While campus contact tracing and COVID-19 dashboards have become the norm at many colleges and universities worldwide during the second half of 2020, there are still some innovative ways to communicating with students in an interactive and informational format.
Many institutions have established blogs, updated case counts, and other timely COVID-19 updates on web-based dashboards, there are a few ways beyond the dashboard to reach students, maintain order, and calm nerves.
Make 2-Way Communication Possible
It’s not a great leap to suggest that most people – students included – are completely overwhelmed by the amount of information related to the pandemic that’s being distributed. Constant barrages from national media, frequent email updates from university communication teams, and targeted messages to parents, faculty, and staff are the norm. What is rare, though, is the opportunity for students to have their questions answered or concerns addressed.
By introducing methods for two-way communication – whether via text messages, online forums, or messaging channels – students feel like a partner in the success or failure of pandemic-related campus safety, and are more likely to take that ownership seriously through action and behaviors.
Strive for Active Communication Methods
While web-based dashboards and frequent blog posts are an effective measure for posting large amounts of information, these tools require students to seek out the information themselves. In many cases, students aren’t frequent visitors to the university websites, and instead rely on more campus-based or peer-to-peer methods for communication.
By adding an active communication options, such as push notifications or direct messaging, colleges and universities can ensure that their COVID-19 updates are directly reaching students in real time.
Reach Students Where They Are
Many of us are creatures of habit, and this is especially true for students. While they are often some of the most tech-savvy and adaptive individuals, they also tend to be extremely loyal to the platforms they are used to using. If you can find a way to share your important campus-wide announcements in formats that are familiar, popular, and frequently accessed, your opportunity to reach students more directly greatly increases.