After reading Michael and Seth’s thoughts on Location-Based Services and Higher Ed and as a response to Foursquare’s new Campus Rep program outreach, a couple of ideas came to mind for colleges campuses using Foursquare to engage their students with the school. Here are my ideas from a student point-of-view.
Taking inspiration from Tony’s conference Plancast/Foursquare integration, schools should extend Foursquare check-ins beyond campus buildings and restaurants to major campus events.
- For example, UCLA throws an annual Welcome Week where dozens of commercial vendors (Scion, Bank of America, etc.) and hundreds of campus orgs (sports clubs, interest groups, etc.) are scattered throughout campus. It would be great to see students engaged and checking-in at booths, at particular fields where booths are located, or at a performance event. This not only allows students to see where their friends are, but also allows students to see what booth or area is popular.
Promote school-run events by utilizing the gaming/competition aspect of Foursquare.
- Very often UCLA features concerts on campus. One of the common ways to raise awareness is through encouraging students to win free tickets. As a Public Relations Director for an org I was a part of last year, I successfully used Twitter to broadcast clues for a scavenger hunt to find hidden concert tickets on campus. I think it’d be great to see the school hold a Foursquare competition seeing who can check-in at every specified location, who has the most check-ins at an advertised location, etc. Not only does this hype up the event for the students, but it’s also a great awareness tool for campus/student organizations programming the event.
Promote attendance at locations or buildings by offering freebies.
- Fact: Starving students like free things. Fact: Users of Foursquare like to be “mayors” of places and like to be rewarded for it. Ackerman Union at UCLA is home to the student store and a dozen restaurants. Promoting mayorship at certain stores in Ackerman Union could include discount coupons to attract and reward people.
Determine how popular or relevant a location is based on measuring the amount of student check-ins.
- With a lot of program centers or departments on the verge of shutting down or downsizing, schools might be overlooking the importance of the threatened center to their students. One way of measuring its importance would be to see how many students actually go to and use that center. This can also be extended to other social media technologies like Twitter or Facebook. With these, colleges can scan and search for the buzz going around for a particular center or department. In short, it’s what Mike mentioned about Location-Based Services as a way to gather student data in his recent post.
Schools could control tips around campus by adding their own tips.
- Harvard’s Foursquare account does a good job in encouraging people to explore their campus with their tips. Tips could be about secret study locations that will benefit students. Tips could be about the history of a building that the school feels visitors should know about. I think it would be great for schools to help their students discover new aspects of the campus. This is also a great opportunity for students at orientation or even on campus tours to learn interested tidbits about your school.
Expand your school’s involvement outside of campus and promote local businesses.
- Almost every school has a college-town surrounding the campus, and for every business, there are local businesses that the school supports. For UCLA, it’s Westwood and the restaurants and retail stores in it. I think schools should continue this relationship with social media. This can encourage prospective students to choose your school for reasons beyond academics.
Schools should collaborate with Foursquare to create specific badges for specific campus buildings or centers.
- At school we have only one student healthcare center. An ASHE Center Health Badge with a medical cross with the center name would be very cool. Why? My answer is “why not?” Students already check-in at buildings every day. Why not make students and visitors feel special and relevant while on campus? Plus, it would be really impressive for students to see that their school is cool and social media-savvy ;).
These are only a few of my ideas. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated as time goes on. Until then, please feel free to leave a comment with your ideas and opinions.