Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Communication strategies covid 19 outbreak (staff support webinar)


Published on

by Erato Ioanna Sarri. Staff support webinar. 21 September 2020

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Communication strategies covid 19 outbreak (staff support webinar)

  1. 1. Communication Strategies during the covid-19 outbreak Erato Ioanna Sarri International Relations, Development & Communications Coordinator Open University of Cyprus
  2. 2. Covid-19 changed everything Our lives, our social connections, our work environment, our financial prospects, our studies ... ↘ • Valuable lessons to share to help us get through any future crises • Crucial role of networks like EADTU in sharing experiences/lessons/best-practices
  3. 3. Covid-19 may have changed everything but it did not disrupt the education of students in open & distance universities, like the Open University of Cyprus, which continued to operate smootlhy at all levels: education, research, administration, social contribution. ↘ Virtual classes, virtual events, online examinations
  4. 4. Goal: Re-positioning OUC building on its reputation as the country’s only DL HEI • Corporate ID: public university, the only HEI in Cyprus dedicated to distance education, 15years of know-how & experience, recognised degree titles in the EU • Competitive Advantages / Product & service Differentiation • Content Management
  5. 5. Effective Communication with Students ❶ At the beginning of the lockdown: All communications dedicated to the ‘emergency’, telling students how / covid-19 would not affect their studies / they would continue their online lessons / the administrative services would provide support with electronic means, etc. ❷ To provide additional support: Online workshops/sessions were conducted by OUC’s Counselling Office to help students (and the general public) to cope with the stress & anxiety
  6. 6. Communication Strategies for Prospective Students & the general Public During the lockdown, OUC had an open enrollment application period for the 2020-2021 academic year ↘ • Due to the outbreak, many prospective students doubted their willingness/decision to pursue higher education in the near future • Their needs were shifting as a result of covid-19, and were looking for HEIs that would address their concerns
  7. 7. Communication Strategies for Prospective Students & the general Public ↘ • Our goal in regard to effective communication was to engage with prospective students & retain their interest during those uncertain times • Our ‘traditional’ marketing tools, e.g. educational fairs, open days, billboard advertisements, video walls in malls, were no longer as effective or even feasible • Thus, there was the need to look for alternative tools, and to change our communication & marketing strategies, leveraging resources we already had or developing new ones
  8. 8. What we did … a) Communication Tools • Shifted to online communication with students & prospective students: Social Media, Email, Instant Messaging • Used our website as a) a unified source for information & b) as a marketing tool to communicate effectively the benefits of distance education (esp. in view of the lockdown & social distancing needs) and OUC’s competitive advantages
  9. 9. What we did … a) Communication Tools • Shifted our marketing budget to digital campaigns: reallocated budget to online advertising, organic growth, social media marketing & content mkg • Boosted our video content, esp. on YouTube • Promoted ‘human stories’ with testimonials of students/alumni (different personas) who shared their experiences with online education / how OUC programmes met their educational/professional aspirations & need for flexible learning
  10. 10. What we did … a) Communication Tools • Created virtual experiences & ‘moved’ our events online to increase interactivity & engagement: – Virtual Open Days – Online live streaming presentations of Programmes of Study – Online scientific talks open to all – Online open workshops organized by OUC’s Counselling Office on topics related to coronavirus, stress & anxiety management – Series of webinars / video podcasts
  11. 11. What we did … a) Communication Tools • Used more effectively online tools to promote ‘science communication’ to inform and raise awareness on eLearning science-related topics. E.g. promotion of OUC’s contribution to the implementation of eLearning in schools in Cyprus, publications on educational technology, etc. • Public interventions in traditional & new Media on the benefits of online learning, how OUC responded effectively to the covid-19 outbreak (e.g. success of carrying out the final examinations 100% with electronic means)
  12. 12. What we did … b) Frequency • Sought the right balance + timing in communicating effectively with students & prospective students regularly to retain engagement but resisting the tempation to bombard them daily • Scheduled online events in a timely manner • Responded to all emails/telephones within 24- 48 hours to help smooth increased anxiety & to create trust and resilience
  13. 13. What we did … c) Tone • Important to tailor ‘messages’ to the needs of each (prospective) students • All communication needs to be sensitive to the difficulties (prospective) students might be facing • Brought our Rector & professors ‘online’ to help build trust
  14. 14. What we did … d) Key Messages • Distance education no longer preference, but necessity • Distance education allows people to fit studies around personal & professional commitments • Start with stand-alone DL courses, continue later to a full degree • Financial support, scholarships, flexible payments • Student personas: Job ladder climber, Career switcher, Unfinished student, Lifelong student
  15. 15. Take advantage of the opportunities Covid-19 transformed our lives. Higher education is likely to change significantly, but eLearning is not ‘new’. It is our universities’ (open & distance) standard practice. New audiences are likely to emerge, students will have different & diverse needs, our financial models are likely to change, our communication strategies need to be constantly updated as we monitor current trends and anticipate the future. Let’s focus on the things we can control & work together to ignite great change on distance education.
  16. 16. Thank you for your attention 