Following a successful pilot study at University of Birmingham, the Kortext Ambassador Programme has now launched at four institutions. Ambassadors are already trained and supporting their peers at all four universities, including both Exeter and University of Birmingham, with ambassador recruitment underway for a further four.
The programme is designed to improve student onboarding and engagement with the Kortext platform and collect feedback from the students on their Kortext experience. As a growing programme, during semester 1, ambassador activities and opportunities have increased, as has their impact at their universities and on Kortext.
This year, ambassadors have highlighted that many students are surprised to hear that their essential reading is offered through Kortext, paid for by their institution.
One ambassador said: “I didn’t know that we had core textbooks through Kortext when I joined this university, but I was incredibly happy to find out that we could access them for free.”
With a cohort of dedicated student ambassadors driving peer-to-peer engagement, this programme will continue to improve awareness of Kortext and exposure of the brand at UK universities.
The programme so far
Kortext’s close partnerships with library teams at each university enabled us to advertise the ambassador role through career’s services, social media and other key student communication channels at each university. On average we have recruited 5 ambassadors per university and these students have benefited from marketing experience, mentoring sessions, networking, vouchers and more. In addition, we are now developing our internship scheme to support universities in reaching their employability targets – in 2021 we welcomed one ambassador as a summer marketing intern.
“Since becoming an ambassador I’ve just met so many people and connected with students who have had the same experiences as me, spoken to different people at Kortext and obviously now I’m here doing the internship as well which looking back to where I was…it’s just mad. I think programmes like this are just essential for showing students what they are really capable of outside of academics and outside of the university bubble” – Taylor, University of Birmingham
Alongside their studies, ambassadors have been busy during semester 1, reaching out to peers on campus, through classes and within course chats and online forums to promote the benefits of Kortext’s eTextbook provision and study tools. They have also begun to post on university social media channels and present in lectures to target a wider proportion of the student body.
In addition, Kortext has held two focus groups with ambassadors to collate feedback from our student users. This has provided us with valuable user insight, enabling us to prioritise product developments to suit consumer needs and follow a strategy geared towards improving the student experience.
How have you accessed your learning materials over the past year?
Another ambassador commented: “I mainly use the app because I love my phone. I use it on the go, I find it easy to use and the accessibility is great.”
A deep dive into one university’s engagement since launching our Ambassador Programme
When comparing semester 1 2020 and semester 1 2021, our data demonstrates improved engagement at this institution. We recorded 4,327 registrations during semester 1 in 2020, but in 2021 recorded 11,338 registrations – a significant increase of 162%.
An induction was held for the ambassadors at this institution on the 16th September, involving group discussion on what the ambassadors were going to achieve. They were tasked with reaching out in their course group chats and societies to promote Kortext, support their peers in registering and using the platform. Just 4 days after this group meeting, the platform saw its largest spike in registrations (Fig.1), which can be attributed to the hard work of the ambassador team during BTU.
In 2020, this university recorded 100 users a day on the Kortext platform during semester 1 – this has since increased to an impressive 350 users a day, with 6,964 unique users active on the platform in October alone (Fig.2, Fig.3). This was also the ambassadors’ most active month, with direction given to them through one-to-one meetings on how to demonstrate to students on their courses how to access the platform and interact with the wider student body on LinkedIn and other social media channels. These tasks helped to drive awareness and engagement with learning materials on Kortext.
What’s next for the Programme?
Now in semester 2, ambassadors are settled in their roles and already developing new plans and setting goals to reach new students (100% of our ambassadors said they felt very confident or confident explaining the platform to other students!). With more students now on campus, ambassadors are keen to utilise events and other promotional opportunities to not only ensure students are registered with Kortext, but also to demonstrate effective ways of using the platform and its study tools, like annotation and search, to enhance the learning experience. As the Ambassador Programme develops and we work closely with ambassadors to find new ways of reaching out to their peers, we anticipate engagement levels will continue to grow.
100% of our ambassadors said they felt engaged and motivated with the programme with one ambassador stating in our December 2021 Programme Feedback Survey – “I’m really enjoying the programme so far and it’s a really great experience so thank you for this opportunity!”