A pair of articles from eCampus News intrigued me. First, this article from February: Interactive campus maps could mean big bucks for colleges
Technologists who have tracked the evolution of the interactive campus map say the online tour--complete with 360-degree views, descriptions, and videos--will take on a more vital role in college recruitment efforts as gas prices rise and the days of multiple campus visits become unfeasible for most middle-class families.
The article discusses the rising importance of a quality online presence in attracting new students. In this case, it's about providing an accurate view of the campus for prospective students and their parents. From the article, "You simply can't afford to take your children to 20 schools to see what they're all about anymore," so more families are relying on an interactive campus map to build an understanding of the campus.
And from the April edition: Campus websites becoming key tools for student recruitment and retention. (This article isn't available online yet, but you might try searching for it via their web site later.) This article is a larger piece "from staff reports" about campus websites in general - and begins with an almost verbatim inclusion of the interactive campus maps article.
The April article continues by highlighting self service portals and other tools that aid students in their progression towards a degree. That translates directly to retention. These portals use intelligent software to provide answers to common questions, from "how do I get financial aid?" to "where can I park on campus?" Students want to be empowered, and they want to do everything online. Providing these types of smart websites is part of that delivery of self service.