Archive for the 'higher ed' Category

07
Oct
08

Dee Jaying for Higher Ed

DJ

Everyday Apple by Kaile Raimondi

Last weekend I attended an engagement party for a good friend of mine.  It had already been a long day of traveling to shoot engagement photos and pre-bridals for another friend of mine so I was pretty tired by 10 p.m.  As I am sitting there drinking my water with lemon, I began to zone out listening to the music.  As I sat, I started thinking about the DJ.  I thought to myself, “what does a DJ do to stay ‘on top’?  “If I were a DJ, how would I appeal to people?”

Let’s say that I am the DJ.  First thing I want to think about is picking my target audience.  I’ve got to think about a couple of things:  what type of music do I want to/can (if I am performing personally) offer, what type of music should I be playing, or what type of music is not offered in my areas of reach and can I make it a niche market?  Of course then my next step is to acquire all the music that I need.  However, music is ever changing, and taste in music is as well.  What may be a popular song now, may not be in a year or two and so I may have to revamp my collection to stay with the times.  This even applies with classical music or older tunes (one year the 40’s may be hot, and the next year 60’s may be the thing).

Then I decide that I have to market to the people.  I need to decide what the best method for marketing to my audience is.  Maybe I create a MySpace or Facebook page and showcase my offerings there.  Maybe paper flyers to distribute and hang up in places.  Maybe a bilboard or two, etc.  My goal is to reach the greatest amount of people whom I feel would be more willing to hire me.

I also have to contend with other DJ’s that may offer similar services and options to me.  So what do I do in this circumstance?  Maybe buy some cool clothes, whether it be a suit or tux or maybe some Elvis threads, and dress up.  I can have my portrait professionally taken so that people may take me more seriously.  I might consider buying some flashy spotlights and one of those rotating light balls.  Perhaps a strobe light or two.  Basically, I need to have things that make myself more presentable overall.

Then I snapped back to reality.  I thought, “Wow, being a DJ is like being a one man university recruitment team.”  The two fields really are not that different.  I thought being a DJ wouldn’t be that difficult.  Afterall, I can make my own mixes in GarageBand, put them on my iPod and hook it up to some speakers and voila, I’m a DJ.  Of course if I want people to take me for real I have to present myself as a professional.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons; one, my fiance and I are trying to decide whether or not we want a DJ for our wedding, and two, how do students feel about your university?  When your counselors attend college fairs, are you putting on a good show?  How do you differentiate yourself from all the other colleges (DJ’s)?  At what point do you cross over from being taken seriously to being a flashy light show?

Advertisements
23
Jul
08

What I have learned from the eduWeb 2008 Conference

I know what you’re thinking: “You weren’t at the eduWeb conference!?!” True, however, due to the excellent coverage by many many people namely Nick Catto, Brad Ward, Matt Herzberger, Michael Fienen, and many more that can be seen on Matt’s blog! The blog coverage was great, the Twitter coverage was amazing, and uStream worked like a charm! I was able to follow many of the conference topics thanks to all the hard work by the attendees and some non-attendees.

However, as great as all this connectedness is, I know that I missed out on a lot by not being there. For example, there was a BlogHighEd social one night that I missed out on. I missed out on all the after hours conversations and debates about whether email is or is not dead for example, and other things I’m sure. What I am trying to say is that being virtually connected just does not equal being able to meet/talk/interact with people in person.

While that is something you all knew already, sometimes we tend to loose sight of that when talking about our students. We assume that all students are so connected that we forget about some of the “older” or more “traditional” methods of communication. I know that our students are connected, but they are not all as connected as we hope they might be. The reason I bring this up is that during the same time as the eduWeb conference, my university, the University of Illinois at Springfield, hosted the SLOAN Consortium conference for Online Learning. One of the sessions that I attended yesterday dealt with Student Life. I heard technology professionals talking about implementing Second Life in their courses. Requiring students, especially online students to interact with each other in that virtual setting. One of the presenters said proudly that 6 of their 15 students could access Second Life on their computers. If you ask me, that’s not really a good percentage of students, especially if you are REQUIRING them to use it! Someone else said that 25% of their class of 25 had used Second Life before. Again, not impressed… I was pleased to hear that other schools recognize this and are offering two tracks for students in those courses to be able to work: Blackboard and/or Second Life.

Going along with this, I’ve heard a lot of chatter about customer relations and how that affects retention. Students don’t appreciate always getting referred back to the website for answers. They probably checked their first and are calling you BECAUSE they couldn’t find the answers on the website. Giving students that personal attention they desire (and have pretty much come to expect) will certainly reflect positively on your university.

Earlier this summer, we were curious about how we could change the mailing of our publications. We talked to groups of students to see how they heard about us and got information to us and we found that the majority of the students said that it was our print publications where they got their initial information. I think we got a little ahead of ourselves by thinking that people were going online to find us. Our study groups prove that our student demographic is not quite ready for that shift yet.

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter about screen resolution and web design. I know it’s not really possible to take care of everyone, but one of the factors that my institution has to consider is that we do have a LOT of students still running on dial-up. As great as it would be to have everyone with high speed internet, it’s not plausible right now for many people.

The last thing I have learned from the eduWeb 2008 conference is that conferences really pump you up. Actually, I already knew this from the other conferences I have attended, but even just being able to catch the coverage has really made me excited to do things. I know I’ve checked out Brad Ward’s reading list and I am going to pick up some of those books (hopefully I’ll read them all in a timely manner). It really helped to refocus me on my work.

I want to say thank you to everyone who provided coverage from the conference! I hope that I can return the favor at some other conferences that I will be attending this year! I hope the budget comes through for them… Andrew Careaga said to have a great week! So here’s to hoping everyone remains high after the conference!

01
Jul
08

Updated – UIS Freshmen Social Network

Time for an update! I wanted to update last Friday, but didn’t have the chance. Things have been really busy this summer, something that I didn’t expect. But it’s been good, so please don’t take that as a complaint.

Overall, the project is going very well! The students are logging in all the time to check statuses and post on people’s walls, etc. We fell just short of my hope for 60 members before the third orientation – we only had 56 – but that’s still not too bad. One interesting trend I saw was within the first 12 hours of emailing out the invites, 10 people joined after the first and second orientations. I had some issues yesterday and was unable to pull up a lot of the students email addresses in order to send them their invite so I couldn’t do that until this morning. I decided to email them at 11:15 the day after, so we will see how that works out. Maybe it will be better to wait a day before emailing them. I’m sure a lot of students go home and rest up after their long day on campus and checking their email is probably the last thing on their mind. So I’m turning a problem into something good and testing the adoption.

blue.i.s.

I also posed the question “Who has Facebook and/or MySpace?” to the students in a large group to see what type of response I got. I was surprised that a little less than half of them raised their hands. We only had 52 students in attendance, and I would say maybe 25 raised their hands. So that will be interesting to see how many students join from this last group that came in. If you remember, the first group had 29 out of 59 (49%) members join and the second group fell off tad, only logging 27 out of 64 members (42%). At the posting of this blog, a mere two and a half hours after the email went out, five members have joined. Some people must not have summer jobs, haha.

blue.i.s.

UIS is somewhat unique because of our honors program. Not because we have one, but because sometimes there is a separation between the students. It’s an honors vs. traditional feud sometimes. Perhaps it is the treatment that each class gets (the honors being more babied perhaps?), or the fact that they are separated in the residence halls. Ever since freshmen started coming to UIS there has been this issue. It’s certainly been worse in years past, so we’re making steps in the right direction. Anyway, the students in the honors program get to come down the night before orientation and stay in Lincoln Residence Hall. Due to the honors courses they have to take, they meet with advisor’s that evening so that when they register on orientation day, they pretty much know what they will be taking (they still have to choose electives, etc). Afterwards, many of the students play sand volleyball, watch movies, or what else. But they are able to form a relationship with each other which gives them an advantage on orientation day. A lot of the students already know one another before the traditional students even arrive. The same can been seen on blue.i.s. The honors students are typically friending each other and commenting more on one another’s walls. It would really be nice if we could offer something for the other students so they don’t feel so left out. So that is in the works.

blue.i.s.

I posted a question asking what features they would like to see either added or removed. One person said that it is a little slow and that I need page optimization. Unfortunately, the calendar and the blog aggregate run slower due to the fact that they are pulling in a bunch of RSS feeds. So every time the page loads, it has to repopulate. Other than that, the students are happy with it. Personally, I wish there was a wall-to-wall feature like there is in Facebook. I think that would be really cool. I also wish the Flickr photo gadget worked better. As it is right now, if I want to update the photos, I would have to reload all my photos into ning which takes quite a while. That’s alright though because I am going to delete most of them anyway now that people are posting photos. Since the first posting, the students have added over 100 photos.

First posting – 50 photos (the rest are mine)

blue.i.s.

Today – 110 additional photos added

blue.i.s.

My final complaint is about video uploading. I know it takes storage space, but I would like it if you could upload videos more than 100 mb. I know that’s still an alright video, it’d always be nice to have the option to post more. To remedy this, you can upload to YouTube and then pull the video in via embed code. Other than that, Ning rocks, and I am very happy with their services. I’ll blog more specifically about them later, but this is a pretty good testimonial to what you can do with them.

So far, I am very pleased with how people are using it. I do wish people had more questions, but you know what, if they don’t, then they don’t. Maybe we’ve been doing a good job delivering info to them. I’ll post another update in a couple of weeks.

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.

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?

24
Apr
08

The benefits of high-quality photography in recruiting efforts – Part One.

First off, let me start by saying my apologies for not having blogged in such a long time. Finding that balance between full-time employee, student, and friend has been difficult this semester. The last three weeks have been particularly crazy and have seen me virtually disappear from the social media world (aside from Twitter). But I’m back now and ready for the final semester push that includes final projects and commencement.

Anyway, this is a post that I have been working on for quite some time, and I’m not quite sure that I am done with it yet, but I’m throwing this initial piece out there to start some discussion. I’ll give you some background as well since this is really where this post started.

I’ve been trying to think of what to do for my final in graduate studies. I have three choices: comprehensive exam, thesis paper, or a project. I am not a paper person, so I immediately ruled that out, and I really don’t like taking tests. Not only that, I love working on projects, so that was really the only choice in my mind. The more difficult choice was choosing what to do for it. I wanted to do something that would not only benefit me, but something that I could use in my job. My first idea, however, did not go over so well. So, I talked to one of my professors about doing a tutorial with me this summer that would be the prelude/beginning of the project and he has agreed.

I will be working with my photography professor on a very intensive research and building project. The research will involve studying good photography and really breaking down why the photographs are good. I want to pay particular attention to higher education photography and portraits since that is what I will be shooting most often. I think I have a good eye for getting good shots, but sometimes I feel like my technical knowledge is not put to use. I can explain photography to people all day, but then I don’t always illustrate it in my photos.

Building may or may not be the right word to use here, but it’s all I can think of. I will be building a new collection of photos for the campus for use in admissions recruitment purposes and for marketing. I will be primarily photographing students because we already have plenty of campus scenery shots that are good. And the students are what a university is all about right?

The reason I am doing this is because students nowadays don’t want to see those setup shots. And believe me, they can tell. I’ve co-hosted some focus groups recently which we asked the students a variety of questions, one of which was whether they felt we portrayed the university accurately. Most said yes, but the no’s all referenced our brochures. And that my friends is why I decided this would be the perfect project.

Alright, I think that is it for this post. Over time I have realized that this is something that is really going to take multiple posts, so I’m going to split it up. I’ll bring you along in my progress and hope that you enjoy the ride. I have some other drafts started that will give some examples, etc. of the old verses the new. I will also go into more detail about HOW it will help.

18
Mar
08

Keyword: Ensure Effectiveness

Effectiveness is a word that I have been tossing around my head for some time now. It started with my post a few weeks ago about Using Twitter for Higher Ed. I posted about trying to figure out a way to put Twitter to good use for higher education. It’s an excellent tool to keep up to date on what my friends and co-workers are doing as well as networking with other electronic media professionals, and while I think it would bee a useful tool for students to be able to use, it brings up the question of would they really use it.

Sometime before my post, Matt Herzberger posted on <uwebd> asking “Do You Twitter?” which has since sparked quite a bit of conversation. If you read through the comments (primarily page 3) there is a debate between Patrick Berry, Brad Ward, and myself about why Twitter would/not be good for a university. Hearing what they had to say was very enlightening. As great a tool as Twitter is, I started asking myself, will integrating this service actually be effective? Would the students even use it? Would they understand how to use it? I am in a unique position on my campus to be able to try any and every new social media technology that comes out. I have signed up for so many of them that I have a two page list of logins that I use. Most are the same, but some sites don’t like the syntax of a password, etc, so they are slight variations. Plus there are some that I have signed up for before I became a professional and so on. But if we were to use all of these services, we would never be able to get any work done.

That being said, I thought Twitter had some real promise, and I think it still does. And recently I found out that we will be searching for a new chat service as well as a message board service. And here’s the catch; it has to be free or cheap. In my other post I detail more about how I think we can use it as a chat feature. But I wonder, would the students really take advantage of it? I have no problem monitoring it and can set it up so that I get a text anytime someone posts, but would the students actually go through the process of signing up and posting a question? Would they understand the 140 character limit? So looking at it further tells me that maybe that’s not the best service to use. We may try it out, but I’m still debating whether it’s worth it.

And Twitter is just one example. Is it worth it to have a presence on Facebook or MySpace? Of course! What about posting photos to Flickr or videos to YouTube? There is a definite value here! What about lifecasting through uStream.tv or other video service? I think if you can pull it off well, then yes. But what about del.icio.us, Google Earth (technically not a social networking site – but maybe not a needed feature), SecondLife, etc? These may be some extra features we could do without. It’s good to push the envelope, but when you’re trying to recruit students, evaluating the effectiveness of your methods is extremely important. If you’re doing all this extra work, then you’re not following the rules of “The Four Hour Workweek.




Proud Member of Blog High Ed

Feed Me

My del.icio.us

Calendar

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

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.