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Founded in 1980 in Yorkshire, England, Greenhead College specialises in A-level teaching to students between the ages of 16 - 19 years. What was once a grammar school is currently a nationally acclaimed sixth form college with a reputation of providing a high standard of education.
Part of Greenhead College’s mandate is to ensure that each student is equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the tertiary education environment. One prerequisite, identified in 2008 by Paul Holden, senior developer, was that the college staff needed to be able to disseminate urgent information to the students in a manner that was familiar and accessible to them. With email notifications often being missed by the students, Holden suggested SMS. At the time, most students had a mobile phone (or at least access to one) and were using SMS to communicate within their social circles.
Holden figured that the best way to implement an effective communication channel between the staff and students at Greenhead was to SMS enable their Learning Management System (Moodle). By integrating an SMS API into the management system, the staff and teachers were able to send SMS text messages to the students directly from the online platform. The teachers were also able to check the delivery status on all SMS messages and could re-send any SMS notifications that were not delivered.
Greenhead is currently sending hundreds of SMS messages on a weekly basis; from University application reminders, to study support, career meetings and even critical alerts such as emergency closures due to heavy snow fall. Holden says that “Our use of SMS ensures that each student remains up to date and informed at all times. With SMS reminders being sent out, the students are less likely to miss assignment deadlines and scheduled appointments.”
Holden also makes use of a Sender ID, which means that all of the SMS messages come from “Greenhead” rather than an irrelevant long number. This has proved extremely effective when communicating with the students because it separates the college’s SMS messages from any unsolicited texts that the students might receive.“
“It is great to see that our SMS API is so easily integrated into a well-known management system such as Moodle. By SMS enabling their online management platform, Greenhead College has catered towards the communication preferences of students. Their decision to use text messaging within the education environment suggests that SMS still appeals to younger recipients despite the rise in instant messaging apps and social media interactions,” says Dr. Pieter Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com.