Eduvation Blog

Frozen Freight, Chatbots, Beer & Bicycles!

Good morning!

Many CdnPSE institutions completed the final day of classes yesterday for their spring or summer terms. Congratulations to all!

As for the rest of the news, in a nutshell: we’re in an unprecedented recession, hundreds of US colleges are realizing they made an awful mistake, New Zealand may have lost a 100-day victory against the virus because of some frozen freight, and Canadians are cursing the year 2020 as the worst ever, while frantically buying up all the beer.

But the good news is, the more you know, the less stress you’ll feel!  So keep on reading…

The Worst of Times?

A collection of breaking bad news from Canada, NZ, the US and UK…

Ontario, UK Enter Recession

Ontario’s finance minister finally accepted what was pretty clear to most of us back in April – we have entered a recession. Somehow, the drop of 6.6% projected for the year is nothing compared to the UK’s unprecedented 20% crash in economic output in Q2.

COVID19 via Refrigerated Freight?

New Zealand appeared to have completely eliminated COVID19, with no local transmission whatsoever for 102 days – but then a family of 4 contracted it from an unknown source, and potentially infected dozens of their 200 contacts. Health officials are preparing to test “tens of thousands of people” as a result. Now, officials are investigating the possibility that the father contracted the virus from refrigerated freight in a cool storage facility. Now Auckland is under lockdown, the dissolution of parliament has been suspended, and the Sep 19 general election may be delayed. Sydney Morning Herald

Wave of US College Reversals

“Hundreds” of US colleges have reversed or altered their previously optimistic plans to reopen campus in the last few weeks. Driving factors include the worsening pandemic, state regulations, student and faculty concerns, and the lack of COVID19 test availability. Recent dominoes include Mount Holyoke, Berklee, Goucher, and Salem Colleges. Brown U has delayed the return to campus – particularly striking because their president was outspoken about reopening. IHE

Unis Issue Double the Bonds

Universities worldwide have turned to the bond markets in a big way this year, reports Dealogic – borrowing more than twice as much as in the whole of 2019: $11.4B to date. US universities were 24 of the deals, including uVirginia, Harvard and Stanford. Institutions from Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and Australia also sold bonds this year.  Reuters

Managing Your Mood

If you haven’t spotted all the memes online mocking the year 2020, then perhaps survey data will help you understand… 

Canadians Hate 2020…

Half of Canadians say 2020 has been the worst year of their lives, according to a new Leger poll. Not surprisingly, Ontarians are the most pessimistic, but ironically (absurdly?), the Quebecois are most optimistic, despite the fact that their province has been hardest hit by COVID19. (I think the other half of Canadians should wait and see what the rest of the year has in store, before deciding…)

But Knowledge is Power!

But lest you think to blame newsletters like this one for that depression, a new study out of North Carolina State has found that the more people know about COVID19, the less pandemic-related stress they have, regardless of their age. “Knowledge is power… Knowledge reduces uncertainty, and uncertainty can be very stressful.” NCSU

Panic over Bicycles and Beer

Back in March, Canadians were hoarding toilet paper and bottled water like it was the zombie apocalypse, but the supply chain has caught up on those staples. Now, it would seem, we’re facing shortages of aluminum cans for a whole range of beverages, because beer drinkers can’t drink their fill on draught, and instead are buying more canned beer. (And Trump’s new tariffs on Canadian aluminium will, absurdly, only make it worse.) Retailers are also selling out of bicycles, as Canadians turn to them as an alternative to the gym or public transit. Many cities have implemented expanded bicycle lanes since the pandemic began. Apparently there has also been a run on pressure-treated wood: Canadians are fixing up their back decks to enjoy all that beer… National Post


Here’s a collection of recent items of interest to campus marketers and recruitment managers…

Email Marketing Skyrockets

Since the pandemic began, Klaviyo reports that email campaign click-through rates are up 22.5%, and email revenue is up 86%. Omnisend likewise reports a 31.54% increase in open rates on 2.5 billion emails. Effective messaging is authentic and sensitive to the current context, without resorting to platitudes about “these unprecedented times.” Email automation can prompt customers along the sales process, and will be most effective when it is segmented and customized. AdWeek

Tips to Improve Enrolment

A student-centric approach is critical this year, with plenty of personal outreach and empathy for financial and personal concerns. Many enrolment teams have focused on re-engaging returning students individually, involving parents and trying to reduce barriers caused by financial holds. Consider offering new students a free online class, early access to advising, or a virtual volunteer opportunity. Rethink orientation content to focus on parents’ financial and safety concerns. And remember to create opportunities for fun too, from Zoom lunches to dance parties. EAB

Chatbots Deployed at Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier U launched 3 new “Hawkbots,” online chatbots to assist future students (and selected current students) with academic advising questions about admissions, registration, exams and academics. AVA, RAVA, and ISAAC will provide immediate responses to students, redirect them to web resources, and reduce the number of routine inquiries coming to staff. WLU

Durham launches DC Ready microsite

Durham College has just launched a new “DC Ready” microsite, to help students get settled and guide them through changes to operations and course delivery. “Full of helpful links and resources, the site is also home to our DC Ready Guide, a valuable academic success tool preparing students for their fall semester.” Durham

Campus Updates

Assiniboine CC was previously in my list as a “masks encouraged” campus, but now they are “Masks Expected.” ACC

Brandon U has made masks mandatory indoors effective immediately. (The city has experienced an outbreak associated with at least 22 cases at the local Maple Leaf Foods processing plant.) Brandon

Conestoga C emphasizes that “all employees (and students) must always wear college-issued face masks while inside college facilities… Some employees may choose to wear personal face masks while approaching the entrance or waiting to enter the building, but a college-issued face mask must be worn inside and while performing college work.” These measures “will be strictly enforced.” Conestoga

Kwantlen Polytechnic U president Alan Davis has launched a weekly video message in the lead-up to September. YouTube

UNB requires face masks in the presence of others in common areas and shared spaces, in addition to maintaining a 2m physical distance. UNB

Sault C has extended the withdrawal period for full-time first-year students this Fall until Oct 9, with no financial or academic penalty. “We understand the complexity of this decision particularly given the current COVID19 situation and the changes to the way we will be delivering programming in the fall semester.” (The announcement studiously avoids the word “guarantee,” but this seems very similar to those announced by other Ontario colleges in the past month.) Sault

Selkirk C studio arts students have returned to the Victoria Street campus in Nelson to complete projects from the abruptly suspended winter term. The college features a student in the Blacksmithing program, who has eagerly returned to complete a “bronze pour.” Selkirk


Hang in there!  Tomorrow is Friday…

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