ICL Supporters: Official Twitter Account Launched!
Official Twitter Account Launched
We are pleased to announce the launch of the official Intercultural Collaborative Learning (ICL) supporters Twitter account (@tohoku_icl_sprt). We would like to share what we are doing, what made us aware of the necessity of social media PR, and our thinking on optimizing our PR strategy.
Purpose of the initiative
- To serve as a contact for both current students and those who may be interested in joining ICL courses in the future.
- To frequently inform students of website updates and upcoming events.
What We Do
(a) Receiving and responding to questions from students
(b) Providing course info
(c) Informing students of website updates
(d) Promoting and reporting on ICL-Channels events, including those held by other participating universities
(e) Retweeting posts by GLC, GCS, and other related organizations
- ICL supporters team not well known
- Lack of practical information provided on ICL courses
Although one or more ICL supporters are assigned to individual courses, there is a tightly-knit network behind it. We constantly share successes and challenges that different classes experience in order to make every ICL course an even better learning opportunity. The idea to use social media was generated from a question: do the students see ICL supporters as a team-based organization and make the best use of us? And we recognized the need to create a system that allows us to maximize our strengths. ICL supporters encourage students with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and readiness for intercultural communication, to engage in meaningful interaction, and facilitate their personal growth. The fact that these support activities are promoted by the organized efforts of supporters who share the same goal is expected to give a sense of trust to both current and potential ICL students. Furthermore, not only will this support system need to be made widely known, but proactive actions will be required to take advantage of its strengths.
Based on the above discussion, we became aware of the need for two-way communication with students. Especially during the registration period, some instructors receive individual questions such as, “What level of English do I need to join your course?” If ICL supporters serve as liaisons using Twitter for questions or concerns, we will be able to consolidate our help centers into one venue for a smoother system. It will also be easier for senior ICL students to provide relevant advice.
This is another issue revealed by the above discussion. Some students said, “I wish I had found such an interesting class earlier.” This indicates the lack of accessibility to precious learning opportunities. Class information is currently available only in syllabi, which is the other reason why students feel difficulties getting enough information about class content. Since we aim to capture the situation on the ground and regularly report it in web articles, notifying students of updates to the articles on Twitter could be one strategy. Linking the website and social media will work well to convey more practical information and share it more efficiently.
We intend to strengthen our interactive communication to provide information tailored to the students’ needs. We also plan to align ourselves with the development of the ICL Project and target not only students of Tohoku University but also those of partner universities. In terms of expanding the target group, we are considering starting to post content for international students. We would like to carefully identify their needs and interests, and publish information geared toward them, not just post in multiple languages. Since some exchange students joined the support team this year, we believe we can help more diverse students by leveraging our different strengths. For further improvements, it will be necessary to assess the impact of these PR activities on specific student actions.
Although we are still in the early stages of this initiative, we have received positive feedback from professors involved in ICL. We aspire to make student-oriented PR activities a part of the history of ICL development at Tohoku University.
Author: Junna Minato