12 Dream Content Ideas for #HigherEd

March 29th, 2016 Karine Joly 21 Comments

Higher Ed Dream Content Ideas

Unfortunately, the sky is NEVER the limit in higher education

Neither the roof. If you’re lucky, it’s more like the ceiling, but it can be so much lower in some cases.

In our industry, we always have to balance quality content with time and budget constraints. Most of you do a fantastic job with the limited resources you have, but what would YOU come up with unlimited resources?

Everybody can dream, right?

That’s why I asked the 12 higher ed professionals of the 2016 Higher Ed Content Conference to tell us the first piece of content they would create if time, money, staff levels and all the other hurdles could be magically removed.

Read the 12 “dream content” ideas your higher ed colleagues came up with — and get inspired… to do more with less.

Student stories for Joshua Dodson – Southern New Hampshire University

Joshua DodsonMy answer to this is what we are already trying to do:

tell our student’s stories.

Our focus is 100% on the students. If we can help them succeed and tell their story, I am thrilled.

We have so many amazing student stories that there is no lack of stories to tell.

”Day in the life” student videos for Kelly Bennett – Miami University

Kelly BennettI’m a firm believer that no two college experiences are the same, therefore the first piece of content I would create would be a series of videos that portrays “a day in the life” of different students by using go-pro cameras to capture college through their eyes.

Being able to show the perspectives of various students and all the opportunities that are available would be a unique piece of content for recruitment and I believe alumni would enjoy seeing what has changed and what is still the same since they graduated.

Inspiring how-to videos for Steve Thompson – University of Sheffield (UK)

Steve ThompsonI’d put our people at the forefront of anything we did.
I’ll allow myself to fantasise about having explanatory or how to content for absolutely everything to do with University and current affairs; spoken by the people of the University and based their own experiences.

Lots of short videos, although still a mix of all content and media types. Ideally making a dent in the search and social media news market. Inspiring and helping others all over the world.

Easy right ;)

Faculty database for Donna Lehmann – Fordham University

Donna LehmannAn extensive faculty database which includes not only biographical information, photos, publications and press, but also short videos of faculty talking about their research and areas of expertise.

It would be great to have the resources to properly showcase our greatest assets.

Interactive visual stories for Cameron Pegg – Griffith University (Australia)

Cameron PeggI’d gather a fantastic group of colleagues and create something like Scaling Everest from the Washington Post!

This kind of content requires a multidisciplinary research, writing and design team, but the final result validates the effort. Every university has hundreds of stories that would benefit from the “Everest” visual storytelling approach. The engagement potential is incredible

Feature-length interactive piece for Ravi Jain – Boston College

Ravi JainIf bestowed with unlimited resources, I would love to be able to build out a feature length interactive under the banner of our university magazine that would surpass the scope of our current short form content pieces (photo slideshows, audio slideshows one-off videos, etc.), akin to a high profile piece that the New York Times might produce.

This would be a true “deep dive” into content with a development, production and post-production phase spanning months, not days with the ability to expand beyond our in house group of web developers so that we can have dedicated videographers, editors, and designers fully leverage the rigorous editorial foundation that already exists within the university magazine.

Add to that the ability to rent any professional grade equipment as opposed to the MacGyver approach!

Strategic and engaging content for Mike Petroff – Harvard University

Mike PetroffThis is a bit of a moving target. A major goal is to create content that aligns with University priorities.

Last fall, we published a great microsite on Harvard’s efforts around the topic of Climate Change, and recently we’ve featured several amazing students in our #MyHarvardJourney Instagram series.

Whatever the priority, we look to tell that story in the best way possible using digital platforms that allow for high levels of engagement.

Full site audit for Avalee Harlton – York University (Canada)

Avalee HarltonI’d do a full site audit to find and weed old content that’s out-of-date or no longer maintained.

So often audits get pushed aside for other projects (like new videos or new homepage graphics), because they don’t sound very sexy and inevitably lead to change. It takes *a lot* of time, and a lot of co-operation & vision to change websites the size found at most higher ed institutions!

Making the effort is absolutely worth it though — your visitors will definitely notice how much easier it is to find what they need.

Fresh website content for Steve Roulier – Springfield College

Steve RoulierThe first piece of content I would create is fresh website content that should be updated daily.

We’re in the middle of a website redesign and I’ve noticed it is very tempting for my staff to think that, once we launch the new website, the content will remain there for a long time and they won’t have to look at it.

Not only do I believe we should be refreshing our main content daily, we also need to personalize it with the assurance that voice and tone appropriately reflects the medium.

Simple effective landing pages for Zoe Barker – DePaul University

Zoe BarkerWe had the opportunity to revamp the Financial Aid section of the soon-to-be new depaul.edu responsive site. Since financial aid is a complex topic, it can be overwhelming to see so much information in one place.

We had the opportunity to restructure it to make it much simpler and create landing pages that guide the user to information specific to them. That kind of project I think is something we could do more of given the time and resources.

Social media self-evaluation tool for Sofia Tokar – University of Rochester

Sofia TokarSnapchat accounts for everybody!

No, I’m just kidding. This one’s a tough question. I’d create a self-evaluation or assessment tool to determine if—and then which—social media platforms are appropriate for a given office or department.

There tends to be a knee-jerk reaction to the question in higher education (“Of course we need an Instagram account!”). Instead, I’d like to see some more thoughtful decision-making that accounts for realistic goals as well as available resources.

Social media hub on campus for Amy Grace Wells – University of South Carolina

Amy Grace WellsI’d love to create a robust social hub/aggregator that is not only featured on the website but also digital signage across campus.

There’s plenty of tools out there that can create one quickly, but most fall short on execution. It takes strategy, planning and so much maintenance to show a vibrant and exciting view of campus. It takes members from web development, social strategy, student affairs, content, creative services and more.

I love projects that cross teams and bring people together who don’t often work together!

So, what would be YOUR Dream piece of content if budget and time were not an issue?

Tell us by posting a comment below!

And, if you want to learn more from these higher ed content professionals, make sure to register your team for the 2016 Higher Ed Content Conference (now available on demand).

Higher Ed Content Conference

21 Responses

  1. I’d like to produce a series of short videos of faculty teaching something – a teachable moment – and a glimpse of what it would be like to be in each professor’s class. The idea came to me as I was taking still shots of one of our art professors. He was holding up a fan of paint brushes and describing how to choose a brush based on media and effect. It was really quite beautiful. I’d like to capture those moments as I think it is more compelling than having a talking head describing the art department, for instance.

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