marketing ethos: Campus Technology

I needed a good “using technology for campus recruitment” site for e-rhetoric next fall. Here’s the one I was looking for: Campus Technology: Education Technology for Higher Education. It has everything: a magazine, a newsletter, a conference, a pr kit, advertising.

And it’s infused with a forward, in-your-face marketing ethos that’s easy to recognize. Listen to how Frank Tansey writes about a current trend (!) in eRecruiting Technologies (!!)

eRecruiting Tools Sweep In

In the world of higher education, one truth, at least, remains constant: Campuses are always looking for more effective ways to recruit and enroll new students. In fact, conferences are perennially teeming with tracks on recruiting and marketing, and the sessions in those tracks never fail to attract hefty attendance numbers.

In recent years, one of the hottest session topics has been the use of e-mail and the Web as recruiting tools. While it is the rare college or university that does not have a Web site, students frequently complain that the information they want is difficult to find. At the same time, students are increasingly expressing a preference for obtaining their information about a college via online communications. This expectation, however, goes well beyond the one-size-fits-all notion of a typical campus Web site. As is often the case, student expectations are for more services and information than many campuses now provide. They want accessible information tailored to their needs; they don’t want to sort through dozens of pages of information filled with links, in order to uncover the key information to help them make their college decisions. Rather, they want campuses to anticipate their needs and interests, which may be very different from the needs and interests of other students, and in many cases, very different from the perception the campus has of itself. Is this a tall order? Possibly, but savvy admissions pros are discovering that it’s an order well worth the effort.

What’s in order, according to Tansey, is more pull technology, but that’s not the interesting side of the article. It’s the case study of how a college re-crafted its identity, supported by an erecruitment technique: “targeted students began receiving short e-mails with links to more details on the campus Web site,” which then pulled them to the site. And here the military language is right up front: pools, targets, campaigns:

[I]n past years, the prospect pool was carefully pared to reduce brochure and mailing costs. With the new online recruiting tools, all prospective students who matched target criteria could be included in the campaign. Says Nostrand, “We are conducting campaigns we could not afford to, if they were direct mail.”

The intent is to “leverage information captured in their new eRecruiting systems.”

Lanham suggests that the reason bureaucratic language calls attention to itself stylistically is that bureaucrats want to be poets. The difference here is that poetic, like bureaucratic, language calls attention to its style. What here?


comic relief

How to do fundraising right: Comic Relief Homepage.

Marketing people: Have a close look at how to get people to stand with you (marketing needs to commit before anyone else will. Let me repeat that: The only way marketing is going to get buy-in is to commit first. Sincere. Buy in.). This is a campaign that respects its audience. Most don’t. Evidence: Martha Stuart. The Apprentice. KARE.

Since she was a kiddie, Vivienne remembers relief funds: 2/6 in the kitty for the lifeboat fund. A whip round at the pub for a co-worker. A tenner for Amnesty International (which, as a US working class suburbanite, I had never heard of until I spent a week in Paris, c. 1978). A raffle for a manager out sick: (a bottle of Famous Grouse yielded £ 200 raised – and the manager got the bottle.) Big sister Christine had given £50.00 to the UK tsumani fund on 26 Dec., before Bush heard about the quake, before PBS had caught up with the world news.

Is the US a giving nation? A country of compassion? Not in your life – Not under the conservatives, not under the liberals – not when you look at what other people do, have done, will do. We’re comic relief wimps.

[PS: Viv txted BBC 4 her vote for the Archers’s guest celeb. We’re for Stephen in this house. 35p to Comic Relief. More on the way.]


oh to be in london

where the tube challenge is a spectator sport, and where The Bees play Brixton Academy. And it’s snowing, too.

Then there’s this: an a – z underground project: visit 26 stations and write a poem or song about each of them, and then take it to the Fringe festival this August. Shades of Dave Gorman, I guess. Very Victorian. Very much the box logic, travel writing manner.


moinX and others

MoinMoin has released moinX, a MoinMoin wiki for OS X that runs easily on a local machine, or can be put on the Net. Because it runs with its own server (Twisted), it doesn’t need Apache and is easy to configure. I had it up and running in less than a minute on a Mac PowerBook. MoinMoin has some nice features for writing and for teaching writing.

Some reviews: MoinMoin has a WikiEngineComparison chart that links to other considerations and reviews, including one by thinking space.


authentic engagement at the best prices

This article Authentic Engagement of Adult Learners in Online Learning, could open up some interesting discussions in TWWT. It touches on the need for (and how to provide) human, social contact ih DE, and how to set up authentic, academic engagement, and why. For this, the article is worth a look.

But one of the more interesting points is this conception of studentdom on which much of their concluding discussion rests

Twigg (1998) joins a chorus of observers claiming that ultimate victory in education’s intensifying competition for students will depend on the relative quality of teaching and instructional design, irrespective of delivery mode. She describes a universe where learners have increasing options to choose the learning experiences that suit their needs. In such a world, Twigg suggests, only the best learning experiences offered at attractive prices will survive sharp market competition. Ely (1996) declares that the adoption of distance education should be driven by carefully assessed educational needs…

“The best learning experiences … at attractive prices” suggests just how far “authentic engagement” can slip. Discuss.


obligatory cat photo

As expected –


what’s a wiki for

A quick link and comment on Matt’s Embrace the Wiki Way! I’m with Matt on most of this – (public) wikis are open to collaboration, so if you don’t need collab, if you simply want to re-create paper, use something else.

But I’d expand the appropriate use of a wiki to include process and a kind of rhetorical quickening. As a minimum, the student who is writing the essay can use the wiki profitably to garner collaborative feedback – better than file exchange, better than a blog, better that BBored. That the student is writing the essay on a wiki provides opportunities for going futher – into the collaborative – that these other means don’t provide. That is, the wiki quickens the rhetorical situation, points students and teachers towards the wiki way.

I’d argue that a classroom wiki open to the students to create and re-create both the class and their own work engages the wiki way in ways that other media do not readily support.

We have a presentation to give at Standford this May, don’t we?


make academic blogging mainstream

I’ve spent the morning reading blog articles on and perusing academic blogs as assigned by Berne, Jamie, and Hans. The highlight for me is Moving to the Public: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom Charles Lowe, who argue that writing in a public space is rhetorically and pedagogically powerful – perhaps more than the (more comfortable) private journal writing and writing in the protected space of the online or face to face classroom.

But reviewing the range of blogs and articles on academic blogging that the Berne, Jamie, and Hans set up for us brought home much we (BSU, BSU English, BSU Comp/Rhet) are missing out. We are slow in getting our blogshit together in a larger, more organized, better supported way – beyond the scattered, isolated use in some classes by a few brave teachers. Our GAs are on the front line with personal/academic blogs of their own, and experimenting with blogs in support of CW I and II. But these are experiments when they could be mainstream, timid moves that could be leaps.

This isn’t a matter of keeping up with the U Warwick, U of M, or Purdue, who have organized ways of offering blogs to students and faculty, so much as squandering opportunities for teaching and learning.

Reminder: Watch for the next round of development grants.


wikis in business

This is easy to forsee: New tools making online work easier

I get a little apprehensive when business interests wrap themselves around open source tools. Business is discovering wikis and blogs, and is getting ready to market what is freely available to the business punters under the rubric of “social media.”

Appropriation is nothing new, and it does end up spreading the wealth broader and further than we’ve done so far.

But I wonder if users of the new social media are really going to find it all that much easier than email exchanges. They are going to run into the same social apprehensiveness we see every semester in working with wikis. Working together is inherently difficult.


rumination on why wiki works and not

IRRODL: Educational Wikis: features and selection criteria
makes this observation

Godwin-Jones (2003) suggests that wikis may be ideal for building communities of practice by creating a collective repository of expertise in a subject area, which is refined over time by the contributions and problem-solving of interested individuals. It is this function that distinguishes communities of practice from other online communities, such as chat groups or bulletin boards.

a reference to this

Blogs can be highly personal, wikis are intensely collaborative. They feature a loosely structured set of pages, linked in multiple ways to each other and to Internet resources and an open-editing system in which anyone can edit any page. […] Such a system only works with users serious about collaborating and willing to follow the group conventions and practices.

Teaching with wikis draws on principles that comp/rhet theory have been teaching for years: the use of collaborative, project-based, guide on the side learning, letting students assert genuine autonomy over the process and product in a genuine writing space. To work, wikis require committment. The payback is expertise in a powerful writing space that can change what and how we work, what we can do with writing.

I suspect that wikis will be valuable in courses that frame themselves in convenience and utility because wiki requires commitment that goes beyond the course itself.