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    Is Higher Ed that much different?

    A few weeks ago I discovered something that at the same time is both interesting and disappointing.  Simple searches for our 'brand' name on Flickr,  YouTube, and Facebook yield respectively an offensive (but amusing) photo, a video of a low point in the school's athletics past, and a whole bunch of unrelated garbage.

    I have brought this to the attention of a few colleagues and have more or less been met with questions, (What is Flickr?), amusement, and indifference.

    I have to think if we were Coca-Cola, or Walmart, or Wegmans, this would be very important to us. 

    But does this kind of presence (or lack therof) in the Web 2.0 world matter to higher education?

    I am thinking that it should.


    If you have to train your casual users,

    then the system is probably too complex.

    One of my roles is to train users on our online Job Vacancy and Applicant Tracking system.  I easily spend a full hour or more on the fairly laborious five page process to enter and submit a job vacancy for approval.  Once a vacancy is submitted, in some cases as many as eight approvals are required before the job can be advertised.

    I finally concluded today that the system and the associated processes are just too complex, difficult, and at times counter intuitive. 

    We need to make things simpler, easier to use, and maybe even enjoyable for users if we expect them to embrace the systems and processes that we have tried to convince them are so far superior to the 'old' methods.

    And sometimes we need to be strong enough to admit we made a mistake, go back to the start, and build someting else, something better, even if it means taking some lumps in the short term.


    Your Corporate Job Site

    Sometimes I think we are worrying too much about our corporate job sites, trying to make them really stand out and grab hold of prospective applicants attention. But do you really believe prospects are coming to your jobs page first?  When you want to find anything on the Web, what do you do first?

    It seems to me that we need to invest at least as much time in all the areas we can't completely control, things like Google search, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to name a few. The need to get your page to the top of a Google search  seems obvious by now, but still many organizations can't seem to master.  Google your company name followed by 'Jobs' or 'Careers' and see what you find. Search for your brand name on Flickr or YouTube. 

    Are you hiring recent college graduates?  How does you brand stack up on Facebook?  Are you LinkedIn?

    Chances are your prospects are in some or all of these places, are you still patiently wating (and hoping) they will eventually find you?


    Wikis in Human Resources

    Just finished reviewing and evaluating the Leveraging Technology class Wiki projects. I asked the class to create sample intranet content using the Wiki for our class 'fake' company, Ellis Todd Associates.

    I was really very pleased with the project and the quality of the student's efforts.  One page had more than 200 revisions.  The class created content and not just text and links. We had embedded polls from Zoho Polls, YouTube video, presentations from SlideShare and Meebo Me widgets. 

    The project hammered home the point for me that HR staffs, no matter how small, or seemingly technologically unprepared, can effectively utilize Wiki for numerous purposed.  My students built the foundation for a decent small company intranet in about 6 weeks, with no prior experience, all in their free time.

    If you are a small organization wondering if wiki technology is right for you, I think the answer is probably yes.  Drop me a note or leave a comment and maybe I (or one of my students) can help.

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