Communications department texts students updates, news

Jaclyn Farrell January 31, 2013 0

The department of communications is the first on Elizabethtown College’s campus to send text messages to their students about upcoming events and important dates.
The project initiated last spring as an idea amongst the department staff. Dr. Kristen Johnson, department chair and associate professor of communications, said the department was looking for another viable option of communication. After noticing many students missing emails and events they began to brainstorm a more effective approach.
The faculty introduced the idea to the Department Chair Advisory Committee (DCAC), a panel made up of communications students. The students agreed text messaging would be more useful, seeing as practically all students have text messaging and pay more attention to their cell phone than they do to their email.
Johnson further explained the project by declaring the department understands how students’ email inboxes are flooded daily and hope that students will respond faster to texts. “Students don’t necessarily respond to an email the way that they used to,” she said.
Johnson revealed that, “Before, when I would send out a message, students would very quickly get back to me, and now, since they’re overwhelmed with emails, they either don’t necessarily see it, or it doesn’t register with them that it is an email they need to be checking.”
Using a three-pronged approach (text messaging, email and flyers) the staff hopes that at least one of the three will get across.
In cooperation with the Office of Marketing and Communications, the text messages will be sent similarly to those from the EC Alert system. Since the Office of Marketing and Communications has the necessary technology, the department will contact the office staff to send messages to communications students.
To avoid an overflow of text messages, the department will only send messages for urgent matters. The messages will consist of reminders of important events in the department of communications. The staff hopes to create more awareness of activities like the department banquet and the department field trip.
If students would not like to be a part of the project, the department has given the option to opt out through a simple email message response. Johnson said that only a few students have opted out and a vast majority prefer the text messaging option.

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