Team # 925 -- Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies Web and Social Media Team
College of the Liberal Arts

January 2010

Objective

To revamp the digital presence of Undergraduate Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. We were prompted by the increasing use of social media websites and applications by our students and community members, and the recognition of the potential power of social media to create and maintain a strong educational community.

We have started a blog -- http://www.psu.edu/dept/laus/ -- that includes dynamic content from our new Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies (Chris Long), staff, and students. We are also currently completely revamping the undergraduate studies portion of the Liberal Arts college website -- www.la.psu.edu -- to make it more dynamic and relevant for our undergraduate students, faculty and staff. Lastly, we are also creating a stronger online presence by innovative use of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. This initiative is headed by Dean Long, but all team members work to create content for the blog, design the new website, and maintain our various social networking pages. We aim to develop an online educational community that reflects Liberal Arts values.

Team Membership

  • Chris Long, Leader
  • Jillian Balay, Member
  • Holly Beaver, Member
  • Mary Fleming, Member
  • Earl Merritt, Member
  • Ashley Neff, Member
  • Robin Robinson, Member
  • Jack Selzer, Member
  • Heather Summerlin, Member
  • Chris Thomas, Member
  • Jennifer Wagner Lawlor, Member

Results Achieved to Date

  • ExpectedResults: As mentioned above, we aim to create a dynamic, online educational community that reflects the traditional values of the Liberal Arts, including ethical leadership, global perspectives, and critical thinking and writing. We will be using Google Analytics to measure the success of this project -- the more students visiting and returning to our blog and website, the better. We are also working to increase the number and quality of comments we receive from our audience, which will indicate their active participation in our online community. Lastly, in our spring 2010 survey of graduating seniors, we will ask them their thoughts about our new initiative, including (but not limited to) how frequently they visit the blog.

    I will also note that our blog has replaced a traditonal printed newsletter produced out of our office, resulting in a time and cost savings to our unit.
  • The goal of our blog and website redesign was to create a dynamic, online educational community that reflects the traditional values of the Liberal Arts, including ethical leadership, global perspectives, and critical thinking and writing. We have been able to use Google Analytics to track the number of people visiting our sites. Our LAUS@PSU blog has roughly 6,000 pageviews per month. Our most significant statistic to report about our blog is the decreased bounce rate. When our blog initially launched we saw a bounce rate of nearly 70%. As we continued to develop new blog topics and recruit student blog authors, we have seen a substantial decrease in this bounce rate: currently about 4%. This indicates that readers are visiting our blog and staying on the site for a longer period of time. We have also seen an increase in the number of comments on our blog posts. Two of our most recent blog posts received 32 and 37 comments respectively. Overall, these statistics indicate an increased level of participation in our blog.

    We have also seen an increase in the number of people visiting our Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies website after its redesign. In August 2009, our old website attracted roughly 36,000 pageviews. In August 2011 our website attracted around 71,000 pageviews. This increase in views can be attributed to the new, user-friendly design of our website and the welcoming nature of our community.

    Jillian Balay
    9/28/11

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