If you, like a lot of us at OHO, remember graduating high school, college, or graduate school and being promised access to a wide, hyper-connected network of eager-to-chat-and-help fellow alumni only to be met with the reality of a few crudités-flecked local minglers and an Excel spreadsheet filled primarily with out-of-date email addresses and a bunch of names you've never heard before, this latest launch announcement may cause your ears to perk up. As part of their commitment to the mission of ensuring their network of students get to and through college, OHO and charter school network KIPP have launched an exciting new, socially-driven alumni portal called KIPPster.
The portal, which is built on Drupal 7, features a responsive design (since most kids predominantly access the internet via their smartphones), and was information architected, designed, and developed by OHO in under 12 weeks, stands as the charter school's digital extension of their KIPP Through College (KTC) program and creates a socially-driven, metrics-supported platform that blends cutting edge designs with a number of features charged with building, speaking to, and engaging a very specific community of over 700 KIPP alumni and over 30 KIPP advisors.
Users landing on the homepage will notice aside from the bold, educational multimedia splash, the brunt of the site's content is for authenticated users only. This is by design, as the site is a gated platform for young KIPP alumni. The focus here was to create a sense of community for KIPP alums wanting to connect with and motivate one another.
Access is easy for KIPP graduates, though, as the platform integrates user-friendly features like Login with Facebook, customized KIPPster profiles, and a content-rich splash screen on the User Dashboard that is updated regularly with new resources and timely information.
Once logged in, users are invited to customize their profile, which is visible to the KIPPster community so others can connect on their shared campus, interests, classes, etc.
KIPPsters can also apply to various programs to help pay for and make college life easier, earn social engagement points as they use the site's many features, look up other KIPP alumni just like them, engage with their peer community by voting in polls, participating in forum discussions, voting content up through various social Drupal modules, and creating resources to help other KIPPsters, learn about upcoming events for KIPPsters-only, and a host of other features all tasked with one goal: creating a sense of community to support those KIPP graduates now out in college and beyond.
The site even contains a dashboard for program advisors to track user metrics on the site and engage with the students who have joined the program.
The most exciting news for the KIPPster, though, doesn't lie in its announcement but in its future. Being built on an open and easily-customized platform like Drupal, the new site already has the folks at KIPP planning for some amazing evolutions to the platform, including enhancements to the program advisor dashboard to allow tracking alumni engagement, integration with Salesforce databases, and a host of other features and changes to deepen the site's engagement with the alumni community.
To see the site for yourself visit www.kippster.org.