Posts Tagged ‘matt herzberger

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!

Advertisements
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…



Proud Member of Blog High Ed

Feed Me

My del.icio.us

Calendar

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

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.