Communication in higher education can pose challenges as universities and colleges are large, and often complex, organizations.
The typical higher education institution will encompass many buildings, sometimes across multiple campuses with many thousands of employees and students. Different schools and faculties have their own internal cultures, policies and facilities. Some universities and colleges also have residential facilities, while others do not.
The nature of these institutions often means that communication between different areas of the organization doesn’t flow very well: there can be information “silos” and collaboration and knowledge sharing outside different work teams can be difficult.
Creating a culture of communication within a university or college can seem daunting… but it is necessary if you want to ensure that information is exchanged smoothly and important directives from the institution’s administration are widely shared so that the correct policies and procedures are being followed.
It is also important so that when a critical or urgent situation develops, large numbers of people can be informed in a timely manner.
College and university internal communications: the importance of alerting software
In an increasingly switched-on world, faculty staff and students alike rely on technology as their primary means of communication. Computers, smartphones and tablet devices are ubiquitous. If you want to reach people on campus you can’t rely on flyers, rallies, meetings and paper-based newsletters like in years gone by.
There are many different software systems and platforms on the market that encourage and foster information sharing and help to improve internal communications. These can include team and project apps, enterprise social media, and college mass notification systems, such as DeskAlerts.
DeskAlerts is an internal communications software tool that works by sending notificatons to computer, phone and tablet screens. Messages are sent and received in real time in a reliable manner, bypassing the email system.
When sending to computers, the messages can appear even if it is on standby or screensaver mode and will appear regardless of what other task the computer user is engaged in at the time.
Key capabilities of DeskAlerts to improve communications in the higher education sector
DeskAlerts has lots of different features designed to make internal communications in any organization quicker, easier and more effective.
DeskAlerts is a multi-purpose communications tool that allows you to use multiple internal communications channels to send your messages to students and staff members. Sending across different channels is best practice for internal communications, allowing you to reinforce key messages and to reach your target audience more easily. Some channels that are included with DeskAlerts include desktop alerts, mobile alerts, desktop news ticker, corporate wallpaper, corporate screensaver, digital signage, newsletters and more.
When you need to communicate quickly in an emergency situation such as a fire, active shooter, gas leak or earthquake you can do so at the press of a button with one-click messaging – a “panic button” that lets you send to the entire university without logging into the system via a smartphone app or icon on your computer desktop. Sending messages quickly can help to save lives.
Targeting specific groups of users
There are times where you will want to communicate with every single staff member and student… and then times where doing so would be overkill. Sometimes you may need to reach specific groups of people for example all engineering students, all members of the Law faculty, everyone based on a particular campus, or just members of one particular class. DeskAlerts lets you send to niche, custom audiences.
Scheduling and timing
On a busy university or college campus you can save time by scheduling communications in advance and set the time and date to send announcements.
100% read rate
DeskAlerts can be set to send in a recurring manner to remind staff to read or act on any unopened messages. You can set the interval for frequency of messages being sent from every four hours, or to as little as minutes depending on the urgency of your message. This method ensures that your high-priority messages will be read by 100% of staff.
You can preview how messages will look as a quality control measure prior to actually sending them.
Real life examples of DeskAlerts in university internal communications
Universite catholique de Louvain is Belgium’s largest French-speaking university. They needed a dedicated channel to send important messages about central services such as IT to the entire organization. They introduced a homemade solution, but it lacked some of the essential features they needed. With DeskAlerts they now send better shaped messages with a more professional layout, and rely on the reporting to determine who has seen their messages.
Saint Anne private school in Luxembourg lacked a communications solution and needed a way to quickly deliver important information to classes during lectures. After implementing DeskAlerts the school can now send multimedia notifications to different classrooms where they are displayed to students.
Henry Ford Community College in the USA had been using email and SMS systems to communicate with students and staff. However, in the class environment, students and teachers often turn their phones off so as not to disrupt the class. Email posed its own issues as it relied on the person to be looking at their email during class time to see a message in a timely manner. The school chose DeskAlerts as a computer based notification system to send messages to every computer fast.
Embracing technology to improve communications on your campus has a wide range of benefits. A platform like DeskAlerts has endless possibilities for emergency and non emergency communications.
How effective are internal communications in your school?
Take the opportunity to examine how and when you communicate and see how it measures up against a college mass notification system that will enhance your communications strategy, improve safety, streamline communications, save time and help to build a connected and engaged school community.