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Lander College for Men, Kew Gardens Hills, Queens ​welcome to WGU live we've got kind of a special WGU live session today we're gonna be interviewing a student representative I'm joined here by Natalie Murray who's our VP of student experience here at WGU so basically Natalie's gonna have an opportunity to talk to one of our students who's built kind of a large Facebook following within a Facebook group and we're really excited to talk to them so Natalie welcome thanks so much Chris I appreciate it hello everyone I'm so excited to have this opportunity to not only talk to one of our students through Facebook live but also have him ask us a few questions as Chris mentioned I'm the VP of student experience and swen is coming on board I just had the opportunity to look at some of the Facebook groups some of the conversations that were happening with our students and was so excited to get to connect with some of the administrators so Matt Armstrong is here with us today and Healy it's one of the larger Facebook groups it's very active and would love to have him introduce himself and and say hello from Florida hey Natalie how are you doing great it's a pleasure to be here I'm great it's a pleasure to be here thank you so much for having me and I'm excited about about this first round of interviews that we're gonna have and you know getting tell you a little bit myself and learn a little bit more about what's going on behind the scenes at WGU awesome well thanks so much for joining us and I loved for you to share a bit about your Facebook group and and you know kind of the goal of that group sure yeah so my group is WGU accelerators so I I finished my degree at WGU and I met some amazing people along the way and kind of found myself still helping them with some courses and giving some tips and I thought there's got to be you know a larger population of students that want to connect and want to have that ability to share some of the you know the information or things that they've learned so I started the w accelerators group on Facebook and it started with just myself and a gentleman named Kyle that I had met through the program and little by little over the last about four months it's stemming into about 2,000 students and growing and it it's exceeded any expectation that I had and incredibly proud of everybody in the group oh that's so awesome and wow you completed your bachelor's in 12 months that's that's incredible I I know you're working full time do you have any advice for any students who might be starting WGU or might be struggling absolutely absolutely so I would say the the biggest piece of advice that I can give you is is remember the goal so remember the target why you started you know for me I had a even on my phone the background was always a graduation cap and I and always kind of remember hey you know what there's you know what you're going for at the end here it makes it so much easier to keep pushing yourself through that process so I think if you can remember why it is that you're doing what you're doing and what you know envision what your life is going to look like at the end when you when you finally cross that across that stage get that diploma it makes things so much easier it is so important to focus on the why and where your where your goals are I know we do that a lot my my goal is to serve all of you to be focused on your student experience and and and help you achieve those those goals that you set for yourself and I love the idea of giving you that visual reminder your background on your phone that's that's awesome advice so what has been your favorite thing about WGU I think my favorite thing about WGU is the same thing that allowed me to complete my degree in twelve months and it was that competency-based education you know I I did start my college degree with a lot of other w/g students at a different University at private university and I did well but I felt like I spent a lot of my time just kind of learning some things that I already knew that in my professional life I had worked with I had dealt with so you know coming to WGU and being able to to put all that information that I had learned and things I had gathered over my you know career and put that into use was amazing and you know and still is I'm starting my my MBA here at WGU and actually have family who've now started W as well and you know it was WG was kind of it was just a blessing and that comedy see based model is just it's amazing it is amazing and it's really impactful for all the working professionals out there that are trying to get their their bachelor's degree and those of you working on your masters it's really incredible and and we're very very proud of that model and and just from you know going from being in another university and then now having your bachelor's I'm thinking towards your MBA you know how is this experience kind of impacted the rest of your life I mean you know in the you know in the forefront of it it's you know it's opened up some doors professionally for

me you know I had I had a strong background you know I had some really good knowledge in my field but I didn't have that degree you know so competing you know at that level was hard and now you know I'm I'm at that level and looking to exceed the level that I even thought I was at so I think that in itself has really impacted you know impacted me and even out there you know looking and saying you know what am i capable now what doors are open and there's so much more in my future now that that I wouldn't have been able to been able to even think about doing without having that degree yeah that's awesome and yes there's many doors open to you and I'm excited about you starting your MBA and and then your family members and opening those doors for them as well that's fantastic so through the beauty of Facebook I've been able to kind of you know see some of the activity of the various groups of students and I absolutely love to to view the postings and see how you support one another and cheer each other on and and celebrate your successes it's just been fantastic to be able to see that and and I know that people ask questions and you've been kind of collecting some questions you know in prep for this but also you know just kind of understanding where people are at so I'm curious if there's anything you like to to know for me or anything that you'd like to know about WGU absolutely I think as college students were all pretty inquisitive so there there was tons of questions that that flooded across but III picked a you know a couple that I think would would give us some really great information a little bit of a behind the scenes that we were looking for you know the first thing that I'd love to ask you and a lot of other questions are asking you know what is the role of VP of student experience you know what is it that that you do and you know things that you work towards you know kind of further everything for students yeah absolutely so I want to start out by saying that the entire organization all five thousand-plus of us WG staffers are 100% focused on student obsession it is our primary goal and so to be representing the student experience it's it's really one slice of the work but but really every single person talks about students they advocate for students and they're they're invested in your success they make choices every single day that ensure that you're successful so that being said I'm part of a new organization the student experience group I'm so proud to represent our enrollment operations or faculty operations our training and coaching as well as our general education and in our Student Success centers and the ways that we support you it's a fantastic group and we're entirely focused on the entitled student journey from the time that you're curious about WGU maybe you saw an ad or perhaps as someone referred you to WGU and your whole journey through to learning and achieving and graduation and Beyond and hopefully like you are becoming a student again so it's a wonderful organization I'm so proud to be a part of WT you have long respected and regarded the institution and the competency-based model that's awesome that's awesome thanks so much for that so you know obviously my degree there my group the accelerators you know we talk a lot about tips on you know how to get through a class if you're stuck or what are some roadblock killers some things that you can use or do to move forward and one thing that really helped me during my degree was using the writing and math centers and I think that's a really underutilized resource so is that something that you see a lot on your side and you know and maybe it's just something that students don't see a whole lot oh can you give us a little bit of information about those centers and how students might be able to use those yeah absolutely and it just breaks my heart when I see those comments and I know students are struggling and they're not using the writing center of the math Center and these are amazing resources so through the student portal we have a Student Success Center and when you go to that Student Success Center you'll see a number of different options for you it's just absolutely incredible their resources that are there so our Student Success Center we also have our math Center and our Writing Center our career and Professional Development Center and each of those pages include not only resources that are available to you on demand so hey if you're trying to figure out how to format your your paper using APA there are many many reference tools for you there right in the Writing Center but also there's wonderful professionals that create that content and are available for appointments and that's what's really amazing I'm so impressed with this team the way that they focus on helping students improve their their writing communication how the math Center spends time working with students to ensure that their math skills they're able to you know they have the basics as well as achieve in their course it's just wonderful so make sure that you're going to those pages as you're navigating through the student portal and setting appointment I checked today and there were actually Math Center appointments available this morning so if you have you know if you have a problem today make sure you're going to that Math Center and making an appointment and speaking one of with one of the instructors there they're really wonderful to help you out with yeah I mean they helped me out tremendously through a couple of roadblock courses that I went through and you know if I can thank every one of them individually I do it so going on to that's going on to my next question this is a big shout out to everybody in my group and every other WGU student out there we love to have which has you know become known as the taskstream watch parties it's a it's a big thing in our group so can you give us a little background about you know maybe what is TAS dream who's grading our projects there what are we really throwing these parties for well the

taskstream watch parties are it's really fun to see and I know there's a great deal of stalking I saw somebody who wanted a test stream stalker bumper sticker and that was really fun so and this is something that I kind of represent to my colleagues as well that this is a behavior that you're doing so when you submit a into taskstream that's actually going to our evaluation faculty and I'd like to make a commitment that we'll have another one of these Facebook live sessions and actually bring in the leader of our our evaluation and records team Debbie Fowler's tremendous professional and she can speak to this more fully but I just want to say that we are evaluating 3,800 tasks every single day and if you do the math that's about you know 20 to 23 seconds each so in this time that we've been talking we've had quite a few tasks be completed and those professionals are industry experts and subject matter experts in the field that they are evaluating your tasks and they have an incredible set of rubrics and amazing standards when you're watching those watch parties you know watching a task stream we we have a ninety-nine percent return rate within the 72 hours in our average is about 36 hours so if you can imagine just the volume and the professionalism that goes into evaluating evaluating those tasks it's just incredible and it's a wonderful organization it's very very passionate they are incredibly passionate about giving you feedback that you can then employ to revise your tasks when needed and provide that Excellence Award on your Capstone's when you earn it so it's a really incredible team that all I'll bring back up so you can ask them more questions and with that I'm sure I don't want to dovetail it oh go ahead and go ahead I'm sorry yeah no no no um there is a there's something I just want to bring up about your assessments because there's a you know kind of a key thing with your assessment experience we know that that is such an important part of your journey here at WGU and in thinking about your interactions you know with the with test stream with the performance assessment but also with your objective assessment and when you schedule your assessments we have now made available for the WGU app the ability for you to schedule and reschedule your objective assessment and what we found is that students you know for whatever reason needed to reschedule they weren't they weren't able to get to their computer and and then they would just need a call so we've just made this process super seamless we know that you're using the mobile app we're so excited about you engaging with that technology and we're continually continually looking for ways to improve your student experience so I just wanted to highlight those those features now and the WGU app and if you haven't checked that out or updated your app recently make sure you do that that is absolutely awesome that's one of those things I didn't know I needed it until I had it so that's that's incredibly so I think you know one other question that I'd really like to ask you you know and you know we'll we'll see you know obviously there's tons of things going on I know you said you're constantly working on new things and new experiences for students but are there any new exciting WGU initiatives that you may be able to tell us a little bit about yeah I'd be happy to so I just want to say that there are there are big changes there's small changes there's a lot of things going on and and very passionately looking at all parts of the student experience and honestly our staff experienced you to help provide provide you with a better experience so a couple of things just you know I just want to point out that every term start our our orientation team updates orientation we're continually learning about what you need and what questions come up and revising that we've just had a pretty big update in February really tremendous update there so that's something that you know students encounter once but we're we're constantly improving looking at other parts of say that assessment experience and taskstream and perhaps new new technologies and support there as well and then you know since we're on Facebook and and you come from one of the the big Facebook groups you know we are we understand that students wants to talk to each other that we haven't given you a way to communicate and create social networks and in professional networks and connect with others in your program or even just to cheerlead other other students that are part of wtu so we're really looking at the community aspect and I think that that's a you know one of the great ways that we're engaging that just understanding how we can create communities within the WGU platform and and better understand what what you need and what you're trying to build either connecting through alumni or connecting with out others so that's pretty exciting lots of good stuff going on that's very very exciting well I want to thank you so much for for having me on and allowing me to ask you these questions and and get some feedback from you and I look really forward to to see in you know more of this series especially with the evaluation team like you were talking about yeah I'm so excited about this as well hopefully this is you can do on a regular basis and really gather questions from students and I know there's other leaders that would be happy to be involved I know I saw a few questions about our you know curriculum and our assessments and how those are actually created and you know there's there's wonderful teams here that I'd love to introduce you to and and just to get to know the people behind WGU and as well as getting to know you better so thanks so much Matt or really appreciate all your questions and for for the questions that came from the Facebook group and kind of helping us get this started so thanks so much of course thank you and from everyone at the accelerators group thank you so much for doing everything that you do for us Columbia University, Morningside Heights.