Upswing Says Colleges See COVID-19 Crisis as Wake Up Call to More Fully Support Online Students

Industry: Education

– Upswing’s 7 Year History Supporting Online Students Key to Understanding Their Most Critical Needs –

Austin, TX (PRUnderground) April 20th, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing colleges and universities to hold their classes remotely while administrators are racing to create academic continuity plans to keep students connected to campus resources. But for schools already using Upswing, this transition has been easier.

Over the last seven years, Upswing, an Austin-based education technology firm, has been partnering with colleges and universities across the country, including 14 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), to support online, nontraditional, and first-generation learners by addressing their most critical needs remotely.

One HBCU where Upswing is having a significant impact on online students is Fayetteville State University.

“People retain students, not technology. We selected Upswing as our education technology provider because their set of education tools offer us the best chance to increase positive student outcomes while maintaining a deep personal connection with our students,” says Dr. Bonnie Grohe, Director of Faculty Development and Online Education at Fayetteville State University.

“Upswing’s services are available for every student at FSU, especially our online students, to make them feel part of the university. Anyone with access, including tutors, and advisers can meet virtually with students for providing advising and academic support,” says Dr. Grohe.

Addressing Students Critical Needs
Amid sweeping federal requirements to limit public gatherings, colleges and universities have closed their doors to protect the health and well-being of their staff and students.

One study found that nearly half of all students failed to transition to online coursework in the process successfully.

“Over the past few weeks, we have spoken to thousands of students who have been completely overwhelmed by the immediate transition to online,” says Melvin Hines, CEO and co-founder of Upswing. “The stories of struggle are heart-wrenching and highlight the need for virtual student support systems that mirror on-campus support systems.”

Upswing’s Integrated Student Support Platform provides live, online tutoring, advising, counseling, and 24/7 engagement services, helping colleges and universities increase online student success rates.

“Students need more than an electronic connection. They need to connect emotionally with people providing them with academic support such as advisors, and tutors, especially in these times of anxiety and uncertainty,” says Hines

How Upswing Works
Upswing’s Integrated Student Services platform provides colleges and universities with a user-friendly, online advising, and virtual learning classroom environment easily accessible to students with the look and feel of social media platforms to help increase usage.

Upswing makes it easy for students to connect with their advisors, coaches, and tutors, and receive academic support, tutor session feedback, and analyses.

Students have the flexibility to schedule tutoring remotely around their schedules while improving the reach of the university’s student support services.

Virtual Assistants are the New Normal
The colleges and universities using Upswing benefit from using an SMS-based virtual assistant, Ana.

Ana mimics the experience of a personal adviser through automated nudging sequences, two-way conversational interactions, and sentimental analyses, and acts as a mass communication tool to reach students on their phones.

Students are using Ana daily to get their questions answered, receive reminders about important dates from key student services offered in person, such as financial aid deadlines, and schedule live support sessions on their mobile devices.

Ana is a new channel to engage students and opens up lines of communication between students remotely to create a space where students feel comfortable expressing concerns and receive motivational nudges.

“These ongoing interactions build trust in the virtual assistant as an extension of their relationship and create a sense of belonging to their college and university while being remote,” says Hines.

College and university administrators are tracking student performance remotely using Upswing’s Integrated Student Services platform.

The platform is providing administrators with access to an easy-to-use dashboard that aggregates and summarizes usage data and creates alerts or reminders, giving them in-depth knowledge to make informed decisions around student success and retention.

“The coronavirus quarantine is a wake-up call for colleges and universities to bring academic resources online to support the ideals of educational access and opportunity for all,” says Hines. “There may not be a return to normal, and now we’re looking at the future of online learning.”

About Upswing

Upswing is an Austin, Texas-based online student engagement organization focused on removing the barriers to degree equity. Learn more about Upswing at

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