Posts Tagged ‘admissions

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?

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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.

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.

04
Mar
08

Using Twitter for Higher Ed

There have been a lot of posts lately about the uses of Twitter. Andrew Careaga asked Should Universities Tweet?, a University of Auburn student, Brett Pohlman posted about Twitter, Chris Brogan wrote about a company that Uses Social Media to Announce, and The Chronicle questioned whether it would take off with professors. Last week we brought in Shel Holtz, a consulting agent who spoke about social media in higher education, and he talked a lot about using Twitter. But I was really hoping that he would go into HOW to effectively use Twitter for Higher Ed. This is something that I have been running through my mind for some time now. I have been using Twitter for a good couple of months. The uses in my life are easy to track. I use it to keep up with not only my friends, but also people in higher education that I share similar interests with, etc. It gives me ideas and lets me keep up with what projects they are working on. Here’s an example…FJ Gaylor is an excellent Higher Ed photographer, Shel Holtz who I mentioned before, Matt Herzberger is a Web Rockstar at the University of Texas A&M, Brad J Ward is the Electronic Communications Coordinator (ie visionary) at Butler University, Heidi Cool is a web designer at Case Western Reserve University, and Seth Meranda is the Assistant Director of Interactive Media at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

twitter feed

I mention all this because these are all people that I follow (and who follow me) so that we can keep each other updated. We do it as friends and we do it as professionals.

However, I have been searching for a convincing manner in which to use Twitter for Higher Ed effectively. Amongst all the turmoil in my head lately (hence the lack of blog postings), I came up with an idea. The Admissions Department at UIS has been thinking about ditching the chat feature on our page for something much better. It is a very expensive service that doesn’t get used that often. So I thought, why not set up a UIS Admissions Twitter account and post that on our website? Most people in the chat use it like an IM and use very short sentences. Not only that, they don’t have to wait until a chat date to talk with someone. Our Student Ambassadors (as well as myself) can/will check the Twitter account during the day, and I will monitor it at night. It probably wouldn’t get that much use normally, but on days where we have advertised chat sessions, a group of ambassadors would be logged in and could post responses to it.

Now this may not be the best way to go about a live chat, but for all the time where the chat isn’t live, I think this would work well. Students have to log in to the chat anyway, so why not get them started on Twitter and build a community before they come to college. That way when they get here, they already have some connections.

If anyone has any good suggestions for a Live Chat service, let me know because the one we have now is not attractive and very expensive. This is definitely one area in which we could cut back costs since our governor keeps reducing our budget…that’s just my own personal insight and not necessarily shared by others.

I did want to mention one last thing though. Shel Holtz mentioned that the University of Michigan implemented Twitter as a FREE Emergency Notification System. There has been a lot of talk about ENS’s lately, and I know UIS has invested a lot of money into a cell phone notification system. The fact that someone at Michigan said why not use Twitter to send text messages to students is brilliant! I only wish I would have thought of that first…
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



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