North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College’s first online open event has been shortlisted as part of the European-wide Digital Impact Awards. The event, which took place in May 2020, was designed, and delivered within a five-week window during the coronavirus lockdown and succeeded in attracting hundreds of prospective students at critical time in their future decision-making.

The awards, in their eleventh year, set an industry-wide standard for digital communications and the final is due to be held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London on 13 October 2020 where NWSLC will compete with industry peers in the education sector including the Cambridge Trust and Swansea University.

The virtual open event successfully delivered a personalised experience enabling attendees to select the campus and subject areas in which they were interested. Attendees were given the option of taking part in 360 tours, watching live presentations on Zoom and specific course videos, or asking questions of the tutors and careers advisers through chatbot tawk.to. They left the event with a digital personalised prospectus containing only core information and the subjects in which they had expressed an interest at the beginning of their journey.

NWSLC worked in partnership with digital agency, Unity, and design partners, Creative 62, to bring to life an engaging online experience designed to ensure that young people considering their post-16 options did not miss out at a time of significant uncertainty. The college was delighted to see a nine per cent increase in pre-registrations for the event compared with a similar physical event the previous year.

Anita Ladva-Cheung, Marketing and Communications Manager for NWSLC said, “This has been an incredibly challenging year for young people with the coronavirus lockdown seeing the cancellation of exams and the subsequent chaos surrounding the grading process.

“We were delighted to play a key role in the community by providing reassurance and support to those facing significant decisions at age 16 by offering our usual advice service in a totally different way. The entire event was unique to the college which had never hosted a virtual open event before. The platform was created on a bespoke basis specifically for the event and integrated seamlessly within the college website providing a holistic experience for visitors. The event was not only new for the college but was also ground-breaking in the sector as a whole.

“Unforeseen benefits included a boost for the digital skills of college staff across all departments and an increased appetite for the use of digital tools to engage with current students. The college has built on this enthusiasm as the new academic year gets underway with the introduction of blended learning that combine online delivery with some attendance on campus.

“We were delighted with the levels of engagement in the event and the impact it has made. It is great to be recognised in this way and we are honoured to have been shortlisted for this award.”

Building on its success, NWSLC is running its next online open event on Wednesday 14th October 2020 from 5pm-8pm.