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Student Development
Student Engagement

Inside the University of Pittsburgh's Development of the Outside the Classroom Curriculum Program

mark-visco@2x

Mark Visco Jr.

Chief Executive Officer

Pitt OCC

Solutions Used

student-enrollment

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Description

The University of Pittsburgh develops the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) which is a collection of experiences, programs, and events at Pitt that helps students to make the most of their collegiate experience. Pitt partnered with Suitable to transform their student experience, engage more students, and elevate outcomes. 

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Students reported being satisfied with the technology.

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Increase in OCC completion in one year.

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Students that completed the NACE badge reported being more prepared for their careers.

About the School

With approximately 20,000 undergraduate students, Pitt established the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) in 2008 to enrich their student experience. The OCC is open to all Pitt students regardless of major or career path and it helps students develop highly desirable character traits and life skills.

Challenge before Suitable

When Pitt started the OCC in 2008, the technology they were initially working with proved to be inadequate for the school and students. One of the biggest challenges was event tracking. The old system required admins to swipe/scan student IDs. This fails to actively engage the students and also limits the number of events that can be tracked. In addition, Pitt needed to track more than just events, experiences that are larger and more complex (i.e. - Experiential Learning). They also needed a more robust mobile app to stay relevant with students.

Life with Suitable

Suitable’s robust technology has led to more students participating and engaging in the OCC than before because Suitable’s app provides students with a centralized one-stop-shop for all co-curricular experiences directly on their smartphones. Pitt students conveniently use the app to record experiences, see what’s left to complete, and look at any messages they have. As students complete experiences, they gain points, earn badges, and are rewarded with incentives. This is what we call “gamification”. With Suitable’s gamified approach, students are encouraged to learn and develop necessary skills in a fun way. Students “Level Up” as they progress and earn incentives such as scholarships, apparel, and membership into an honors society. 

Suitable also offers each student a shareable Experiential Learning Record, which is a comprehensive record of all the experiences they have done at Pitt organized into the competencies that they have developed. This showcases students’ progress through the OCC and makes students marketable to recruiters by highlighting transferable skills that they have obtained. Each Experiential Learning Record comes with an ePortfolio where students can upload any standard type of media (images, videos, documents, web links, powerpoints, etc). With Suitable, students now have a more personalized pathway to grow throughout their college careers, with unrivaled technology to make tracking their involvement seamless.

Outcomes Achieved

Since the OCC’s transition onto Suitable’s platform, participation and satisfaction soared to new heights. To date, the platform supports 20,450 active users and 90% of students reported being satisfied with the technology. In AY 2018-2019, OCC completions grew by 26%. Pitt also implemented a NACE Career Readiness Badge, in which 92% of survey students report that completing it made them a more competitive candidate for jobs and internships.

Staff at Pitt are now able to capture more data with Suitable's technology, which has shown that the percentage for 4-year and 6-year graduation rates are significantly higher for those that completed the OCC than those that did not. With the information that Suitable provides, Pitt can better analyze student outcomes and understand how co-curricular involvement impacts student success.

Plans for the Future 

In the future, Pitt would like to mark completion of the OCC on academic transcripts. Pitt plans to further campus adoption by enabling other units to launch their own badges on the system.