Student engagement strategy – Macquarie University case study
Macquarie University – Campus Life Groups and Events Management System (GEMS)
Macquarie University Campus Life is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for facilitating and fostering a broad range of non-academic activities and offerings for students at Macquarie University. Their current products and services include:
- Student accommodation
- Campus services (on-campus retailing, primarily food)
- Student clubs and sport teams
- Ubar, the on-campus bar
- The Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre
- Campus events, such as orientation weeks and Conception Day – an annual event celebrating Macquarie University’s founding
Identifying an opportunity to make better use of digital assets and channels to increase student participation and enjoyment of the non-academic facets of student life at Macquarie, Campus Life engaged digital strategy consultancy, Zuni to help. Zuni analysed Campus Life’s current activities, their organisational objectives, their students and the tertiary digital landscape and produced a strategic approach.
Zuni’s strategy laid down a framework for using digital assets and channels to collect data on individual students’ interests and availability, with the end goal of delivering targeted messaging (telling the right students about the right events) and optimised events (tailoring events that will be attended and enjoyed).
Central to the recommendations of the Campus Life Student Engagement Strategy proposed by Zuni was the Campus Life Groups and Events Management System (GEMS).
Zuni selected Sitback to propose a technical solution for GEMS. Based on the proposal and a prototype that was developed as Proof of Concept, Macquarie University engaged Sitback to develop the system.
The first stage of the project was to provide a system that assists Student Groups to manage and co-ordinate their activities of running and managing a Student Group.
These activities include:
Managing the universe of Student Groups within the University (some 160 at last count) – this includes a system that assists with Campus Life administration of the groups but also the “Self” administration of the groups (as they are independently run by the Students)
Providing capability for Student Groups to register and administrate student (or non-student) members of a particular group, allow students to indicate certain preferences or join Groups.
Allowing Student Groups (or Campus Life) to create and manage events. This includes registration into the events and further capabilities associated with general event management.
Allowing Student Groups and Campus Life to communicate to group members and contacts active within the system either through direct communication channels (email or SMS), integrated social media or global communication such as posting on a group “wall”.
General system activities
These include the general activities associated with managing a system including user access, enforcing security and controls, ability to report or export data.
The project was implemented using the Drupal content management system.
The second phase of the project is planned for next year and will aim to implement improvements to event management and messaging functionality.