Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Blogging, Higher Education, Lifecasting, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts, Video, Web | Posted on 10-30-2008
Last night we had our Butler Bloggers Chat, which we do once a semester. It always has more students join than any other chat we do (What is Diversity at Butler University? Chat, Admitted Student Chat, Pharmacy Chat, International Student Chat, to name a few).
Last night the chat was from 8-10pm (I’ve done 7-9, 8-10, and 9-11pm. 8-10pm has been the most popular.) and we had 132 students come through. Last week’s diversity chat from 7-9pm had 22, for comparison, with the same group of students invited.
To learn more about the methods of promotion/emailing about the chat, read this post from last April. For this post, I’d like to touch on some new methods I experimented with last night.
During last semester’s chat, I learned a few things:
- The chat moves fast. Very fast. Last night’s chat had 3,948 lines entered. That’s 1 person saying something every 2 seconds. so the chat screen fills every 20-30 seconds.
- When the chat moves fast, questions get missed out, people get frustrated, and they leave.
- It’s hard for the Bloggers to keep up with everything as well and make sure all questions are getting answered.
So with that previous experience in hand, I conjured up a new component: video chat. By using the Butler Bloggers uStream channel in addition to the web-based chat, I think we successfully extended the effort and added value to the students’ experience.
Unfortunately, my chat provider would not work with me to implement this directly into the chat because of ‘development cycles’, ‘product releases’, etc. so I just had to have students click to open in a separate window. Another technical glitch was installing the drivers for the webcam. I didn’t get it going until 9:15pm, so this was only utilized for the last 45 minutes of the 2 hour chat.
So here’s what we accomplished by using video in coordination with the web-based chat:
- Chatters could put a face with the ‘name on the screen’.
- Chatters could see the other side of chat and the college kids they were talking to.
- If their question didn’t get answered, they could call in and ask it.
- If they didn’t want to type a longer question or had something more specific, they could call.
- When students were watching video+chatting, the chat seemed to slow down some, allowing the Bloggers more time to get questions answered.
I think it went over great, and heard several comments from students about how much they enjoyed it. (I also found out that ~75% of students in the chat room had seen the Butler Blue II video!)
So here are a few quick stats on the night:
- 132 chatters logged in during the 2 hours.
- Only 3 were in last week’s chat (98% new visitors)
- 30% were ‘app complete’, 20% were ‘app incomplete’, 40% were ‘prospect’, and 10% were ‘suspect’.
- 10% were international students.
- Every student who called in was ‘prospect’ or ‘app incomplete’.
- 11 ‘app incomplete’ students finished their application after the chat last night.
And here are some sample videos from what the students saw!
Comments/Thoughts/Questions? Leave a comment.