Why We #EduWeb

We successfully made it through our first EduWeb Conference a couple weeks ago in San Antonio, TX. It was actually cooler there than it was here, but I’ll resist a rant on the weather…

We (Cassie, Amanda and Erin) met some wonderful people, ate some amazing food and soaked up all of the wonderful content we could possibly manage. There were so many high points to this conference that we can’t name them all, so we thought we’d break it down into a highlight of 3 topics: Mobile, Content Strategy and Social Media.


  1. What do we want our audiences to believe? What stories will do that? How do we tell those stories to our audiences?
  2. We don’t have to write new content to tell a story – it can be an aggregation and mix of other content already out there.
  3. You can accumulate a high quantity of content or curate high quality content. LESS IS MORE.
  4. Content is the sum of layout, media (images) and text – all three tell a story and lead your audiences to the most important content.
  5. Aim for consistent content improvement. Eliminate ROT (redundant, outdated, trivial) content.

MOBILE top 5

  1. Start small – you can always add on later.
  2. Mobile sites can be a recruitment tool for prospective students and parents – 14% of prospective students look at mobile EDU sites.
  3. Choose the top content and don’t try to publish everything in a mobile version.
  4. Be flexible and willing to make mistakes.
  5. Reuse content from your full site – this will keep it updated and encourage less content on a full site.


  1. Shoot video, post, repeat – prospective students want to see what people, campus and student life is like.
  2. 39% of parents say Facebook is influential in the college choice. Parents are showing up in social media and want to be involved.
  3. ROI on social media efforts can be difficult to measure. However, creating a sense of belonging and community influences retention.
  4. Monitoring and listening to the conversations happening on social media outlets is vital for you to protect your brand, answer questions, make connections, and find your audience.
  5. Foursquare encourages students to get out from behind the computer screen and out interacting with people. Integration works and incentives work to make this appealing.

If you want to learn more, EduWeb aggregated all of the 2011 presentations here. Enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Why We #EduWeb

  1. I definitely agree with the observation there about aggregating content: “We don’t have to write new content to tell a story – it can be an aggregation and mix of other content already out there.” That’s why I was really disappointed that you all decided not to offer blogs to OU faculty and staff as had been promised (I thought…?) last spring. If you provided some kind of OU-sponsored blogging platform, you would have more content to aggregate, and it woudl be something more substantial than just retweeting tweets.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Laura. I don’t think at this point the University has discussed a blogging solution for faculty and staff, but we are rolling out our first couple departmental blogs soon. These will be our first pilot partners and we’ll do a blog post here to announce that they’re live. Perhaps there is an opportunity in the future to expand this to individual faculty on campus or include faculty as authors within the departmental blogs.

  3. Hi Erin, Nick Key had mentioned this at a meeting about web publishing quite a while ago last year, and there was BIG interest, and when Mario brought it up at the Chatter in response to queries from people who had been at the meeting, there were many people who requested to be put on his list of interested people (I was on that list). The longer OU waits on this, the bigger the missed opportunity. Just look at what Joshua Landis has done with his blog (SyriaComment.com) – it’s made him a national media celebrity. Until you do offer some kind of options for faculty to blog, either people are going to blog with other services (which is a loss to OU) or else they are not going to blog at all (again, that’s OU’s loss).

  4. Agreed. We have made strides with our first beta tests and hope to have a couple of departments live soon to help us finalize process.

  5. There sure a lot of IFs here… because by rolling this out only to departments, and those departments in turn rolling it out (maybe) to faculty and staff, I just don’t see how you can expect to get much faculty or staff blogging at all. In this model someone who wants to blog can only do so IF their department is going to your content management system (which is presumably a minuscule number of departments measured by the campus overall, right?), and IF that department in turn is interested in implementing individual blogs (from what Mario last said, I had the impression that the departments had rejected that option so far, but maybe I misunderstood). So, as I said, a lot of missed opportunities here, and as long as OU’s social media presence really means nothing but Facebook and Twitter, I cannot imagine that it is something that the faculty are going to take seriously and use in a way that furthers the educational mission of this public university.

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