Finding new and creative ways to engage students

It feels like we have been bombarded with information these last few weeks as we deal with three issues that affect all students: housing, AMS elections and tuition increase.

It is my first time experiencing this at UBC, so I’m definitely not an expert, but I have noticed two common themes. First, everyone has something to say and second, almost no one says it.

Everyone has an opinion about tuition increasing, yet only 15 people showed up to the Tuition Increase Consultation. Everyone had some kind of thoughts about the AMS elections, but only 15% of the student body voted. And definitely everyone has things to say about on-campus housing while the Housing Open House was attended by less than 10 students.

It’s not hard to notice that there is a serious problem with the way that the university and the student government is engaging in communication with the student body.

I haven’t yet figured it out, but I feel like there is a lot of hope in technology. I’m sure that Andre can make this point clearer and stronger, but lets just look at the numbers:

The facebook group UBC Students Against 4% Tuition Increase has 379 people and 72 publications.

The group UBC really needs more/better housing has 271 people and a wall with A LOT of publications.

Similarly, AMS candidates had very popular groups online.

What does this show?

—> Students are engaging in conversation.

But they’re finding alternative ways to do so. Ways that accommodate to their current lifestyles. We’re experiencing a time in which communication happens through social networks like Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs.

Has the university not caught up then? Even though I see the administration putting a lot of effort into taking advantage of new technologies, I think that everyone would benefit from them looking more into it.

It’s 2010. Communication and engagement between the administration, the student government and the student body should be interactive and most especially adaptive.

If Open Houses aren’t attended, maybe they aren’t being publicized in the right way, or maybe they just need to be made available in a completely different way?

About Valentina

I'm from a small and beautiful town next to a big and amazing lake in Guatemala.
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3 Responses to Finding new and creative ways to engage students

  1. Em says:

    I have never heard of that open house (and I don’t even know what would be a part of it!). Getting people to care about the AMS and being able to know that they can make a difference at UBC and not be just one of the 40,000 people around is going to be the hardest part. Posters and Facebook do their job (but can often get ignored or not utilized properly), but I think that the real issue is that people really don’t see how it matters. They think that the 4% tuition increase is going to happen no matter what and they would be wasting their time to try to change it. They could be right, they could be wrong, but they just don’t care enough to find out.

  2. Tyler says:

    People generally don’t care about governmental elections, I can’t see there being a sudden surge in people caring about AMS elections…

  3. Andre Malan says:

    Hehe, of course the answer lies in the smart use of technology. I think the best way to look at it is effort. People join Facebook groups because all it takes is a click of a button. Open houses require you to actually go to a physical place which is a lot more effort.

    If interaction is really easy then many more voices would be added to the conversation.

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