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Presentation for NASPA 2009 National Conference on building student community and engagement

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  1. 1. Building an Institutional Online Professional and Social Networking Space to Extend Student Learning and Build Community     
  2. 2. Who is Columbia College Chicago and What Are Our Issues? <ul><li>12,500 arts and media students </li></ul><ul><li>Generous admissions policy; high value placed on diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>Burgeoning residential community </li></ul><ul><li>Urban high rise campus overflowing with events and energy </li></ul><ul><li>Key Student Affairs concepts: body of work, creative community, providing a laboratory to extend classroom learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge of creating a compelling sense of community </li></ul>
  3. 3. Most Often… <ul><li>Colleges and universities approach social networking at arms length… it is seen as a problem to be addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>At Columbia, we’ve flipped that thinking and have embraced these systems with </li></ul><ul><li>a goal of bringing fresh ideas </li></ul><ul><li>about how we use them. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Goal is… <ul><li>To create continuity in the student experience as students move through the admissions process, to current student and then to alumni by building a student community that extends student learning and engages students at all touch points. </li></ul>
  5. 5. theLoop is… <ul><li>It’s two things. First, it’s an email tool that allows us to target students by a variety of factors including major, concentration, school, residence, GPA, year in school, credit hours completed, and a variety of other data provided by our LMS. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, it’s an online community that allows Columbia students to interact with each other in a variety of ways, network, collaborate, and share their work, thoughts, words, pictures, and videos with each other ... and us. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why theLoop? <ul><li>First, students have frequently asked for a central source of information, collecting news, events, and announcements from all the parts of the college. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, our students already self-organize online in a variety of ways. Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other online social spaces have multiple groups of current and prospective Columbia students. Still, across two surveys and several focus groups, our students have clearly articulated a desire to interact within a Columbia-only online space that will allow them to network with each other, send messages to each other, and more generally, get to know each other. </li></ul>
  7. 7. TheLoop Objectives… <ul><li>Bond students to the college and to each other </li></ul><ul><li>Streamline and target information for students through role-based segmentation and opt-in features </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize the student affinity for online systems to inform them about opportunities that encourage them to participate fully (in-person) at college events, activities, lectures, exhibitions and programs </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrade and systematize faculty/staff, parent and alumni communications that serve to better inform and prepare constituents and to share content between communities </li></ul>
  8. 8. TheLoop Features… <ul><li>An “official” student calendar </li></ul><ul><li>An RSVP tool that can process payments and send reminders </li></ul><ul><li>A News + Announcements page that allows students to filter news by topic, and which allows for “smart” messaging </li></ul><ul><li>A Subscriptions page where students can manage emails </li></ul><ul><li>An online Classifieds space where students can network, buy and sell things, search for roommates, promote upcoming gigs, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>A class notes tool where students leave public notes </li></ul><ul><li>A profile page where students can blog, post news items, connect to their Facebook or MySpace pages, upload photos of themselves, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>A searchable all-student directory </li></ul>
  9. 9. In the Beginning… Early Challenges <ul><li>Institutional buy in for data management, mapping, and transfer </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple systems with multiple logins (single sign on) and the need for a seamless interface between systems (theLoop, Facebook, LMS, Flickr, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Internal education and content provider buy in </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Foundation… <ul><li>Creating and defining the brand, voice, look and feel and the student voice </li></ul><ul><li>Identify content priorities and content providers for newsletters, role basing and distribution for both opt-out and opt-in features (not by office) </li></ul><ul><li>Setting communications schedule and sticking to it </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and integrate interactive features whenever possible (polls, photo uploads, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Create innovative marketing opportunities to market the system (t-shirts, cartoons, contests, etc) </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Process… <ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>To create a system for generating buy-in and participation across campus and outside campus </li></ul><ul><li>Planning and pitching </li></ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Participation and training </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics, accountability, assessment and institutional learning from the system </li></ul>
  12. 12. In the first year… <ul><li>Following the first scholarship feature, applications rose by 300% </li></ul><ul><li>Using the event management and registration feature, participation in our </li></ul><ul><li>Weeks of Welcome </li></ul><ul><li>activities increased </li></ul><ul><li>by 40% </li></ul><ul><li>Web traffic on all </li></ul><ul><li>Loop content sites </li></ul><ul><li>have increased by </li></ul><ul><li>50% in the first </li></ul><ul><li>6 months </li></ul>
  13. 13. Raise Awareness, Drive Action, and Effect Behavior. <ul><li>85% of the attendees at the Graduation Block Party heard about the event through Loop-powered emails </li></ul><ul><li>62% of attendees at the fall Job Fair heard about the event through Loop-powered emails </li></ul><ul><li>500% is the average percent increase in page views when an event or article is featured in a Loop newsletter </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Parent communications include web based content from the student communications system, podcast, email newsletters, development initiatives and information and place a high priority on student support services </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni communications include all of the above and community features, peer-to-peer networking, </li></ul><ul><li>event management, </li></ul><ul><li>online giving and </li></ul><ul><li>geographically </li></ul><ul><li>based newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>communications with </li></ul><ul><li>role-based content </li></ul>And… the External Constituents