Archive for June, 2008

23
Jun
08

A social network for freshmen at UIS

One of the projects I have been working on in the past three months was aimed at bridging the gap between MySpace and Facebook. It is often considered that MySpace is what high schoolers use and Facebook is what college students use. In every group, there are early adopters and there are late adopters and that leaves a gap between graduation and the start of their freshman year in college.

At UIS, we have summer orientation days, usually about 5 or 6. Unfortunately, because we have so many, the incoming class doesn’t get to meet each other until they arrive. Now I know at larger schools most students don’t meet everyone in their class, but at UIS, we are that right size so that the students do have that opportunity. We are also pretty flexible when it comes to assigning housing. It’s great if you already know who you are rooming with, however many students have fears of getting a roommate that is not compatible. And for these people, there usually isn’t a good way to get to know their classmates.

I really wanted a way for the students to be able to get connected prior to their arrival here in the fall. I wanted them to be able to build friendships with each other so that when they did arrive, they wouldn’t feel as lost perhaps. They can post on the forums and customize their own pages (though not to the extent of MySpace – thank goodness). They can also post photos and videos of themselves or of things they like or find funny. I really turned all the controls off and am letting them do what they want with it. It’s really for them, not for the university, so unless there is something really offensive, I’m not going to intervene. And the benefit to being only 23 is that I can get away with telling them something without it seeming like it’s coming from an authority figure.

blue.i.s. main

So anyway, for some stats. I designed some cards to hand out to them during their orientation day. I hand delivered one to each of the 59 students in attendance at 11 a.m. (right after the traditional circle video). That afternoon, I went back to my office and emailed everyone their personal invite to their new UIS email account. This not only insures that their invite reaches them, but also gets them into the habit of checking their UIS email account early. Just as the card promises, by the time they get home, they will have a personal invite in their email. By 11:15 p.m. on Friday we had 10 students join (10 of 59 = 17%). On Saturday, another 8 joined (18 of 59 = 30.5%). And on Father’s Day we had another 5 join (23 of 59 = 39%). At the writing of this post there are 29 members (49%). Not to shabby numbers if you ask me.

blue.i.s. members

They have also uploaded about 50 photos (2 per person/avg) and have been posting questions. I have uploaded the others from my Flickr account. The site has three moderators including myself. Other than Courtney and myself, any other moderators will be students (the Admissions office Student Ambassadors).

blue.i.s. photos

blue.i.s. forum

These are the things that we, as professionals working for the university, like to see.

blue.i.s.

And then this conversation.

blue.i.s.

blue.i.s.

blue.i.s.

blue.i.s.

And things like this. It’s like we paid him!

blue.i.s.

So far, they are using it for what it’s meant for. I hope that the rest of the students from the first session join at some point, and I look forward to continued success in the remaining orientations. Our next orientation day is on Monday the 23rd. So by the end of that week, I’ll be able to present some more data.

Advertisements
17
Jun
08

What makes a good photographer? What makes a good photo? What makes them great?

This should be a very discussion based post. Although the answer might seem simple at first, I really want you to think hard about what it takes to make a good photographer or to make a good photo. Then, I want you to tell me what makes them great.

I’m very curious to see what higher ed (and non-higher ed) people think about this. Please share this with people or start a conversation amongst the people in your office.

Here are some samples to get you thinking.

Is this a good photo?

Students on the Quad

What about this one?

Frisbee

How about this one?

Millie with her dad

Finally, this one? One person calls this one a “favorite” on Flickr.

Kitty

Are the photos themselves good, or are there only aspects of each one that are good? Do the technical elements (composition, bokeh, focus, exposure, color, etc.) make them good or great (or bad)? Or are these photos just snapshots?
Final question which will take some stretching of your imagination; would you use photos like these (some with different subject matter of course – obviously the father/daughter photo wouldn’t be that appealing, but what about two soccer players embracing each other after a goal) when marketing to high school students? How do you think they would rate these photos?




Proud Member of Blog High Ed

Feed Me

My del.icio.us

Calendar

June 2008
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Categories


Add to Technorati Favorites

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
This blog represents my views and my views alone. It is not reflective of any organization I am affiliated with.