IT Trends :: Thursday, February 15, 2007

Opinion

Putting Student Communication in Con-TEXT
Colleges and universities are struggling with or are beginning to realize there is a growing problem with their communications with students. Living "in the moment" as they do, many students are beyond regularly checking e-mail, so sending their important and timely communications that way is increasingly fruitless.
Even in my own family, I cannot remember my 18- and 21-year-olds' e-mail addresses, if they even continue to use them, because when I do send them e-mail I never, ever hear back, and often do not ever find out if they even received my message. Despite my own utter dependence on e-mail, I have not received an e-mail message from either one of them in more than a year, even though I hear from their grandmother, my 81-year-old mother, by e-mail at least weekly.
At some institutions, administrators are negotiating with local pizzerias to implement "on time, on demand" communications stickers containing official university information that can be slapped onto the top of pizza boxes before they leave the store. It may be possible, even, for pizzeria customer databases to communicate with institutional enterprise systems to individualize student messages, right down to communicating deadlines for class papers and projects.
Okay, I made that last part up, although students do eat regularly, so communicating with them in some way that connects with one of the few things we know they will do no matter what we want them to do is an intriguing concept....

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