traditional programming and students, Camosun is able to deliver the tailored experience their unique audiences want.
Simplifying the Experience for Continuing Education Students
“Growing our numbers of converted prospects and increasing our student retention are certainly a few of the motivations behind implementing a new system for continuing education and contract training,” said Wilmshurst.
The best way to accomplish the goal of increasing student enrollments and retention is to treat students like customers and deliver them the experience they expect. After all, today’s learners’ expectations are shaped by eCommerce giants like Amazon and Uber, and they have come to see simple processes and a streamlined experience as standard. For a college or university, not offering a customer experience that matches these expectations could lead to lost enrollments.
At Camosun, Destiny One is helping to deliver the high-quality customer experience CE students expect, which drives increased enrollments and long-term retention in two ways:
1. Centralizing program administration
2. Delivering an intuitive student experience
Centralizing Program Administration
One major challenge standing in the way of a great student experience for CE students at Camosun was the fact that program administration was not centralized. This meant every division and faculty across Camosun managed their non-credit programming and students in different ways, creating a situation where students who were enrolled in classes offered by multiple divisions had a very inconsistent experience. From the design of the website to the enrollment process to the approach students need to take to get critical information, consistency makes a huge difference in delivering a great customer experience.
This decentralized approach also meant that there was no way for the college to clearly understand how many CE students were enrolled at any given time or to have a handle on what courses were being offered to them and whether there was overlap.
“CE courses were based within the individual schools, with limited oversight structure for CE as a whole,” said Wilmshurst. “The student experience has been quite varied, depending on where in the college students enrolled and what they were trying to do. I don’t think it’s been terrible, but I think it could be enhanced by offering a consistent enrollment experience.”
Growing our numbers of converted prospects and increasing our student retention are a few of the motivations behind implementing a new system.
Under the new model, programming is still developed and taught by the faculties across the college. But the management of those offerings—the registration services, the student engagement outside the classroom, the support mechanisms—is all centralized and managed by the Partnerships division.
Delivering an Intuitive Student Experience
Destiny One also plays a key role in helping Camosun to deliver an enrollment experience that brings more students in the door and a student experience that keeps them retained and coming back.
To start, by offering an Amazon-like registration experience, Destiny One makes it as easy for students to register for courses as it is for them to buy books online. They can add items to their shopping cart, go through a secure payment process that allows them to use a credit card, and enroll for courses in seconds. And in the event that they add items to their cart but don’t progress through the purchasing phase, Destiny One saves their cart and sends an automated email that encourages the student to complete their registration.
Destiny One will give our continuing education learners a new, more positive way to interact with us.
Once they’re enrolled, students are automatically provisioned so they have immediate access to all the campus services they require. They also gain access to the innovative Student Portal, a self-service tool that allows learners to manage their own experience. Rather than coming to campus and waiting in line for service, students can perform most bureaucratic tasks simply and easily online, whether it’s requesting transcripts, reviewing historical financial information, getting receipts and much, much more. They can also start and save applications (to submit when they’re ready), drop courses and track their progress toward credentials, without having to rely on staff for help.
“Destiny One will give our continuing education learners a new, more positive way to interact with us.”
Delivering this kind of positive experience—one that simplifies the customer experience for learners and allows them to focus on their studies—can play a major role in bringing students back. After all, CE students are typically looking for just-in-time learning opportunities, and if they have a positive experience, they’ll likely look back to the college where they already have an account for future learning engagements.
Expanding and Diversifying Contract Training Partnerships
Contract and customized training is an incredibly lucrative market for higher education institutions, and Camosun is looking to expand their reach into this space.
To help in this effort Camosun is leveraging both the Destiny One CLM and the Destiny One Corporate Engagement Manager module, which provides Camosun staff and administrators the specific tools they need to manage this highly specialized element of their business. It helps schools quickly set up and manage multiple customized learning programs with thousands of learners and provides administrators with advanced tools that support contract set-up and configuration, resource management, invoicing and more. It also provides portals that allow for corporate self-administration: one for corporate administrators and another for corporate learners.
Specifically, Destiny One and the Corporate Engagement Manager is helping Camosun grow its Customized and Contract Training partnerships in two ways:
1. Simplifying corporate engagement
2. Improving corporate relationship management
Simplifying Corporate Engagement
From the perspective of a corporation, engaging in a customized training partnership with a postsecondary institution can be a labor-intensive affair. By leveraging Destiny One and the Corporate Engagement Manager, however, Camosun is able to deliver a simplified and intuitive experience to its corporate partners.
To start off, the Corporate Administrative Portal offers top-of-the-line self-service capabilities that allow organizational learning leaders to manage their company’s engagement with Camosun, quickly and easily. They can add and remove learners from their corporate group with a click and individually or bulk enroll students in courses, sections and even certificates.
This means, rather than relying on each employee to enroll in the correct offerings
or having to manage each employee enrollment individually, corporate learning leaders
can save time and money by quickly managing the experience of their employees.
“Our clients, particularly those on the marine industry side, want a very simple way to reach us. For example, we’re going to have to make sure that we don’t make it difficult for them to register for a program,” said Wilmshurst. “Destiny One will make registration quicker and easier for our corporate partners.”
Destiny One also allows the college to easily invoice their partners and provide real-time reports and notifications on enrollments. This ensures Camosun and its partners are on the same page at every stage of the customized training partnership and that neither party wastes time trying to manually piece together information.
Destiny One will make registration quicker and easier for our corporate partners.Geoff WilmshurstVice President of Partnerships, Camosun College
These are a few of the key ingredients involved in ensuring single training engagements turn into long-term customized training partnerships between Camosun and the organizations, companies and industries in their service area.
Improving Corporate Relationship Management
Not only does Destiny One make it easier for corporations to engage with Camosun—these tools also make it easier for Camosun to engage with its corporate partners.
To start, Destiny One makes it easy for divisional staff to create custom course catalogs for their corporate partners. At the touch of a button, Camosun’s Contract Training staff can select certificates, bundles, courses and sections for any given corporate partner and set corporate contract pricing levels as well.
What’s more, Camosun can now easily publish branded corporate learner portals and registration websites for each of their corporate partners. The pages can be customized with the corporation and Camosun’s logos, and can be set up to offer specifically the courses made available through each individual partnership at the appropriate rate. This creates an individualized and high-touch experience for the corporation, but is easy and automated for school staff.
All this reduces the amount of time staff have to spend in the minutiae of managing their corporate partnerships—allowing them to spend time on areas of more importance like program management, marketing and customer service—while still delivering a world-class experience to their partners.
“In the past, a lot of our staff hours were taken up in operational tasks—simply supporting the proper functioning of our old system,” said Wilmshurst. “By moving to the modern Destiny One system, we’re going to be able to free up our staff to focus on other things such as client interfacing and business development.”
Delivering a Great Experience and Preparing for Growth
By investing in the purpose-built Destiny One Customer Lifecycle Management system, Camosun is preparing to significantly grow and expand its continuing education and contract training operations.
“We’re really excited to be implementing Destiny One,” said Wilmshurst. “It feels like we’re moving from the horse-and-buggy to high-speed trains.”
By leveraging the Destiny One CLM, Camosun is streamlining the administration of two
major elements of their business, improving management effectiveness and transforming
the experience they deliver both to their CE students and the corporate training clients.
Ultimately, by exceeding the expectations of these audiences while at the same time allowing their staff to focus on high-value work (rather than rote, manual processes), Camosun is better able to differentiate itself from its competition and make significant strides in growing their revenues and enrollments.
It feels like we’re moving from the horse-and-buggy to high-speed trains.
“The goals for the Partnerships Division are to enhance profitability and improve the overall student experience, and Destiny One is going to help us meet those goals,” said Wilmshurst.