In our fourth installment of the Blackboard Connect™ social media integration feature spotlight, we look at Pikes Peak Community College, a commuter college in Colorado Springs, CO, using social media in conjunction with Blackboard Connect to keep students informed.

Long ago, before Farmville, Scrabble and Which-Jersey-Shore-Character-Are-You quizzes, Facebook was a place exclusively for college students to interact, converse and share information in a public online forum. Despite the repeated onslaught of friend requests from dear Aunt Millie, seventy-two percent of young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) are using Facebook to socialize and communicate with friends. It is no surprise that colleges and universities are flocking to today’s popular social networking channels, including Twitter, in addition to Facebook, to further expand communication efforts and to reach students in a familiar environment outside the classroom.

I recently spoke with Cyrille Parent, the IT Director at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), about the institution’s use of social media and social networks for communicating with the campus at-large. Pikes Peak Community College is located in Colorado Springs and currently has about 20,000 students enrolled and attending classes across four campuses. As a commuter college, Pikes Peak initially began using social media in an effort to sustain student retention while attracting new prospective students.

“We’re trying to be wherever the students are – whether that’s e-mail or text messages or now on social media. We are finding that our students are [on social networks] and prefer that mode of communication,” said Parent.

Through the use of social media channels, PPCC maintains a consistent voice through streamlined messaging, while ensuring a constant presence by responding to questions or comments from students within an accessible online portal. Currently, PPCC’s Facebook page has been ‘liked’ by more than 1000 people, with the Twitter feed being followed by about 300 people.

PPCC doesn’t only use social media to communicate with the college community. For three years, Parent has used Blackboard Connect to relay time-sensitive information or important schedule changes to students, faculty and staff. In addition to sending out messages to the college community via phone calls, e-mail and text messages, PPCC updates their social media profiles simultaneously using the Blackboard Connect social media integration function.

“Our goal is to get the word out to as many media platforms as possible. However people are getting the information these days, we try to be there,” said Parent.

By using Blackboard Connect in combination with social networking sites, PPCC is able to share information with their campus community across all communication platforms and channels. To learn more about how Blackboard Connect can help you on your campus, click here.

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