Always Connected, But Hard to Reach (Educause)

By Raju Rishi

Students seem to be always connected through their computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or mobile phones, making it easy to reach them—if you are a peer. For colleges and universities, reaching students with timely and relevant information often proves a challenge. With rapid changes in both technology and social practices, what should higher education do to ensure effective communications with students now and in the future?

A key element of the communication barrier is the fragmented nature of students’ media. Contemporary students use a new and different model for communication and information access, one created by the Internet and fueled by mobile technology. This predisposition makes it difficult for colleges and universities to reach their student populations via “traditional” channels and can broaden the divide between an administration and its students.

For colleges and universities to bridge the communication gap, they must not only accept that the mobile revolution has indeed arrived but also better understand their options for effectively communicating with their students. Almost all students already own PCs and are accustomed to getting official institutional communications by e-mail or posted on the Web.1 The single biggest new opportunity for more-effective communication involves the mobile phones that most students carry today. (more . . .)

[via Susan Mernit]