The program meeting on June 19 had many firsts: For the first time, program members met within the scope of the new program “The Digital Campus”, the successor program of “Swiss Academia and the Social Media Landscape”. Also for the first time, members met in an actual class room to hear about new social media tools, discuss case studies, and network with peers.
Something that hasn’t changed is the fact that members value gatherings like this very high and really take the opportunity to exchange lessons learned and best practices.
The University of Neuchâtel was the host and Claudine Assad and Giovanni Sammali from the university’s communications team made sure that everything went down without a hitch on this hot day. Of course we had some hot topics that day, including discussions about how to best deal with the different languages in Switzerland. The level of these discussions as well as feedback from participants clearly showed that while Swiss universities* are still eager to gain more knowledge around new technologies, the level of expertise has risen significantly and is more homogenous.
The first presentation, which provided a snapshot of where Swiss academia is standing today with social media, clearly showed that development. Swiss universities are very active on social networks, don’t shy away from trying new things, and have definitely caught up with some social media headliners in academia.
Next up was Philippe Trinchan from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), who presented SNSF’s social media activities. Like most Swiss institutions, SNSF is addressing their audience in more than one language, using multiple Twitter accounts for example.
Some used the lunch break to catch up with their colleagues from other universities, others jumped into the nearby Lake of Neuchâtel to cool down, before the program continued with workshops. First up: A more hands-on approach to monitoring tool Radian6, to make sure that all program members get the most out of the complex but powerful tool.
The second workshop focused on examples from US universities, which had to deal with negative or provoking comments from users. The task for their Swiss counterparts was to suggest ways to handle these challenges, a task that all of them mastered without difficulty.
Kian Rieben from Faveeo, a Swiss monitoring tool, closed the program with a demo of his product. The startup is working closely with EPFL and engaged the institution’s Digital Outreach and Communities Specialist Yan Luong to present his take on Faveeo.
The date and location for the second “Digital Campus” meeting in 2013 are set to be announced in the fall. We will continue to share best practices for higher education, conduct workshops, and provide ideas and suggestions on how to manage and leverage new technologies.
* Swiss universities refers to universities, as well as universities of applied sciences