Question: Why would a leading scientific expert study Tina Fay and Chris Farley at the iO Improv Theater in Chicago?
Answer: To illustrate the creative power of collaboration at its best.
As noted by author Keith Sawyer in his 2007 book Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration,1 there is a secret to breakthrough creativity, and that is collaboration, whether on the improv stage or in the online classroom through engagement. Today, college students preparing for long-term success in a highly technological world need a new level of engagement when it comes to collaborative communication. Every field of study demands more of students—more ability to connect, discuss ideas, learn about other points of view, and offer constructive feedback. In short, students must collaborate and be engaged to succeed.
Just as demand for new, advanced collaborative skills is growing, technology is opening new opportunities to communicate and engage on campus through engagement platforms. Engagement platforms enable a seamless virtual network of thought leaders all across campus to evolve into communities to emerge and grow organically. The thought leaders can be students, faculty, staff, alumni even parents. Providing a familiar Facebook or Twitter experience, all constituents can connect and share information.
An engagement platform is a private network, where students have access to a world of contacts formerly closed to all but a few, or only reached through years of personal effort. Now, students are empowered to meet new people with common—or contrasting—interests.
Through a growing set of networks, students will continue to learn collaboratively throughout their college careers. Increased interaction with faculty improves student ability to understand curriculum. At the same time, research, best practices, and other expert content is more widely accessible, and is available virtually on demand.
When the general campus community thrives, students thrive. Engagement through social platforms have been shown to enhance institutional outcomes in several recent case studies.
1. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Admissions office used the campus social network to streamline its onboarding process, saving on costs through reduced staffing hours and eliminating problems with manual data entry.
The outcome was clearly a win—up to 500 applications would formerly take 8 hours to process, compared with 2 hours using the new system. Any educational institution can quickly grasp the critical significance of admissions data and the advantages of making it easily accessible to other departments, as UNH found using their new on campus social network platform.
2. The University System of Georgia (USG) depends on a centralized Information Technology Services office (ITS), similar to that of many statewide university systems. Implementing an online social network platform to support their ITS functions enabled a network of private, secure communities to flourish.
Key to success has been the platform’s ease of use and underlying gaming technology that help to attract and reinforce participation. Ultimately, over 315,000 students, with 42,000 administrators and educators, enjoy access to this constantly evolving, thriving network of social communities.
Conclusion: Collaboration Breeds Productivity
Students who participate in new, expanding online campus communities are building rewarding connections and developing an essential skill for the future workplace. Students, faculty, and administrators all collaborate to grow productivity and, ultimately, elevate student retention.
HiveSocialTM for Higher Education by Enterprise Hive transforms the educational institution into an engaged campus by connecting all constituents, using embedded gaming mechanics and more. For more information contact them at enterprisehive.com, or call 1-804-438-9393.