Periscope in #highered: Campus tours at @MIT and @UWMadison [VIDEOS]

July 23rd, 2015 Karine Joly 16 Comments

In my previous post about Periscope for colleges and universities, I discussed the reasons why it’s probably too early to invest too much time on Periscope, but it’s still important to play with it.

Then, I promised I would share 2 interesting examples of smart use of this new platform by institutions of higher education. So, that’s what THIS post is all about.

Campus tours on Periscope?

MIT_scopeIn the 2015 RNL E-Expectations survey of college-bound high school juniors (the ones you’re starting to recruit), 56% selected “virtual campus tour” as a topic of interest for an online video or online meeting.

On the college admissions end of the spectrum, we know campus visits are a good signal of a strong(er) interest for an institution – a very good early key performance indicator for your yield among the students you admit.

While I don’t see ‘Scopes as a substitute for campus tours, the live streamed campus tours could act as a low-barrier teaser to get prospects interested in exploring further.

With a call to action to get more information about a campus visit or schedule one, a tour on Periscope (or any live virtual tours using other platforms) could be a step in the right direction.

2 interesting examples of mini campus tours on Periscope

I haven’t spent 24/7 on Periscope to monitor what universities and colleges do on this platform. This would be a full-time job.

However, I was lucky enough to stumble upon very interesting examples of campus mini-tours from MIT and UW-Madison.

“Lucky” is the keyword as I managed to catch the tours live and capture excerpts of both recordings that I’m sharing below with you – with the permission of the copyright owners

A beautiful day at MIT: impromptu and experimental tour

I found out about this Periscope tour on Twitter.

It was done by Stephanie Leishman, Social Media Strategist at MIT and Emer Garland. I follow Stephanie on Twitter, because she is smart, super savvy, driven and still manages to be one of the kindest people I had the pleasure to meet on Twitter.

When I reached out to Stephanie to ask permission to share an excerpt of her tour, she mentioned that this was more an experiment than a full-fledged tour: “I did it to experiment with a new platform that I saw others having a lot of success with. I had used Periscope personally and had a ton of viewers and conversation and likes on my first scope, so I felt comfortable doing it for MIT after first doing it personally.”

The 3-min excerpt of MIT ‘scope below includes the beginning of the tour and one of the most visually interesting parts:

#TourTuesday on Periscope at UW-Madison

After watching MIT’s tour, I decided to look for another example.

I had seen in my Twitter feed that UW-Madison was experimenting with the app as well, so I decided to follow them on Periscope. And, I managed to catch the Periscope notification on my phone just after lunch on a Tuesday.

This is NOT the first (more like #4 or #5) UW-Madison tour done by Robert Welch, Communications Intern at UW-Madison Campus and Visitor Relations Office, but it’s part of a “#TourTuesday” summer series.

“We started these tours in mid-June and have continued every Tuesday since then,” explained Robert in an email. UW-Madison Communications Office helped them setup and plan the first Periscope video, but he has run them autonomously with different student tour guides (Kerry, a journalism major, in the excerpt below) since the beginning.

The 3-min excerpt of UW-Madison ‘scope below includes the beginning of the tour:

Lessons learned from these 2 campus tours on Periscope

  1. There might be “something” to the Periscope campus tour after all

    “We have found that these tours can help serve as a way to encourage people to come to campus for an in-person tour, field trip visit or customized campus visit,” confirmed Robert at UW-Madison.

  2. Play in your room (your personal account) first, before “Periscoping” from the institutional account

    Stephanie shared this piece of advice in the email exchange we had: “I’m really glad I did a similar scope on my personal account first, so that I had enough experience before starting it for MIT. I don’t think it would have been a good idea to try Periscope for the first time and gain first-time learnings at the expense of an institutional account. It was important to me as a social media strategist to know the app well before setting it up for the university.”

  3. Save your video when prompted to do so by the app at the end of your broadcast

    This is my personal tip.

    If you save the recording to your device (I understand that there might be some data consideration), you’ll be able to review it and see what was great and what can be improved. This review process is essential to learn from experience.

    You will also be able to easily repurpose the recording on other channels to help promote your next Periscope or share interesting information.

    If you forget to save the recording, the alternative is to use a screencapture application on your desktop within 24 hours of the broadcasting. You can share the link of the recording hosted on Periscope servers via email within this timeframe to watch it on your desktop (which is what I did to capture the excerpts shown above).

Got interesting examples of Periscope uses at your school? Get featured!

I’d like to share more examples of different uses of this experimental platform. I’m NOT looking for campus tours only, but any innovative use for institutional purposes as I’m working on a future column about the topic for University Business.

If YOU are doing interesting things with Periscope, send me a quick note at karine(at) as soon as you can.

16 Responses

  1. cksyme says:

    Thanks for the tours, Karine. I love the MIT tour b/c it has narration–an element missing on a lot of Periscope broadcasts. How many of you would give silent tours to prospective students? If you’re going to use Periscope, make sure there is a narration–either in the flow of the piece (shorter shots, amibient noise that engages, etc.) or planned narration. It is a tool with a lot of potential.

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