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Articles: Internet

In November, Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.) hit a 50,000 Facebook fan milestone. Two months later, the count neared 54,000. The page didn’t get to be what’s likely tops among community colleges on Facebook by accident. Jeff Fanter, vice president of communications and marketing for the system, which has 200,000-plus students enrolled annually, shares some success secrets:

Tim Goral

Registration is now open for UBTech. “The conference formerly known as EduComm” returns to the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, June 11-13. With the theme Technology Changes Everything, UBTech 2012 will feature a wide assortment of sessions focusing on how technology impacts Campus Networks and Infrastructure, Facilities Planning and Design, Teaching and Learning Technologies, Marketing Your Institution, and Financial Services. This year the conference also includes, for the first time, four pre-conference summits.

A Community College Research Center study found that, at community and technical colleges in Washington state, students enrolled in online courses didn’t fare as well as those enrolled in face-to-face or hybrid courses. But better student preparation, faculty development, online support services, and other resources can close the gap. Here is what a few community colleges have done to implement those practices and help students be successful in online courses.

Social networking, online banking, entertainment... There’s an app for that—and for everything else you can think of. When it comes to higher ed, there’s an app for that, too. From behind-the-scenes mobile CRM apps to in-your-face athletic program apps, campus administrators are developing ways to make students’, administrators’, and faculty members’ lives a bit easier (or just more fun).

As technology advances and the economy declines, campus leaders become more aware of the importance of using website analytics to make decisions. As recently as three years ago, administrators were not even thinking about analytics, says Phillip Ice, vice president of research and development for the American Public University System. “Now they understand the need and know they have to pay attention to it because of the economic climate.” Everyone from the provost level up realize they need to understand what contributes to a successful web presence, so they can better manage budgets.

Once visitors get to a college or university website, the aim is to keep them there. Keep in mind that they might not know what questions to ask and probably don’t have time to read, says Stephanie Geyer, associate vice president of web strategy services at Noel-Levitz. “They just want to get to pieces of content quickly and institutions struggle to provide that.” Here are some tips for ensuring navigation doesn’t negatively impact the time that visitors spend on your institution’s site.

An institutional website is not only often the first contact a prospective student has with a college or university but also a constant landing point for current students, faculty, and staff. “We looked at trends and research and realized that the website is very important to recruiting,” says Beverly Golden, director of marketing and communications at The University of Texas at Tyler. “It might be the first thing people see about your institution.”

webcam

Imagine being a student in a class listening to your professor as she writes on a whiteboard at the front of the room. She asks a question and you faintly hear a voice, but you can’t see who it came from or understand what was said—because you’re sitting at your desk participating in class through your webcam.

screengrab of SHSU's social media page

People can be very sensitive about their social media accounts, as witnessed any time Facebook makes changes to the news feed presentation. So it makes sense that the Sam Houston State University (Texas) campus reacted badly when administrators tried to implement a new social media policy requiring any school group with SHSU in its name to grant administrative access to the Marketing and Communications department. Cries of “free speech” quickly followed. Since then, reports in the campus newspaper indicate a social media committee was created and tasked with developing a new policy.

Last month, Professional Media Group, owners and producers of the EduComm conference, announced a new name for the conference’s 2012 incarnation: UBTech.

When it began in 2003, EduComm’s focus was on the convergence of AV and IT in higher education. But as the years went by, EduComm sessions increasingly reflected the disciplines and topics covered in University Business magazine and its companion web seminar series.

A Prospective student attending an open house or career fair, who has just finished the LSAT, or even who has some time on a train commute can apply to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on the spot—via smartphone or tablet. Officials there say it’s the first law school in the country facilitating the application process through the use of portable devices.

How many 140-character messages were tweeted today? How many posts have been published in the past 24 hours? How many photos have been posted, and liked, on Facebook since yesterday? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

Like many institutions, Murray State University (Ky.) paid a vendor to back up its data regularly and store it off-site for retrieval in case a disaster struck campus and wiped out hard drives and servers. But university administrators found the service lacking for a variety of reasons: It was pricey in lean times, recovering information was too lengthy a process, and effective testing was practically nonexistent.

These days, most students are never more than an arm's reach away from their mobile phones. They live, eat, and even sleep near their phones, and increasingly, many of these devices are smartphones. A study from IDC Research found the worldwide mobile phone market grew nearly 20 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2011, fueled by high smartphone growth. Clearly, there is a growing opportunity to engage high school prospects via their mobile devices.

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