Helping students navigate university life through authentic video stories
The Student Room (TSR) is the UK’s largest online student community. Its popular education website is used by more than 70% of all students every day.
TSR supports students from GCSEs and University to landing a job. They know the best assistance for students often comes from other students – those who are facing exactly the same challenges and have managed to overcome them.
Students that use TSR find a friendly, welcoming community that offers tips, guidance and expertise on issues from best study and revision help and making the right educational choices to asking advice on everyday issues from finance and health to building friendships.
Among other partners, TSR works with The University of East Anglia (UEA) to support onboarding new students and optimise their higher education experience. TSR and UEA use StoryTagger to successfully reach their key objectives.
Watch Nik Taylor talk about his experience of student storytelling during the pandemic.
StoryTagger is a great way for students to share short, punchy video stories about university life with our communities.
Nik Taylor, Editor-In-Chief, The Student Room
How to help all students as they enter a new phase of their life?
TSR needs to communicate with students during a time of high anxiety and uncertainty as they enter the next major stage of their lives. A primary objective is being able to inform, educate and inspire students effectively and authentically on key themes and concerns.
Key to developing this learning approach is finding a route to unlock the expertise of student ambassadors, and tap into real-life stories, that can be shared peer to peer. Knowledge sharing has to be able to achieve real cut-through in order to scale and connect with a diverse range of students from different backgrounds, with different needs and motivations.
Importantly, TSR needs a simple, structured and integrated way of working that allows it to communicate with and nudge ambassadors while UEA maintains its direct relationship with the students.
Video content (vlogs) to answer questions such as ‘How much do league tables matter’, ‘What about the student union?’ and ‘How to manage money at Uni?’ were identified as a route to share what students are thinking from budgeting to big nights out. However, traditionally video is perceived as difficult to manage, time consuming and expensive.
What challenges were faced by creating video content before StoryTagger?
TSR was enthusiastic about adding student vlogs to its forums and articles online to enhance the feeling of what the experience of university life was really like. However, initial attempts to motivate students to upload videos of themselves by sending an offline information pack didn’t really work. The videos were too long, not on topic and created on a variety of platforms making curation difficult.
A more guided and directed approach was needed to harness student ambassadors’ experience and skills in a sustainable way – one that offered TSR valuable content and galvanised UEA ambassadors through purpose and support.
Using StoryTagger to create short, purposeful student life videos.
StoryTagger is a user-generated mobile video tool for learning, able to leverage the expertise and passion of students to create concise, value-led, shareable stories. It gives TSR the ability to reach, and source personal vlogs, direct from student ambassadors.
StoryTagger enables TSR to create a narrative arc and prompts that empower ambassadors to plan and record on-topic content that’s genuinely useful to others in their own words. Ambassadors receive feedback, where their videos are being seen and tips to make any incremental improvements for future video stories.
These relatable, individual and bite-sized vlogs on university life are added to existing content such as articles and forums to give students a wider choice on the way they want to consume content.
Video-first approach to content is securing higher student engagement
The TSR and UEA teams have seen significant increases in content engagement since adopting StoryTagger. They’re reaching a wider audience through a diverse group of motivated ambassadors that are helping new students navigate student life in a social and reflective way.
By creating effective guided user-generated videos, TSR has saved a huge amount of time, resources and driven down costs significantly by streamlining comms.
This collaborative experience has brought the TSR and UEA teams closer together to excite and reassure students through a sound educational resource that is centred on their student journey and reaching their life goals.