Podcasts. Feature films. Applications that streamline answers to student questions and make posting calendar events a cinch.
An hour wasn’t nearly long enough to hit up all the great poster presentations at HigherEdWeb 2016 – but here’s a quick tour through several of them:
The UNH Publishing Platform – Cynthia Cargill and Jennifer Dykens, University of New Hampshire
Call it a COPE-ing mechanism: A Create Once Publish Everywhere mechanism. Leveraging Drupal, UNH created a news hub that streamlines content production approval, and publication from more than 130 contributors across the institution.
A Perfect Storm – Grayson Gordon, Missouri State University – West Plains
The problem: The woman running the campus dining facility had a habit of typing her menus in Word – which Gordon then had to adapt for use in digital signage. After about two years of research, he found a solution in Rise Vision, a free web-based app. Through Rise Vision, campus dining staff can type in their menus, and the information is automatically formatted and sent for digital display. It’s taken a big job off Gordon’s plate!
Growing Professionally Through Podcasting – Lougan Bishop, Belmont University, and Jackie Vetrano, Skidmore College
Like most of us, Lougan and Jackie wanted to experience the inspiring aura of the Higher Ed Web Association annual conference more than just once a year. The solution: creating the Higher Ed Social podcast, a weekly conversation with people involved in various aspects of the college and university spectrum. More than 75 episodes and 10,000 downloads later, they’re still going strong. You can check out the website to listen, or subscribe on iTunes.
Herding Cats, From Application to Alum – Aaron Knight, SUNY – ESF
Knight and his colleagues realized that prospective and current students, and even alumni, encountered problems when trying to get questions answered by university agencies. They’d get tossed around to four, five, even six different people to get to the bottom of a issue. Knight’s team created a one-stop customer service portal that streamlined those areas, creating a better user experience (and fewer headaches for campus question-answers!).
One Calendar to Rule Them All: Finding Success with a Centralized Event Calendar – Charley Allen, Murray State University
How do you (a) create student interest in campus events in a (b) responsive and (c) user-friendly way that (d) increases student retention and (e) avoids overbooking? Murray State found its solution in the OU Campus Helios platform, which integrates all campus happenings, from registration deadlines to cultural events, in one place. Allen reports that three times the number of users visit the Helios calendar than its predecessor.
Open House Insta-game: Bonanza or Bust? – Larry Falck, Francis Marion University
Francis Marion wanted to better engage prospective students who attended its open houses and sought to do it through gamification. Falck’s team provided the students a T-shirt and asked them to post photos to Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #FMExpectations. The problem? Most high school students keep their social profiles private. Falck and his team still received several photos, though, and are looking to retool the program for orientation.
Sharing Worldwide Stories with a Team of One – Kara Sassone, Northeastern University College of Science
Northeastern sends students around the world for full-time, six-month co-op work experiences. Instant stories, right? Yes – but first you have to collect them. Sassone created a Facebook gallery of photos and short synopses of students’ journeys, then highlighted one each week. Sassone reports that the response from students was overwhelmingly positive – they appreciated the chance to share their stories and learn about others’ experiences. Her advice: Keep the process as simple as possible (ask for just one photo and three or four sentences) and get in touch as early as possible during students’ travel to give them time to participate.
There and Back Again: A Beaver’s Tale – Callie Newton, Oregon State University
Go to Uganda to make a film about your institution’s students? It’s not impossible, Newton says. Hired by the School of Business to document a student organization’s visit to Africa, Newton produced a film now shown in classes and other venues to increase engagement in study abroad programs. How’d she land such a plum assignment? By keeping her ear to the ground about faculty who receive grant and other support – then asking them to help you tell their stories. See the finished project at http://beaver nation.is/reach.
Web Maintenance Made Easier: A Campus-wide Collaboration – Joel Vertin and Quentin Franke, Michigan Technological University
The key to MTU’s successful central web management system is a bit counterintuitive: Don’t make departments participate if they don’t want to. Instead, MTU invests in and incentivizes its adopters, who have go on to become ambassadors. Vertin and Franke recommend starting small and building slowly, and continually asking stakeholders (departments, students, etc.) to help provide the resources to keep the system going. Learn more at http://MTU.edu/heweb16.
Building the EDGE Paradigm – Comet Blecha and Kyle Zeberlein, Augustana EDGE Center
At Augustana College, students interested in entering communications fields don’t have to leave campus to gain resume-bolstering professional experiences. Through the EDGE Center, students work as developers, event planners and content producers for more than 220 nonprofit clients. Students can join edge at any age and stage, whether they’re first-year students or seniors.
New Aspect Ratio in Marketing: Embracing Television Devices – Joseph Murphy, Ohio University
Are marketers ready for the post-TV world? That era is coming fast, with the younger generations using smart TV and streaming devices at increasing rates. Murphy’s ongoing study examines how Google Analytics and Apple TV tools can help track website visitors from these devices, and how that information can guide marketers to target ads that will be relevant to this emerging audience.
Digital Analog: Why You Should Build a Living Website with Sticky Notes – Cristina Cruz and Joy Brunetti, University of San Diego
Head off late-stage stakeholder remorse AND play with thousands of PostIt notes on a white board? Where do we sign up? USD invites four key user groups to take part in a live-action card-sorting session to determine where and how their website’s information architecture can be streamlined. The benefits to include (a) heading off the usual “but I didn’t realize THAT’S what it was going to look like!” stakeholder freakout just before launch and (b) making those stakeholders feel like valued parts of the process.
Forecast: Clear Skies. A Collaborative Approach to Creating a Student Success App – Michele Rund, Purdue University
Forecast is a digital roadmap that illustrates five behaviors of highly effective (read: on track to graduate) students and allows individual students to see how they stack up to those standards over time. To create the application, Rund’s team needed to collect reams of data, determine how to visualize that information for easy student consumption and work with dozens of campus partners (read: red tape) to bring the project to life. This fall, Forecast launched to more than 36,000 Purdue students – stay tuned to learn about the app’s success! Visit www.academicforecast.org.