Colleges, wise to the need for better digital engagement, increasingly turn to Cleveland-based Wisr

Colleges are working hard to build better digital communities during the pandemic, according to this article from Forbes, and a Cleveland company is emerging as a leader in helping them do that.

The ed-tech company at the heart of the piece is Wisr, which, as Forbes puts it, “helps colleges create private digital communities for students and alumni to engage — to get a feeling for what life is like on campus, and to find friends and mentors with similar interests.”

From the article:

The company is in the midst of a rapid expansion amid the pandemic as shelter-in-place orders and canceled college visits have created a surge in demand.

Over the past month, Wisr has more than doubled its list of partner schools, including Yale, Brown, Duke, Cleveland State and more. Higher education is often considered a slow-moving enterprise. But Wisr has been able to onboard those admissions teams quickly. Average launch time has been 12 days, CEO Kate Volzer said.

“Higher ed, it’s like a tanker — you can’t just pivot on a dime. But what the industry has done so far, taking the whole process online, it’s really impressive,” she said.

Volzer tells Forbes that creating a dynamic digital campus experience “isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ anymore — it’s a necessity.” To help do that, Wisr “has added a number of new features over the last month,” according to Forbes. “There have been online trivia nights, live webinars, other ‘Ask Me Anythings,’ real-time discussion boards and embedded live webinars. Several universities have been able to keep student ambassadors employed, deploying them instead in this digital space.”

This story originally appeared in Crain’s Cleveland Business on April 20, 2020.

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