Institutional Web Management Workshop 2007:
Next Steps for the Web Management Community
Plenary Talks

Plenary Talk 2: Let the Students do the Talking...

This page provides details of the plenary talk on "Let the Students do the Talking...".

Let the Students do the Talking...
Alison Wildish, Head of Web Services, Edge Hill University

In recent years we've seen a huge increase in social networking and the students entering Higher Education now come complete with a range of online skills, preferences and identities. Like many other Universities, at Edge Hill we've re-developed our thinking and systems to take advantage of this and have developed:

  • A student portal which embeds social networking and user-owned technologies with our Institutional systems.
  • An applicant community Web site which allows our applicants to chat directly to current students to discover all there is to know about University life.

Students are asking each other for help and advice rather than coming direct to our staff. These same students are advising our applicant community about University life and they're all doing it in an "informal" environment. These are all positive developments but it does mean we start to ask the question...if we're moving towards developing and nurturing students in these online communities and empowering them to help themselves, will we still need a "corporate" Web site in the future? Furthermore with the increase in "free" tools available such as email, file storage, blogs, etc. will institutional systems be a thing of the past?

I will share the experiences we've had at Edge Hill detailing feedback from our students and ask the questions do we think we'll continue to manage University Web sites as they are today? Will we provide students with the institutional systems such as email or provide them with the "plugs" to embed our systems (student records, library catalogue) into their environment of choice.

When it comes to the future "will we ever be confident enough to let our students do the talking?"

This talk took place from 13:30-14.15 on Monday 16th July 2007.


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