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INSIDE THE FLX: FLCC launches mobile apps to help students succeed (podcast)

  • / Updated:
  • Ted Baker 

In this episode, we talk with Sarah Whiffen, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

FLCC has introduced a pair of mobile apps to help students get the help and services they need, and to make them aware of services they might not know about.

Finger Lakes Community College implemented new mobile-friendly applications to enhance student outreach and support during the pandemic: a chatbot service and online medical and mental health services. The goal is to identify students before their struggles turn into crises and prevent them from missing classes or leaving entirely. Initial results show students are taking advantage of these tools.


FLCC implemented TimelyCare in fall 2021, providing free unlimited telehealth and emergency mental health support. All matriculated (meaning enrolled in a degree or certificate program) full and part-time students are covered. Students covered this fall, who continue in the spring semester, will have coverage through the summer of 2023.

  • Telehealth: The wait for service is 10 minutes or less, designed to keep students out of urgent care, and doctor’s offices.
  • Mental health: Unlimited Talk Now service for emotional crises with a licensed social worker and up to 14 scheduled mental health counseling visits per year.
  • Results: During the 2021-22 academic year, 280 students posted 1,000 visits. Fifty-seven percent were for mental health care.  So far in 2022-23: 363 students have registered to use the service.

EdSights chatbot

The college launched the EdSights chatbot service in January 2022 that uses artificial intelligence to identify struggling students. Students need to opt-in to get messages from the chatbot; 98 percent have done so.

How it works:

  • Students can text the chatbot, programmed to respond to 350 questions provided by staff (Example: When does the library close?)
  • In addition, the chatbot sends texts to all students to assess their needs, first by asking how they are doing and asking students to respond to a multiple choice answer. Based on their response, the chatbot asks further questions to narrow down the specific problem. (Example: If a student reports things aren’t going well, the chatbot asks if the problem is academic, financial, emotional, etc.)


Surveys sent out by the chatbot have an average 35 percent response rate, meaning just over 1 in 3 students are telling FLCC how they’re doing in a text format.