Searches for Craig Robinson (red), Oregon State basketball (gold) and Oregon State University (gold) all show a noticable spike on August 26.
Searches for Craig Robinson (red), Oregon State basketball (gold) and Oregon State University (gold) all show a noticable spike on August 26.

If you haven’t yet experimented with Google Insights, it’s definitely worth a look. It combs through all Google searches for specific terms and produces reports based on time and volume. For example, you can see if there’s a peak of interest for the terms “oregon colleges” and “university admissions” and you might plan your Web marketing around what you find.

Based on a blog post about the importance of sports in higher ed, I decided to run the following terms through Insights to see if Coach Craig Robinson’s high profile DNC speech affected results: Oregon State University, OSU Basketball, Oregon State Basketball, Craig Robinson.  Notice a bump on August 26 on this graph, one day after the coach shouted “Go Beavs!” in his orange necktie as he introduced his sister Michelle Obama. What this tells us is that there was definite increase in searches for our university as a result of that event, and probably a bump in new viewers to our website. If we can learn to react fast and even plan for such opportunities, we might be able to convert some of this new traffic into measurable metrics.

Our YouTube channel currently features a mix of content, from polished commercials and official videos, to lectures and student-genereated pieces.
Our YouTube channel currently features a mix of content, from polished commercials and official videos, to lectures and student-generated pieces.

I’d like to say that we’re breaking new ground by launching an official YouTube channel for Oregon State. But in truth there are plenty other universities already out there. Perhaps the most trafficked and referenced YouTube presence even belongs to a school in our conference.

But I don’t feel like we’re arriving too late to be productive. We haven’t missed the dance; we’re just fashionably late. There’s no evidence that grassroots video is going anywhere. Nearly half the institutions referenced in a recent higher ed study on social media have an official channel. It’s becoming a serious forum for online outreach. Consider this:

Any doubts about the audience for educational video material have been dispelled by the experience of two University of Minnesota math professors, Jonathan Rogness and Douglas Arnold, whose short video, Moebius Transformations Revealed, has been viewed almost 1,300,000 times since its posting on YouTube in June 2007.

or this:

The UC Berkeley channel opened with more than 300 hours of videotaped courses and events on topics ranging from bioengineering to peace and conflict studies. The first video in a lecture series on integrative biology with professor Marian Diamond has been viewed 89,000 times. The first in a course titled Physics for Future Presidents, with professor Richard Muller, has been viewed more than 128,000 times. (Gulf Times)

or this:

Professors are the latest YouTube stars. The popularity of their appearances on YouTube and other video-sharing sites may end up opening up the classroom and making teaching—which once took place behind closed doors—a more public art. (Chronicle)

So we’re making a delayed but serious effort to learn how we can use YouTube to benefit our students and the institution. If you want to be a part of it, just let me know.

The Office of Web Communications at Oregon State University is pleased to announce Dialog, our new blog on all things Web related. We’ll use this site to pose questions, offer suggestions, announce new services and more.

In a busy environment, it’s hard to keep tabs on what our counterparts are doing. I’m hoping this blog will be a way for us to begin to knit together a community of Web users at OSU, and that we can learn from each others successes and experiments

Celene Carillo, our Web Writer, will offer thoughts and insight on Web content, from composing feature stories to including audio and video in your online storytelling. David Barner is the Assistant Director of Web Communications and spearheads our design and development efforts. He’ll be sharing thoughts on Web technologies and trends. Carol Andrews, who helped build OSU’s Web presence from the ground up, will also offer her thoughts and guidance.

We have an excellent team, but we also know that we’re only a small part of what happens on the Web at Oregon State University. I expect our larger community to grow and evolve over time, and I’m excited about what’s in store. I’m looking forward to the dialog.

Regards,

David Baker