Archive for the 'retention' Category

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
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.

28
Feb
08

Scene 7 2008 Survey Report

I got an email this morning from Adobe offering me a download for a Scene7 Survey Report for experience in Web 2.0 for 2008 and beyond. I haven’t really looked it through thoroughly, but it’s on my list for today. Sign up really quick and they’ll email you a link to download. Here are some highlights that I found.

  • 360-degree spin is considered one of the most highly-effective features, yet it is underutilized today. Nearly 30 percent of respondents plan to add 360-degree spin in 2008 along with other top top-ranking features including: alternate views, user ratings, videos, blogs, product tours,online catalogs, personalized messaging, quick looks and personalized stores.
  • Increased clicks or usage and increased conversions are the leading metrics used for evaluating enhancements; however, more than 40 percent of respondents measure the effectiveness of features based qualitative feedback and increased revenues
  • Surprisingly low number of respondents for Education
  • Effectiveness of user videos (p. 6)

It’s not a super comprehensive report, but it might offer support for integrating new features to your website for the upcoming year. Just thought I’d share it with you guys!

07
Feb
08

A little bit about me

Per Matt’s request, I thought I would give you guys a little background into who I am. I will tell you that I have probably been working in higher ed for the least amount of time (7 months) out of all the people involved in BlogHighEd, but I am extremely passionate about what I do and therefore always wanting and willing to learn about the ever changing field of Higher Education.

I am officially the Marketing/Recruitment Specialist for the Office of Enrollment Management for the University of Illinois at Springfield. I work for the smallest of the three U of I campuses, but still get all the benefits. This position was created last year for UIS graduate and co-creator of BlogHighEd, Brad J Ward, but he moved on to a position at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. I spend my time researching trends in the current and potential student market for recruitment and retention. I also implement ideas that I present to the directors on our websites. I also have some web experience, but desperately want to learn more! I also do campus and event photography.

I look forward to learning with and from everyone who contributes here and I am very thankful that I was chosen for bhe. And here’s a better photo of me and my wonderful girlfriend.

Jordan and I
31
Jan
08

I am getting the bug back!

So as I sit here, bitterly enjoying my Subway sub and looking at lenses for my camera, I am thinking to myself: “I really miss taking photos.” Over the course of the past week or so, I have been able to take a lot of photos of a variety of different things. I’ve been able to hang out with some friends and shoot photos with them, and more importantly, some of my girlfriend! As I thought about it over lunch, I realized the reason I quit enjoying photography was because I was shooting too many things that I wasn’t passionate about. Not only that, but it was usually on a last minute notice thing and more often than not, after hours. And while I enjoy attending events, I wish I had something to show for it. I talked with our creative director the other day, and ever since I started here I’ve been trying to get some new camera equipment. I’ve been begging for a good telephoto to replace the 28-200 G lens that I have now. Performance wise, the lens takes nice photos outdoors. Inside shots with low light, and autofocusing though are awful. I don’t think I’ve ever used a lens that focuses as slow as this one does, and is also not that accurate. Also, the zoom is not very tight (and is backwards from every other Nikon lens I’ve ever used…) and slides out while moving around. Aside from all that, it does take nice photos when the lighting is right. Unfortunately for me, I take a lot of photos in very poorly lit places and in places you’re not supposed to use a flash. In these situations I resort to my trusty 50mm f1.8. Like these photos here, the left one being pretty much my trademark shot:

Eddie Smith Dunk at UIS Eddie Smith Dunk at UIS

Now, my friend Joe, of FJ Gaylor told me yesterday that he had a lens he might be able to sell me which would be amazing! Hook me up! Another reason I have been excited about photography is because the FJ Gaylor was updated to include all their fall 07 shots. Let me just say that they have their act together! If you need photographs of your college, I would highly recommend them! And I’m not the only one.

 

Moving on, last night at the library (I briefly mentioned this earlier) I was helping Jordan find some things. I came across a book titled “Memoirs of Mary and Martha Washington.”

Memoirs of Mary and Martha Washingon

 

Then I looked at the copyright date in the center on the bottom of the page….1852.

Mary and Martha Washington
Martha Washington

Isn’t that amazing?!?  It’s crazy to think that book is actually in my universities library.

Martha Washington

It’s hard to read, but this book was given as a gift on Christmas in 1853.  These photos were taken with my iPhone.  It does a decent job for a camera phone in low lighting.  But so anyway, I was really amazed and I think the artistic aspect of that book really made me enjoy photographing them (even just with my phone).

 

Alright…last thing…I mentioned bitterly enjoying my sandwich.  Last time I got a tuna sub from Subway I got a six inch.  They put three scoops of tuna on my six inches.  Today I was starving and decided to get a foot long.  I watch as he applies the tuna and see him put only four scoops on my sandwich.  Now…it’s been a while since I’ve taken a math course, but if there are three scoops on a six inch, shouldn’t there be six scoops on a twelve inch sub?  The tuna was spread so thin on my sandwich, I would have gotten all bread and veggies.  So I asked him to put another scoop on my sandwich and he said it would be .50 a scoop.  Then I started thinking, I’m paying more for a 12 inch sub with an extra scoop of tuna than I would for two individual six inch subs.  $7.10 later, I leave with my sub and drink (drink was free for being a student!) and return to my office.  I usually spend $3.27 for lunch on a six inch sub.  It probably wouldn’t bother me so much except for the fact that 4 out of the last 5 times and 7 out of 10 times I have gotten “fast food” whether it be from Subway, Taco Bell, or Wendy’s, they have gotten my order incorrect.  I guess they think that when I ask for a hamburger I really want a cheeseburger instead.  Customer service has really gone down hill…

28
Jan
08

New Blog Unveiling!

Hey everyone! I’ve moved my blog over to WordPress. Leave your feedback and let me know what you think.

For the time being, I’ll still be double-posting to my blogger blog, but after a month or so, that one will be archived. Update your RSS feeds to stay up to date!

29
Oct
07

Electronic Viewbook

Here it is folks! The project that took me away from you for so long.

We looked at some companies that provide this service, but due to budget cuts were unable to go with them. In light of that situation, I did some searching and came up with my own version.

Check it out here!

We will be converting a lot of our print materials to electronic to save some cost and make our materials more accessible for people. They will also be interactive with videos, clickable photos, etc. This is just the first of many projects that I will be working on in the next year in an ambitious schedule I have set for myself.

Please leave your feedback and let me know what you think! Thanks!




Proud Member of Blog High Ed

Feed Me

My del.icio.us

Calendar

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

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.