Monday, September 25, 2006

They're Raving About It

We’ve taken some time in this blog to discuss the use of gaming in education, as well as working to use alternative strategies to connect with hyper-connected students. We’ve shown some of the unique strategies to reach out to post-modern student interests with viral marketing and more engaging content.

But now comes the Rave! While visiting the good folks at South Texas College (STC), I heard about the results of their new strategy to reach out to younger students. For those who don’t know, STC was formed thanks to the leadership of former Governor Ann Richards and others in an effort to better meet the educational needs of the Rio Grande Valley area—a predominantly Mexican-American community. It has grown from a bold idea in 1992 to a thriving institution of more than 18,000 students today, offering everything from certifications to four-year degrees. It is proof positive that we underestimate the educational needs and capabilities of minority populations all too often. And when tapped, amazing things can happen in terms of supporting human potential and expanding workforce development.

Anyway, about the Rave. I was present for their all-college convocation when they announced the results of this innovative strategy. They held an all-night Rave Registration, allowing students to do everything from admissions to paying for classes—at 3:00 am if they wanted to—with food, fun, music, and lots of college support.

Some folks thought that the student services folks where out of their minds for proposing this, that only a handful of students would even be interested. They ended up with close to 500!!

All night Rave Registrations. Talk about 24/7 student services! I love it.


KevinVal said...

Mark: Pretty cool stuff happening in Texas! I'm guessing a lot of coffee was consumed. We're starting a Mark Milliron-ic book club here at USI (remember the haufbrau)...using the books from "The Learning Dialogues". So far we have around 60 folks interested...and I'm thinking....we're off to a good start. Take Care - Kevin V

Mark David Milliron said...

Kevin, it’s great to hear that the learning dialogues are driving ahead at USI. I’ll look forward to reconnecting with the team there in the months and years ahead to learn more about your work!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! It acknowledges that students today need new and different ways to access services. Makes the activity fun and might even motivate students to register early. Maggie

Anonymous said...

CAC conducted a similar initative named "Midnight Madness". The Student Services department is open until Midnight the last Friday before classes begin. We find that many students work late or graveyard shifts and can't register during the traditional business hours. It was interesting to find student completing their college placement test at 9 p.m. I wonder what our traditional class schedule does (or doesn't) do for those students. Their peak times are the middle of the night . . . perhaps online courses or evening courses work best for those students with an alternate schedule yet we tend to schedule the bulk of classes mid-day and virtually nothing on the weekends.

Mark David Milliron said...

There's some interesting research to suggest that most high-school student body clocks aren't even close-to-ready to turn on and fully engage until the afternoon. Yet, most of their learning experiences are scheduled in the am.