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Bringing QR codes to student portals

Posted on: 6 September 2011
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Filed under: Advertising, Education, Marketing

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Quick Response (QR) codes are starting to crop up everywhere.  At Westminster we’ve been using them in our prospectuses and print publications for a little while now but a quick flick through the broadsheets will show one page adverts made up of a QR code. According to 3GVision, in Q4 of 2010, the UK was the seventh largest user of mobile barcodes in the world.

So how can we make the best use of them in the Higher Education sector and are they here to last?

The strength of the QR code doesn’t lie in how it looks, although it is possible to brand them with a logo, but lies in the ease of linking static media to interactive mobile and web based content.

Now apply the idea of the loyalty card. Give each student a QR code (home or overseas) when they register their interest from attending open days to speculative surfing of the website and you’ve got a portal accessible via a quick scan.

When and where the code was scanned, and even the duration of the interaction, give us an insight into hot points of advertising in London, our print publications, our campus buildings as well as leveraging the QR tag to deliver targeted information during key academic events.

From the student point of view, the code could also include links to videos, blog posts or in studies which include a portfolio element, examples of work.  A whole student portfolio could be created and uploaded to the QR code, giving the student a personalised online area at the University and that portfolio could initially be managed via the CRM system we are introducing.

At less than $100, the University of Illinois provided 30 QR tag smart posters around campus to help with student orientation highlighting Twitter and Facebook feeds at strategic points. Looking at the referral traffic to these sites from the QR tags would give the University market intelligence in how and where students can be effectively marketed.

The technology is constantly changing with Near Field Communication (NFC) embedded into phone chips on the increase, making secure payments with your phone more common place, just as you would swipe your Oyster card to pay for the tube.

QR codes may be a flash in the pan in web technology terms but whilst its here, and if you’ve got the resources to develop and deploy it, why not? Doesn’t every student expect a quick response?


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