University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Web forums / social features / student contribution areas

Hello

 

I work on the content provision and editorial area for a student portal at a university in the UK - Glamlife. Our portal has a lively and active classifieds board, and a presence on Facebook and Twitter (where we feed out stories, and respond to students if they comment / have queries), but that is pretty much the extent of our social provisions. Some modules in Blackboard will have their own, module-specific discussion boards, but our impression is that these are not necessarily highly used by students.

 

One of my objectives this year is to look into whether providing web forums (or some other social tools) for students is something worth doing. It's something that students mention in feedback every now and again (forums and chatrooms in particular), but as it's just one or two comments, we find it difficult to figure out whether this would be a well-used popular tool, or a small niche, if we do provide it. So, to begin with, I'm trying to find out whether any other universities offer successful / busy web forums, chat rooms, (internal) social networks for their enrolled students, and what the experiences have been.

 

If anyone would be happy to share any links, or provide some pointers, that would be much appreciated. You can also email me directly if you prefer to respond off-forum.

 

Kind regards

Robert Holbach

 

PS: If anyone would like to have a peek at our student portal (I know I often want to see what other internal websites & portals do and offer), our Walkthrough Guide offers a rough overview. It's awaiting some updates at the moment though. The home page of the site sits behind a login, of course.

Tags: chatrooms, forums, internal, social, student, voice

Views: 113

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

At our small affiliate university, we focus on using external social media sites for student conversations, based on the 'be where people already are' approach. Facebook Groups are our key conversational spaces, and are very active.

Our affiliating institution, Western University, uses Sakai as their LMS, and forums are available within courses and project sites. My experience with these focused forums is that they can be an OK place to assemble an informal FAQ or carry on brief support threads, but that they are not likely to take off as a space for student engagement outside of class assignments.

In addition to my role as a web developer at Brescia, I am also a student at Athabasca University. As a fully online institution, it has an active social media space called the Athabasca Landing (https://landing.athabascau.ca/) built on the open source ELGG platform (http://elgg.org/). From my perspective as a student it seems to be a well-used space -- though I'd like to hear comments from any of the site maintainers, if they are here!

I also understand CUNY is using WordPress and BuddyPress for the Academic Commons, an active social media community at  http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/

My overall impression from this is that University forums may work best when used by organizations that are either fully virtual or physically very dispersed, as CUNY is.

Hello


Thanks for your response! It's very useful to have somoe links to look at and an insight into the different experiences and perspectives at the universities you  mention.

 

I've heard of elgg before, and campusgroups, which looks similar. Both seem quite capable tools, but I've stumbled across some fairly quiet / unused elgg and campusgroups spaces, so I suspect it takes quite a bit of thinking and effort to get them to be popular and heavily used on campus, and sustained effort to keep them that way.

 

Our university currently has three main campuses and an outpost with sports fields, but will merge with another university shortly, having 5 main campuses after that, dispersed quite widely through the region. Another merger might be on the cards in the long run, with an institution that has another four campuses - although they're resisting for now. So, geographic dispersal is already an issue. So far, it's been not much of a problem, as each campus is home to only one faculty (and each batch of students is much more loyal to their campus & faculty than the institution as a whole), but after the upcoming merger, who knows?

 

Facebook Groups over here have largely died. There are public profiles / fan pages, but those are basically one-to-many broadcasters. The "groups" functionality in Facebook has deteriorated rapidly a few years ago (when Facebook revamped Groups) and never recovered - I think there is one organisation on campus that still uses a group, and quite sparingly at that. So there is not much many-to-many communication going on - or at least, nothing that is focused primarily on students of our University.

 

One of the things I do ponder about is whether Google Groups could be a feasible solution - our university has Google Apps, so presumably Google Groups and Google Plus could be switched on relatively easily (students are disabled from using those at the moment - only email, calendar and drive are switched on). However, G+ seems not to have really caught on in the world out there, and Google Groups feels very awkward and unnatural to use. (Google are great at getting functionalities to work, but far too often they get user interfaces spectacularly wrong, and things don't really connect together, or do so in unexpected ways)

 

Whichever solution is applied (if any), I suspect the biggest issue is the question of how to make them popular in the first place. When I report to tptb about all of this, that question will become at least as much of a focus as the different systemss, tools and philosophies that could be used.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"What exactly is a well-composed picture when it comes to your website? Marie Wise from Lower Columbia College has the answer! Why You Want Pictures on Your Web Pages (Part 2) "
Tuesday
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Learn about the 2015 OmniUpdate Hackathon from the ‪#‎OU15Hackathon‬ participants themselves in this blog post! "
Apr 10
Kris Read is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 10
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"OU Campus Users: Get the 2015 OmniUpdate User Training Conference presentation slides, photos, and videos now on the OmniUpdate Community Network! Don't miss Lance Merker's opening, "The Key to Web Success: Leveraging the Power of the…"
Apr 9
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Another enlightening post by Marie Wise from Lower Columbia College on the importance of pictures on your higher ed‬ website! Read it now."
Apr 8
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Honored to have Kodiak College join our OU Campus users. 50,000 and counting!"
Apr 6
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"OmniUpdate is proud to present, in cooperation with our business partners, the OmniUpdate Concierge Program! Learn more about it on our blog. "
Apr 1
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Did you miss our latest webex on OU Search? See it now and find out why it's a better and faster search solution!"
Mar 31
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Excited to welcome Rosemont College​ into the OU Campus user community!"
Mar 27
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Guest blogger Michael Stoner of mStoner shares tips on how to incorporate social media on your college or university website! "
Mar 26
John PArdavila is now a member of University Web Developers
Mar 26
Sherry Nelson joined Arlen Johnson's group
Thumbnail

Calendars

Discuss event calendars and calendaring - identify products, solutions, and needs
Mar 25
Ken Pooley posted discussions
Mar 25
Profile IconSherry Nelson and Angela French joined University Web Developers
Mar 24
Chris Paddock posted a discussion

Senior Web Developer

Apply at https://jobs.wheatoncollege.edu/PRIMARY PURPOSE:The Senior Web Developer serves as the technology lead for Wheaton’s Web Strategy team. This person will guide the implementation and support of our digital channels, working with the team and other stakeholders across campus to define, create, and implement digital projects. The incumbent is responsible for managing the technical resources that support the college’s primary websites and…See More
Mar 23
Natalie Semmler commented on Cal Anderson's group Terminal Four Site Manager
"At the time we had 2 full-time employees and a temp on the web team. We had over 150 users trained to do the migration; some departments assigned more than others. Each department was required to assign someone. As far as I know only a few had any…"
Mar 20
Giovanni V. Diorio posted a group
Mar 20
Giovanni V. Diorio posted a blog post

Sanmita Has New CMS Bundle: AcademicsWeb. Designed and Developed for Educational Institutions

The more I learned about Sanmita, the more I was convinced of an incredibly capable, intelligent, and fully featured web firm, with design, development, and hosting all available. Sites with great flexibility, yet with sensible navigation... fully scalable, all with painless content management after launch. I tested sites they developed on my iPhone, and they automatically adjust (responsive)... no need for an app version. I'm specifically focused on a brilliant new CMS bundle, AcademicsWeb,…See More
Mar 20
Giovanni V. Diorio is now a member of University Web Developers
Mar 20
Jay Massey commented on Cal Anderson's group Terminal Four Site Manager
"Debbie, It was a process, but yes. Once we had approval from leadership to pursue a new website, we presented to our idea for a CMS to the Web Advisor Committee to get their buy-in. We further presented to the executive committee, provost and deans,…"
Mar 20

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2015   Created by Mark Greenfield.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service