An an experiment, we videotaped and published two student panels from last weekend’s admission open house. Inspired by our recent work on a new web site design, I wanted to provide content that directly meets a priority audience need and fits how our audiences consume content.
We know that watching video has become increasingly popular online, and that it doesn’t have to be very high quality to meet people’s expectations. In fact, lower quality may connote greater authenticity than a highly polished product. We have also learned that middle and high school students, not their parents, are increasingly making choices among schools. We figure that students are even more likely to enjoy consuming information in a visual format.
We also know that prospective families want to find out directly what the student experience is like. What better way to learn than to hear from students themselves. Admittedly, the students were answering questions within the context of an admission open house, but their relaxed nature and eagerness shows the truth to the words they speak.
Simultaneously, I broadcast the events to uStream in order to practice this for the first time. It was so easy to do, aside from the fact that the audio didn’t publish! I connected my DV camera to the Mac via FireWire, and then specified DV for video and audio input on uStream. One key lesson is that uStream dramatically reduces file transfer and processing time. Even if we are not interested in broadcasting live, the moment the event is over, we have a web-enabled, embeddable movie. Brilliant.
We will track statistics and listen to anecdotal feedback to determine whether we should post video or schedule interactive experiences more often. I can envision interactive chats with the Head of School or the broadcasting of sports competitions, arts performances, and distinguished speakers. Alumni in particular might enjoy tuning in to a substantive presentation from their old school. Parents might be able to watch a presentation from home that they could not attend in person. Automatically archiving everything is wonderful. Making the process really easy helps with adoption.