The Future of Education

Barriers have long existed in education; proximity, access to resources, logistics, financial and social. Many of these barriers have been removed by forward-thinking institutions and individuals (that’s another conversation, but Sal Khan embodies it).  The truth is “the student” changes with time and so should the institutions; the key is the pace of that change. Often, we (speaking from the institutions’ point of view) wait for time to pass before adjusting to this change. This lead time is beginning to shrink as institutions are beginning to implement a more rapid pace of change in order to remain competitive.

In Ontario, institutions have increased their investment into marketing strategies over the last 10 years in order to compete outside of their traditional catchment areas and expand their reach. Furthermore, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is now looking to institutions to create Strategic Mandate Agreements to focus their efforts and diversify the product offerings available in Ontario. Education is becoming less about geographic location and more about a desired product offering.

The worlds of business and education have collided; however, many organizations are still slow to react. Major change is on the horizon in Canada and it is being seen through the innovation around data driven business processes (from prospect management to alumni relations), predictive modelling and customized user experiences.

Technology is playing a major role in this change. The format of education has shifted from a “one to many” model towards a “many to many” model that increases lateral student interactions and decreases the reliance on professors to foster discussion. Predictive modelling can allow institutions to better predict student behaviours and needs.

Technology and business processes need to adapt accordingly in order to offer students seamless access to the information they desire, as well as customized products that build on their previous behaviours. Soon, educators will be able to rely on business processes to warn of potentially disengaged students through data driven analysis. For example, a student with higher risk factors (1st Generation, background or low grades) who visits your counselling services webpage may be afraid to send an email to book an appointment. However, these actions combined with their background may offer the institution the opportunity to allow that data to trigger an email to the student with information relevant to their needs.

In summary, education is shifting towards a more competitive landscape that can leverage technology to offer a better student experience. Creating these customized user experiences will separate the institutions that treat students like a number, versus those who treat them as individuals.

IT vs Marketing

This presentation was delivered at the Post Secondary Education Web Conference June 25th 2013 by JP Rains and Martin Laferriere (Chief Web Officer, Laurentian University).

Here’s the description: 

Ever hang up the phone saying “what is Marketing thinking?” or leave a meeting saying “IT just doesn’t get this”. This presentation, put on jointly by IT and Marketing, will make you feel at home whether you care more about WYSIWG or CMYK.

Sharing our lessons learned, success stories and failures, the talk will include topics that everyone can enjoy or loathe, including:
- Web Design and Launch
- Social Media
- Micro-sites

This presentation will add insight to your daily conversations with “the dark side”, from whichever perspective you share.



Defining Your Success on Twitter: Ornithology 2.0

Defining your success on twitter from Jean-Paul Rains was a presentation delivered to the #PSEWEB conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
With nearly all PSE institutions on Twitter, we’ve established that it is important to have a presence. That presence has differing levels of dedicated resources, different goals and varying measures of success. Like Ornithology, this presentation will cover the study of behaviours, effectiveness, and measurements of PSE Twitter presences.

Defining your success on Twitter can be difficult, even more difficult when trying to explain it to someone who is Twilliterate. If being on Twitter is merely a way for your organization to check a box, that’s fine. But, if you are interested in taking that check box and turning it into an easily attained performance measure, this presentation is for you.

Like any dedicated birdwatcher, we took a look at some of the more successful Canadian PSE Twitter accounts and aimed to find commonalities in their behaviours and how that translated to their successes.

Finally, after searching for ways to define success from # of followers, % breakdowns of interactions to 3rd party measurements, we take a look at the different ways (free!) for you to measure your success.

Look past your number of followers and turn that check box into a CEO friendly success story.

Thoughts of the week

I’ve had a lot of sporadic Facebook ideas throughout this week and I decided simply to write them down!
Facebook Ads: Target fans of your page on their birthday, with no specific call to action. Likely, they wouldn’t click on your ad, however, the positive brand interaction will still be fostered and at little cost (if any at all).
Increased Status Targeting: Recently, Facebook Marketing Solutions put out a post increasing the awareness of highly targeted Facebook ads specifically. This functionality is something I have been looking for to bleed into status updates for a while now. The ability to target specific areas of interest within a page update would be hugely efficient for Facebook pages. To me, this could be an area to become monetized. This would combat FB’s un-monetized server stress and would allow for interesting local contests.
Foursquare’s Event-based venues: This one I have been anticipating for some time. Soon, Foursquare venues will be able to have specific events in a venue. For anyone who manages a concert venue, or multi-sport facility they will be able to customize mayorships and check-ins. Annually, one of my projects, creates a venue at a large convention centre, I am curious to see where ownership of these time-sensitive venues would land.
Facebook as Google+: If you find the idea of circles attractive within Google+, you should know that Facebook has had the same ability for some time. Granted, in a stealthy presentation, FB has allowed you to write general status updates for specific friends to see only. Using the customization on your post, you can drill down through 4 layers of settings and ensure that only your BFF sees your link about the new Keanu Reaves movie.

King Content : A social media audit

I presented this topic to the #pseweb conference in Toronto recently. It did spark some debate among colleagues and it was great to see people really start to consider what they want to post on their own social media pages.

We took 10 Canadian University and College pages from accross Canada and analyzed their levels of interactions per post on Facebook. The results were very interesting and correlated nicely to the overall impact of the Facebook page. Have a look.

Security and Social Media

Just yesterday, Rains Media delivered this presentation along with @MatthewMelnyk to the Ontario Association of College & University Security Administrators (OACUSA).

Check it out if you are at all interested in Campus Security, Emergency Communications and social media investigative tools.