From recruiting students to getting media coverage, higher education faces unique communication challenges. Kevin Anselmo reports the news and conducts interviews with thought leaders in this bi-weekly podcast.
FIR on Higher Education #67: How Professors Can Use Comms Tools to Enhance the Student Experience
How can professors – regardless of field – be more creative? What are ways to use digital communications tools to enhance the student experience? How can professors become co-creators in the learning process with their students? How do we prepare students for jobs that don’t exist in the future due to advances in technology?
These are among the questions that we delved into on episode 67 of FIR on Higher Education. This particular episode was a rare live show in which I interviewed three different public relations professors who were in attendance for the EUPRERA conference in London (EUPRERA is the European Public Relations Education and Research Association).
Public relations professors Ai Zhang (Stockton University), Karen Freberg (University of Louisville) and Sabrina Page (Walters State Community College) shared lots of value in a fun setting over coffee. Eavesdrop on our conversation!
FIR on Higher Education #66: Perhaps You Should Communicate Your Research via Instagram?
Communicating research visually can be challenging. I have struggled to find really compelling examples of academics / researchers who are effective at using Instagram to communicate research. I was therefore grateful to come across the world of Paige Jarreau, a science communication specialist for the Louisiana State College of Science and previously a postdoctoral researcher studying and teaching science communication. She also leads Instagram training workshops, and on episode 66 of FIR on Higher Education, I interviewed her to discuss best practice and tips to consider.
Here are some of the insights she shared.
To preface her remarks, Paige makes the important point that perhaps you shouldn’t use Instagram. You need to be selective. But here are some points to consider:
– If your target audience is students, Instagram is potentially a great way to reach them. It allows you to make your science and research more accessible.
– It is not as much of a commitment as blogging, allows you to provide more depth than Twitter and is not as private as Facebook.
What if the Research Isn’t “Visual”?
“It takes practice,” says Paige. “You need to look around yourself in fresh ways and think about how to make what you do visual.”
One example is a reflection image a scientist took to make their data look unique. Paige has come across researchers who use data visualization in unique ways, or a researcher who communicated compound chemistry through drawings of molecules.
“Think about how to humanize your work,” advises Paige.
Tools to Consider Leveraging
* Boomerang App – creates captivating mini videos that loop back and forth
* Canva.com – graphic design made easy.
* VSCO App – provides filters.
* AfterLight App – powerful photo editing tool.
* Layout App – Allows you display multiple photos in one Instagram post.
Examples of Other Researchers Who Use Instagram
Paige recommends taking a look at the work of PondLife_PondLife who uses Instagram to take amazing pictures and videos of microscopic organisms in ponds. “At the surface, she might have said I just sit in front of a microscope – what is their to show? Instead she has chosen to use the device of science – a mircoscope – to take pictures and it never gets old. It is amazing!” Also of note is the account of StylishStreaking which visually communicates research about diseases.
Instagram Live and Stories
The opportunity to live stream and/or leverage Instagram Stories may be intimidating and certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is an option. Two individuals Paige noted who use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are Science.Sam and BiologistImogene.
“They are both effective at taking people on a journey of doing science every day,” Paige said.
* Consider using longer form text – almost like a blog post – to accompany each visual and explain your work. For example, Paige runs a feature called “Monday Motivation” for the LSU College of Science in which a researcher answers a particular question related to his/her science. This write-up accompanies each visual. (Instagram has a character limit of 2,500 characters).
* Don’t be afraid to use lots of hashtags. It will help you be found in searches.
* Try to incorporate it into your daily process. Many researchers need pictures any way for a research paper or poster.
FIR on Higher Education #65: Perhaps It’s Time to Revamp Your Bio?
An academic, researcher or expert’s bio is important real estate that often times is neglected. A compelling bio can go a long way towards supporting strategic goals, both at the individual and organizational levels. On episode 65 of FIR on Higher Education, I highlight common mistakes to avoid and interesting examples to consider.
Links highlighted on the episode:
* Example of a scannable bio: the faculty bios for The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University (take a look at Dr. Michal Kosinski’s bio).
* Example of a bio txt incorporates tabs: Professor Mark Hall for the Wake Forest University School of Law (bio).
* An example of a professor incorporating links to courses is Karl Moore of McGill University. On the research side, professor Steve Adie from Cornell Engineering includes a link from his official bio that goes to a dedicated site focused on his research of optical imaging methods.
* Faculty at IMD, a business school in Switzerland and my former employer, have links to downloadable images on their bios.
* Sara Goldrick Rab of Temple University’s College of Education wrote her bio in the first person and incorporated a call to action.
* A bio is a good way to connect to institutional marketing communications goals, as is done by The Center for Creative Leadership (example of a bio).
Have other thoughts to share about what should be incorporated into a bio? Share your opinions on the FIR Podcast Network Facebook page.
If you are interested in more insights on how to communicate effectively as an academic, you can take a look at my book “Maximize Your Impact – How Academics Can Communicate Knowledge through Traditional and Digital Media...
FIR on Higher Education 64: Communicating Research via Video
How do you communicate complex ideas via video?
If you are a researcher or communicator, perhaps this is a question on your mind. On episode 64 of the FIR on Higher Education podcast, guest Jonathan Ezer offers advice on how to communicate your research via video.
Jonathan founded a company that helps researchers, scientists, innovators and educators communicate their work via video. He works with researchers and educators to disseminate research findings, promote new initiatives and eplain complex ideas in a way that resonates.
“The biggest mistake is not thinking about the audience up front,” said Jonathan. “I will ask a client and they will say: ‘Well there are several. There are prospective students. There are current patients. There are are funders, policy makers and the research community.’ Writing a video for so many people is really, really tough.”
Ezer also warned about the dangers of writing too academic. “Short, punchy sentences really work best for these sorts of videos,” he said.
Have a listen to the interview for his other tips.
About Jonathan Ezer
Jonathan is the founder of Kindea Labs, an animation studio for researchers, scientists, innovators and educators. Jonathan holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. He’s passionate about intellectual ideas, and has 10 years of management consulting experience.
FIR on Higher Education – Update
This short episode is an update about FIR on Higher Education. In summary, FIR on Higher Education is going on a bit of a hiatus for the next few months. I share a bit of the rationale on this episode. If you don’t care about that, but are interested in accessing content focused on higher education marketing / communications, then I encourage you to access any of the 63 previous episodes of the podcast. The majority of these episodes are evergreen – they consist primarily of interviews with different experts sharing their thoughts on various aspects of higher education marketing and communications.
FIR on Higher Education #63: How to Integrate Marketing Automation at your School
Has your school integrated a marketing automation program?
If not, or if you have not been successful with your marketing automation efforts, you will want to listen to the insights from Christie Campbell, Associate Vice President of Marketing at St. Edward’s University. Christie spear-headed St. Edward’s marketing automation program two years ago. This year, St. Edward’s won the Best Marketing Automation in Content Marketing by the Content Marketing Institute. On episode 63 of FIR on Higher Education, Christie discusses her school’s success with marketing automation. She outlines what went into St. Edward’s University winning the Content Marketing Institute award and provides input on topics such as:
– Creating content related to the audiences’ needs first.
– How to structure a team
– Thinking through purchasing marketing automation services
– Generating emails
– Using marketing automation to glean insights on the customer experience
About Christie Campbell
Christie Campbell is a leader of the St. Edward’s University Marketing Office, which is responsible for communicating the St. Edward’s University story to increase engagement, attract resources and achieve the university’s goals.
Interesting podcast. Worth your time- get it now while it's still free!
I really like this show and recommend it to others. The guests are quite informative and the reports provide useful insights for those in higher education.