Communications on Campus

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Meetings

  • Initial Discussion: 1/8/2009
  • Plan additional meeting including Linae & Ashley (to address calendar & events)

Things to Consider

1) What is our scope?

A focus group of staff and faculty on internal communications was conducted last summer by Beth McDermott and Amy McGill (see attached focus group questions and results). Direct results include the MIIS@Work blog and the emergence of new communication tools such as Yammer. Should we, then, focus entirely on communications to and amongst our student population? Or are there still issues with employee communications that need to be addressed?

  • We want to create a clear, concise way of communicating with students
  • Need to establish a tool and TELL people about it
  • Information overload: if ALL the information is there, people may not read it all/digest the information
  • Define the needs of each audience, catalog the ways we communicate with each of them, and create a sheet that defines where each audience should go to find information (a "Channel Guide")
  • Need for clarity vs. control
    • Need to make a decision as to how we are going to communicate and communicate that method/channel to students
  • Don't limit discussion to specific tools -- focus on WHAT WE WANT
    • In this day and age, most of what we can imagine is possible
    • Many things we want can be implemented in the main website redesign

2) What are the primary communication issues as we see them?

  • People consume information differently
  • People may not be getting to YouTube videos through the website -- may be accessing through YouTube directly, Facebook, etc.
  • People are overwhelmed by the many different sources of information
  • New student orientation information -- the information was given to them, yet new students didn't know where to find it
  • Faculty and staff need to understand where things are and relate the information to students
  • Cost-benefit analysis
    • People will return to channels they like/find helpful (ex: Yammer vs. FirstClass Institute News)
    • Are there better ways to communicate than blasting FirstClass with several notices about the same event/news?

3) What are our current methods of communication?

If I remember correctly, someone was tasked with developing a list of blogs, conferences, etc.- is that true? Could we go through that list as a group and get a general sense of which methods are effective and which are not?

  • FirstClass
    • Conferences
    • Classifieds
    • Institute News
    • Events
    • All Faculty & Staff
  • Moodle
  • Yammer
  • Google Events Calendar
  • Blogs
    • MIIS@Work
    • Monterey Focus
    • Student Affairs Blog
    • International Students Blog
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • iTunes U
  • Facebook
  • Campus flyers
  • Electronic ticker tape in Samson Center (?)

4) What do we foresee changing in our communications with the move to Outlook?

  • FirstClass vs. Exchange
  • It will be possible to filter groups through Outlook
    • ex: send message to all students, all staff, all IEP students, etc.
  • Banner implementation
    • Will allow us to have an events calendar using R25
    • New accounts will be automatically created

5) What is/are the best way(s) to find out from students/faculty/staff what needs improvement, and what we already do well?

Would a survey be useful? A focus group? Would the questions used in the earlier focus group be useful here? How should we implement one or more of these processes?

6) Are there any changes we can implement immediately?

If we decide on a process of inquiry that will take longer than this January winterim, are there “quick fixes” to our communication issues that we can implement in the meantime?

  • Short-term quick fixes may be helpful in creating successful long-term communications
  • Develop a quick information sheet listing available tools and where to find them
  • Create a short new student FAQ (top 5 or 10 questions)
    • Where do I find my books?
    • How do I find a syllabus?

Events Calendaring Proposal 1/15/09

  • Recruiting has posted their [Google calendar] to the MIIS website on the main Events Calendar page
  • I propose that all of us who advertise events on campus begin posting on a Google calendar embedded on this webpage
  • Advantages of this move include:
  1. Individuals can update and approve events right away- there is no need for approval via Neptune Web
  2. Google calendars can be “embedded” in multiple websites, blogs, etc.- but of course only have to be updated in one place. We could also replace the First Class Events calendar with a link to this webpage.
  3. We can “train” students to bookmark this page in their web browsers and return often- increasing overall traffic to the website!
  4. Each department/program could manage their own process of updating the calendar- i.e. Linae could do all of her own input, while Janet might give her calendar account access to her graduate assistants

Two options:

  1. The webpage currently has several sub-pages- Academic Calendar, Student Recruiting, Career Development and CNS. These sub-pages could be added to/changed in order to encompass the other departments and program areas that currently hold events and/or have deadlines to advertise around campus, and each sub-page would have its own Google Calendar.
  1. Google Calendar has the capacity to combine several calendars in one view. If each department/program calendar were assigned a different color, we could have one big calendar on this page, and viewers could “customize” their view to see just what they’re interested in at that moment. For example, a student could click on the drop-down menu to the right of “Agenda” and “un-click” on all of the calendars except for the Career Development Calendar. They could then select the “Agenda” view to see a list of all of the upcoming events being held by the Career Development offices on campus. This might require us to include brief instructions on this page about how to navigate the calendar, but would allow us to easily see what is going on across the campus in one quick view (and would allow those of us who plan events to easily see potential scheduling conflicts).
  • Either choice would be a short-term solution, not a permanent fix
  • A longer term solution will hopefully be developed as part of the website redesign process that has begun taking place on campus
  • If you would like to create a Google calendar, please coordinate with Anne Marie so she can keep track of colors chosen and departments represented

Lynn's Response to Calendaring Proposal

  • Calendar should have 5 or 6 main categories like “student activities” or “careers”
  • Calendar will be easier to search and filter
    • If each department had their own calendar it would be pretty with lots of colors but more confusing
  • Multiple people could add items to one calendar

Categories could include:

  1. Student Activities (including Student Council and Clubs and Associations)
  2. Career Development Events
  3. Institute Events (to include Speaker Series', Presidents Forums, department and program events)
  4. Recruiting Events
  5. Alumni Events
  6. Academic Calendar