The Academy and the You-niverse: college search & fit in the internet age

Lead Learner: Shelley Krause
Lead Learner Affiliation: Rutgers Preparatory School, Somerset, NJ

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School (and anyone else who's interested!)

Conversation Description: Personal computing and the internet have increasingly enabled end users to personalize and customize their experience. If you have an iPod, you effectively have your own radio station with listener base of one, perfectly tailored to your tastes. Your RSS feeds may have replaced the nightly news. Until recently, college represented the greatest degree of educational agency most US students had ever had. Now? Some of them are free-range learners before they even set foot on campus. Broader shifts towards a culture of participation are increasingly reflected in students' shifting expectations and mindsets. To what extent are we prepared to appreciate, assess, and support individual young learners as individuals? I'd love to have a broad and specific conversation about what happens as students imagine themselves into their unknown futures as learners. What are students' hopes and expectations with regards to teaching style, academic content, campus culture? How do characteristics they want to consider map onto what's currently "searchable," and how might that change, going forward? Similarly, let's spend some time thinking about whether the increasing transparency of learning will enable students to assess their future learning opportunities in new ways.

Page w/ link to Elluminate:



Who defines fit? How do YOU define it? (still in beta)

(Mashable's post about some of these social-media-enhanced college assessment tools is here:

CBS Moneywatch post on Social Media: New Ways to Pick the Best College

What next?

Social Media and College Admissions: Higher-Ed Beats Business in Adoption of New Tools for Third Year

(Study conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Eric Mattson CEO, Financial Insite)

"There is continued evidence of enthusiasm and eagerness to embrace these new communication tools and there is also evidence that these powerful tools are being utilized more effectively each year. Schools using social media are clearly studying the 'rules of engagement' in the online world in order to maximize their effectiveness at recruiting prospective students."

A few secondary schools shrug off externally imposed curricular guidelines in favor of home-grown definitions of excellence:

Students begin to be more intentional about their digital footprint:

Students reach out to colleges in public digital spaces:

Some secondary schools ENABLE students to create a personally meaningful digital footprint:

Super-available publishing supports an undergrad = reporter paradigm:

Colleges begin to create themed strands of subscription-ready content

(here, for example by Tweeting along specific themes):

Research (@harvardresearch)
University Press (@pennpress)
Athletics (@TuftsAthletics)
Diversity (@WMDiversityCtr)
Commencement (@WPICommencement)
Student Life (@icfuse)
Young Alumni (@elonalumni)
Prospective International Students (@RIT_Intl_Adm)

(or here, by blogging specifically about the admissions process):

See also Mashable's "10 Ways Universities Share Information Using Social Media"
As well as CollegeSurfing's collection of 50 Social Media Innovators in Higher Ed:

Colleges aggregate their follow-ready content for easy discovery: (hattip, @jonbecker) (hattip, @bethanyvsmith)

Colleges enable self-service aggregation of community-generated content: (hattip, @jimgroom)

Colleges enlist the help of current and/or prospective students in crafting their admissions message: (hattip, @karinejoly)

Colleges craft a "this is what it means to be a member of our learning community" messages from current students' own words:

Colleges use social media tools to help match roommates: (via @lvanlysal)

Colleges explicitly encourage students to create online and/or multimedia content in support of their applications: (hattip, @deanflagel) (hattip, @mmhoward) (Tufts University, optional essay #6B)
"St. Mary’s College is casting for the incoming class. Send us your audition tape via the Web or DVD.
Please provide us with the site for posting. Selection of this option will stand as your college essay.
Consider your audience." from the St. Mary's College application

Independent counselor serves as a "match-maker" to connect would-be students with current students

- for a fee:

Colleges create windows through which not-yet-students can view their culture(s): ("trailer" for jlittau's Journalism 198 course @ Lehigh University)

Colleges invite matriculated-but-not-yet-on-campus students to "opt-in" and identify themselves as being affiliated w/ that college:

Colleges develop social media strategies:

Students create "music videos" of their colleges: (Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI) (Rutgers University, New Jersey) (University of Rochester, NY)

But wait, there's more! (join the wiki to toss anything in here that you'd like!):