by , Vice President, Product Management and Marketing,
The value of connecting the campus of any college or university is intrinsic to the success of both the institution itself as well as students, faculty, administration and alumni that make up the institution. Connecting everyone on a college campus involves bringing people together in a secure, private atmosphere that encourages asking questions, sharing knowledge and giving support.
Some institutions look to Facebook as a method to build community within in an institution. Facebook has paved the way for social communication and collaboration but does not provide a secure and private environment where the institution can control the user experience, maintain branding and own the data. A close knit community is essential to student retention and student success. Students, faculty and administration need to feel that they belong and have a secure and private social community where they can come together to discuss the issues and challenges that apply to their campus and only their campus.
Creating A Social Community For Colleges And Universities
The more effectively any college campus can communicate with its constituents the better the institution can attract and retain students, faculty and administrators. It is crucial to create an environment where people feel they can freely exchange ideas, ask questions and find help no matter where they are or what device they may be using at any given point in time.
The first step in creating a campus social network is with a robust social community software platform. The social community platform should be easy to set up and manage so institutions can focus on the conversations not the administration or technical aspects. The solution should allow for both private and public communities where all campus constituents can feel free to communicate with each other in a supportive environment conducive to sharing ideas and improving productivity. An effective social community platform for any college or university must have the familiarity of social media such as Facebook and Twitter with features such as activity streams, ratings and rankings, online chat, blogs, forums, video and photo sharing and even wikis that everyone at a particular college or university can access. Every single person on campus and the campus itself can benefit from these communication tools.
Think back to when you were a college student and how beneficial it would have been to have had an online chat with peers, administration and professors at the school. Back then social media was in its infancy and no one knew the full impact of it. Social media and modern technology over the past 20 years has dramatically decreased verbal communication. According to Answers Corporation, there are over $4.1 billion text message sent every day and techcrunch.com reports that there are over 4 billion Facebook posts a day. Institutions need to give students, faculty and staff modern social tools that they are familiar with but in a private, secure environment.
While connecting students and faculty can improve student retention, it is just as important for students to be able to communicate with future employers. This gives students guidance for the future and allows them to properly prepare for the employment opportunities they desire. Having forums where students can interact with the companies they want to work for some day is mutually beneficial and can boost student outcomes.
These are just some of the specific ways that creating a private social community for higher learning institutions can help facilitate better communication to improve student retention and boost student outcomes. Can you think of other benefits a private social community would have on your campus? Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.