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Quick Pitch: A social media platform that connects students and professors through their preferred form of communication.
Genius Idea: A professor emails a student and it’s delivered in whatever form the student prefers, such as a text message or Twitter and Facebook post.
More students these days prefer interacting on mobile devices and social media sites over traditional forms of communication such as email. To help eliminate the communication barriers between students and their professors, institutions from Cornell University to Georgia State University are turning to a social platform called ConnectYard that allows them both to send and receive messages however they like.
If students prefer interacting through text messages or on Facebook and Twitter, they can send messages to their professors this way. In turn, professors can receive and send responses however they prefer – and typically, that’s through email, according to ConnectYard CEO Donald Doane.
“Faculty isn’t always keen on adopting new technology and many don’t want to encroach on the personal space of students on social networking sites,” Doane told Mashable. “ConnectYard allows students and professors to interact on the platforms they prefer to use. If a teacher cancels a class and sends an email to students, some students might choose to receive the message as a text or Facebook post instead.”
Students can also respond to messages on whatever platform they choose. If they are on Facebook and send an email to their professor about a class, the professor can receive it through email.
“We wanted to give students and faculty an easy way to reach each other and interact without having anyone change their communication habits,” Doane said. “We’ve had great success with it so far and more institutions are jumping on board.”
ConnectYard also integrates with other popular learning platforms such as Blackboard and Desire2Learn, so students and professors can post and respond to queries, and the site archives all interactions as a reference, regardless of where they originate.
In addition, if a student is reading an ebook, she can pose a question from their ereader and the professor can respond via email, It will then show up directly in the the student’s ebook notes on the device.
“ConnectYard is flexible in how it allows students and faculty members communicate,” Doane said. “Everyone prefers to communicate in different ways, so we want to make sure people can interact with others however they feel most comfortable — whether it’s just through email or through a high-tech device or social platform.”