Connect past, current and future students
An online community for Holmesglen Institute
Holmesglen is an online community made with Open Social for Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia. This community platform provides students with tools for learning and living and creating connections between current learners, staff, alumni and future students.
“We want students to feel that this is their space to ask questions, form study or social groups, and share placement experiences.”
– Tanima Haque, Social Media Manager for Holmesglen
Holmesglen Institute’s Challenges
Connect students, staff and alumni
A sense of community at Holmesglen
How do you connect past, present and future members of an educational institution?
There are a lot of alumni online community solutions available on the market, but not many create a sense of community with prospective and current students, as well as staff.
The challenge was to find an online community solution that is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of different groups with different relationships to Holmesglen Institute.
Remove barriers to sharing knowledge
Holmesglen Institute wants to ensure that all members and staff can access the same knowledge, no matter what they are studying or what their roles are.
Instead of putting up gates around content, the online community is meant to remove barriers to information, training and other institutional resources.
Foster communication between teachers and students
Holmesglen Institute wants to provide a strong sense of community among members, especially between teachers, staff and students.
Any good educational institution knows that creating a good learning environment goes beyond the classroom. An online community will ensure that students have a better experience, and that teachers are more in tune with the needs of the students beyond just the classroom walls.
Open Social’s Solution
Holmesglen Online Community
Creating a beta community
To make sure they launch the best online community that they can, Holmesglen created a small sample community with Open Social to test the platform before making it public.
Creating a beta community like this allowed Holmesglen to test community ideas, test assumptions and calibrate the platform to make sure it start off on the right foot.
The beta community testing consisted of 3 steps:
- Invite a small group of users
- Test content and strategy
- Collect feedback
As a result, Holmesglen Institute could create a very successful online community that engages all members.
A network for students by students
To help students, alumni and staff feel safe and secure, Holmesglen needed to ensure that there is no abusive or hateful content on the platform.
This was accomplished with Open Social’s community reporting features. Holmesglen allows their members to report inappropriate, abusive or spam content themselves whenever they see it. It is then easy for community managers to make sure that reported content stays off.
But by letting the students take responsibility for keeping their own community platform safe, Holmesglen gives members a sense of shared ownership over the community.
Using Open Social’s unique content-creation features, Holmesglen have blossomed into a rich community where members can celebrate their time on campus, share their thoughts and have rich discussions.
Groups for different members
Through creating topic-related groups, Holmesglen offers unique spaces for different members to engage with and share content.
Events to bring members together
Holmesglen engages members of different groups through hosting online and offline events using the Events feature.
The key to member engagement and activity is to encourage user-generated content. Through using the Topics extension Holmesglen can create spaces for students to blog and share their experiences and stories.
Holmesglen beta community launches. 70 people are invited. Membership doubles after the first outreach campaign.
The beta community is deemed a success with high-levels community engagement!
The Holmesglen community goes live.
Major increase to over 2,000 members.
Students start to actively create their own groups that suit their interests.
Holmesglen’s online community becomes part of orientation week in which current students reach out to new students to join the platform.
Holmesglen Institute sponsors the development of adding multiple images on a post and creating image albums.
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