The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Digital Campus Study Tour – Day 5: Foggy Weather, Clear Thoughts

by Adrian Sulzer, Deputy Head of Communication at the ZHAW School of Management and Law.

Karl the Fog showing-off

Karl the Fog showing-off

After an entire week of beautiful sunny weather Karl the Fog greeted us Friday morning and reminded us of his reign in the San Francisco Bay Area. Therefore, the view from the hotel room somehow suited my mood.

Despite looking forward to going back to my loved ones, I’m somewhat sad that this trip is coming to an end. It was such an interesting, intense and inspiring week. But luckily, the program wasn’t just over yet. There was still an exciting final day ahead of us.

Time to get our own strategy together

David Harris workshop

Connecting the dots with David Harris.

The morning was all about the strategy-workshop with David Harris, a theoretical physicist, science journalist, former Head of Media Relations at the American Physical Society as well as editor for the SLAC-Fermilab Magazine.

David made us work on our own communication and social media strategy by defining SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). So we tackled the question on how to present our institutions, what audiences to pursue, what messages to deliver and how to get them across. He made us define all this in a very precise way so that we would be able to measure the outcome.

Furthermore, he defined five levels of involvement we can aim at with every activity or program: awareness, attention, participation, engagement and finally advocacy. David  gave us some clues on how to define, whether the sighted level has been reached. The workshop was quite intense and we all managed to come up with useful new ideas on how to get our audiences involved. Following this, David offered us some insights into the topic of science journalism and shared some personal leads with us.

Visual Storytelling with Prezi

Prezi meeting

The group attentively listening to the education evangelist @Prezi.

After lunch we visited Prezi, where Ashley Whitlatch greeted us. The “Education Evangelist” (great job title) gave us an understanding of the Prezi philosophy and the power of visual storytelling (“Method of Loci”). Moreover, she summarized the various possibilities Prezi offers, especially for universities. Prezi is way more than just a compelling presentation tool, it actually enables groups to collaboratively work on documents.

In addition Ashley gave us some valuable insights on how to create great Prezis. For instance, one should not overdo it with zooming and effects (“zoom with meaning”) To get started, she recommended to look at the tutorials and use the various available templates, that are entirely customizable. We left Prezi not only with a good idea about the product, but also with various giveaways such as sunglasses and stickers.

Connecting the dots

Back at the swissnex office it was time for the final debrief. After  Florencia highlighted some of the important messages of the week, we all shared our own learnings and whether our expectations had been met.


Florencia making her point visually at the final debrief: 95% of the job is being there and listen.

“You have to go on the campus and talk to people. If you do, you will find good stories.” said Giovanni.

For Irène it was great to learn, that big names like Berkeley or Stanford struggle with the same issues than we do.

Jeremy read his expectations to us, which were quite extensive. Although most of the points where met, he expected to bring back home some kind of an action plan. Although he hasn’t achieved that, he definitely acquired the knowledge and tools to draft one.

The success of others in your organization is also your success.

Important to remember: The success of others in your organization is also your success.

The dinner at the Waterfront restaurant made for a worthy end of the trip. Once more we got to experience some of the exquisite cuisine San Francisco has to offer. We were the last to leave the restaurant and had trouble finding cabs to get home. Once arrived at the hotel, some of us went to the bar next door to have a final nightcap. For most of us, the trip is over and we can’t wait to go home and use the momentum and knowledge gained to improve the social media appearance of our school.

I’d like to use this opportunity to once more thank all the folks at swissnex, especially Florencia and Julia for making this trip such an inspiring and memorable experience. I look forward to our next Digital Campus meeting in November in Lucerne.

Do you know what all the participants have to say about the trip? Stay tuned for video testimonials.

Author: Florencia Prada

Florencia Prada is the Head of Digital Marketing at swissnex San Francisco. While she loves all things tech, she tries hard not to get carried away by shiny objects and new ideas that are all too pervasive in Silicon Valley.