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This 1 Tool Will Help You Connect With Your Gen Z Students

Houston, We Have A Problem

Many card office directors around the world feel like they are losing touch with their Gen Z students. Although it’s not a life and death situation like Apollo 13, slipping student engagement is something that ought to be addressed. Most of the disconnect is traced back to different generational upbringings. Below is a video TIME magazine put together on what you can expect from Generation Z.

Unlike other generations of students, Gen Z students have never experienced life without a smartphone. As a result, the ways in which they see and interact with the world around them is completely different. Due to no fault of their own, the generations before these digital natives, find it difficult to relate to this new type of student. As a card office director, this is a serious problem. If you have lost touch with your students, how are you supposed to deliver an excellent ID experience?

Technology won’t fix it

Technological advancements will not fix the issue. They will only mask your connection problem with a shiny new Facebook page (which, by the way, is outdated. My Gen Z brother says all the kids are on Snapchat these days). That’s right. Unfortunately, a card office Instagram account, sleek mailers, and a revamped website will not help you connect with your students. So how can you cross this ideological chasm, and relate with your cardholders in a way you never thought possible? Drum Roll Please!

The Key to a Greater Connection

You must communicate to your cardholders through story. Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time. From cave paintings all the way to blockbuster feature films, this practice has remained relevant. We now understand, through scientific discovery, that storytelling evokes a strong neurological response. According to the Harvard Business Review, Oxytocin is released when someone listens to a story; resulting often in generosity, trust, and increased attention. This is why people will pay $15 to watch a story unfold on a 50-foot screen for three hours (I just go for the recliner seats). This is remarkable! These days it’s hard for people to stay attentive for more than three minutes.

New look, same power

But isn’t story outdated nowadays? The kids are off to bigger and better things; all they want to do is to play on their smartphones (grandpa-voice). You’re right, Gen Z’ers spends around 5.9 hours on their phone every day. They are glued to their screens. That’s a fact. Have you ever stopped to wonder what type of content they are consuming? It’s hard to know exactly, but research shows that they watch 68 videos per day across their different devices. I’m willing to bet that at least 75% of the videos they watch are story based.

Three take aways: 1. Shout out to Youtube for making this kind of cuteness so sharable. 2. This kid’s perseverance is astounding. 3. The clip maintains viewer engagement for the entirety of the video (I’m willing to bet you watched the whole thing). Why? It opens up a story loop in the brain that compels people to keep watching. Story hasn’t lost its power, but the avenue in which story is seen, heard, and understood has changed. You used to hear story reverberating in locker rooms, at the dinner table, and around the water-cooler. Today, the sound is hushed because people have turned their attention to the Youtube video on their 6.5inch iPhone. Videos, pictures, and even tweets are simply new ways to relate to one another through storytelling.

Redeem Your Golden Ticket

The answer to your connection problem is not a technological facelift, it’s the power of story. There are millions of messages bombarding student’s minds throughout the day. With so much information vying for your students’ attention, what makes you think they will care about your card office email? You need something that is captivating. Something that can cut through the noise. Story is the golden ticket you’ve been looking for to reach the Gen Z students who seem disinterested in what you currently have to say. Connecting with your students is entirely possible and the future of your relevance depends on it. Learn how to master the basics as we explore the 7 elements of story in the upcoming series of blog posts.

The 3 Enemies of Your Card Office

Who are they and how do you defeat them? A little insight from a millennial

 Photo by  Austin Chan  on  Unsplash

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Times Are Changing

Have you ever tried to talk to someone that was completely wrapped up in their phone? We’ve all had one of those “conversations.” The emergence of smartphones has completely transformed the way people interact with each other and their environment. We have learned to filter life through a device. No one is more soaked in this colossal wave of change than millennials. This is not a bash millennials article. I happen to be one myself, recently graduated from college. I’m merely pointing out that the tides are turning. The world has shifted.

 Adapted from  Know Your Meme

Adapted from Know Your Meme

Control is paramount

For the current generation of students, control is paramount. Like a trusted professor, this powerful device has taught us that we can manage everything in our lives from the palm of our hand. Products ordered, texts tailored, and selfies curated without having to leave the sofa. We control our lives and image with a few taps of our thumbs. It’s not an option anymore.  It’s the new normal for us.  

 

Efficiency is king

Efficiency is king to millennials. We wield our magical metal rectangle like a productivity scepter to help us minimize effort and maximize results. Expelling excess energy contradicts our ethos. We don't even want to wait for “fast” food.  Why stand in an endless line when I can order a burrito on my phone, bypass the hungry zombies, and leave with a delicious pouch of goodness in no time? It just seems illogical to do anything else.

 

If this is how we operate (and it is), what is standing in the way of your card office connecting with our high control, high efficiency generation? I see three major obstacles preventing us from having an exceptional experience.

 

Enemy #1 - Your Camera… It makes us nervous

On average, Millennial’s spend an hour each week taking selfies. It’s so popular entire products - like the “Selfie Stick” - have emerged because of it. This trending activity gives us control over how we present ourselves. By threatening our carefully crafted social image, other people’s cameras often frighten us.  All control is lost when someone else snaps a photo of me.  I can’t delete it or make necessary edits.

 

Furthermore, the picture I take at your card office is forever. That’s a lot of pressure, especially when I have so many other things on my mind the first week of school. I just don't see  the point of using the school’s camera if I have one in my pocket. I’d much rather snap a selfie from my living room than walk all the way to  the card office on a hot summer day to get my picture taken by strangers.

 

Enemy #2 - Talking… I’d rather just text you?

A 2017 study found that 75% of millennials would rather text than talk to an individual in person. In a face to face interaction control is limited. Texting facilitates conversation in a safe and regulated way. We would much rather communicate from our smartphone than in person. It’s not a personal attack on you. Rather, millennials have different ideals than previous generations.

 

Enemy #3 - Long Lines… Lost time

“I can’t wait to stand in this line for an hour!” – said no one ever. My grandpappy didn’t like lines, my dad didn’t like lines, and I certainly don’t like lines. No matter the age, standing in line is not on the top of the “Things to do in 2018” list. College students especially despise this. We place an extremely high value on efficiency. Watching someone take one individual picture after another while everyone in line has a camera in their pocket is enough to drive us bonkers. There has to be a better way - for us and for you.

 

In this epic battle for a great  student experience, these three adversaries stand in our way. If we could change it we would, but we need your help.

 

A New Picture

 Photo by  rawpixel.com  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

The ability for us to upload a photo for our campus ID is at the tip of our fingers. Each one of us carries a camera in our pocket every single day.  Unnecessary friction could essentially be eliminated if we were able to submit a photo from our device; allowing us to operate efficiently, avoid talking, and maintain control of our image.

 

This isn’t just about millennials. Just think what it would mean for your card office if we could receive our ID’s at or even before orientation (see, we can think about other people sometimes).  Instead of long lines of irritated freshman, hundreds of smiling students would be cheering your name as we carry you off into the Card Office Hall of Fame (if that’s not a thing it should be). Okay, that’s probably a little far-fetched.  However, an app like that would make our first experience with the card office so much more positive.

 

But how?

 

Every hero has a secret weapon to defeat their foes and win the day. Dorothy had her ruby slippers, Pan had Tinkerbell’s pixie dust, and Luke had a lightsaber. Is there an instrument out there that could defeat our enemies - saving us from talking, rescuing us from long lines, and giving us control of our ID photo? What if you were able to empower us with a specialized weapon to crush these menacing foes?

 

Selfies Aren’t Only For Sundays  

Online Photo Submission by CloudCard might just do the trick. This web application allows students to upload photos to the campus card office from the comfort of our own phones. The enemies of students (and card offices) can be vanquished. Students get to take selfies and keep control (things we love); while bypassing lines, and avoiding awkward conversations (things we hate).  You become the hero instead of the person behind the camera that makes us nervous.

 

CloudCard even provides a free student worker to assist you in the photo approval and denial process. “Helper Bot” works 24/7, never takes a break, and never asks for a raise, letting other workers focus on more important tasks. With this new product, DMV like experiences are completely avoided. Most importantly, your students feel understood and empowered.

 

The New Normal

Scores of colleges and universities representing millions of students have already started using online photo submission.  This isn’t an optional feature anymore.  Students expect it.  How do you get started?  There are several options.  You could sign up for free online photo submission.  You could check out an article about buying vs building online photo submission.  Or you could talk with a trusted vendor like Vision Database Systems or ColorID.

 

Buy vs. Build

Buy vs. Build

Online photo submission has been available for years, but now it has become mainstream. Students are now learning, shopping, and even dating online; so the last thing they want to do is stand in line.  Many schools are eliminating the lines and freeing up their staff members by providing online photo submission.  Is it time for your institution to move in that direction; and if so, what’s the best way to get started?

3 Ways to Import CloudCard Photos into Your Campus Card Software

Option 1: Direct Integration

Depending on your campus card vendor, CloudCard can save photos directly to your existing software. For example, installing our FREE CloudCard Image Server allows CloudCard to save photos directly into Blackboard Transact.

When are you going to support direct integration into [insert vendor name here]?

We're dedicated to meeting the needs of our customers.  Our existing customers asked for Blackboard Transact integration, and we delivered.  Use the comment box below or contact us directly if you're interested in direct integration into other vendor software.

Option 2: REST API

CloudCard also has a fully RESTful API that allows you to integrate with any software.  For example, one school has already setup their own integration into CBORD.  If your IT department is too busy, CloudCard team members are available to help with or even write custom integrations.

Option 3: Keep It Simple

If your volume is low, you may consider keeping things simple at first.  Photos can be downloaded directly to your computer, and you can simply upload them into your campus card software when you're ready to print the photo.  This is actually a great solution because it allows you to avoid the complexity of an integration project, while you define your business process for online photo submission.  Once you have the process worked out, you can automate the integrations to speed things up.

FOUR NEW WAYS TO USE YOUR BLACKBOARD TRANSACT PHOTOS FOR FREE

This week, we released CloudCard Image Server, which allows you to securely use your cardholder photos in your websites and apps. Best of all, IT'S FREE and open-source, so you can change the source code to suit your specific needs.

Use #1: Profile Photos

Your customers have gotten used to seeing their profile photos in the top right hand corner of pages that they log into; and you already have all their photos in your cardholder database. Now, it's a snap to display your cardholder photos as profile photos when your students log into your website.

Use #2: Online Yearbooks

Yearbooks are an important part of the student experience, but it can be impossible to herd them in to get their pictures taken.  Now, your yearbook team can easily take advantage of your extensive database of photos.

Use #3: Class Rosters

Now you can make it easier for professors to connect with their students by putting a face to the names on their rosters.  In addition, we don’t like to think about it, but cheating does happen.  Giving professors and teaching assistants the ability to quickly scan the faces in a class and know when someone doesn’t belong will help them enforce your honor code.

Use #4: Student Security

It’s a dangerous world out there; and let’s be honest, students sometimes make choices that get them into trouble.  However, giving your campus security and/or police department instant easy access to student photos will help keep your students safer.

How Do You Keep Unauthorized People From Seeing Our Photos?

We built CloudCard Image server with security in mind. Every photo is assigned a super-long, random security key.  There's enough randomness in these image keys that it would take an average computer 18 duodecillion years to crack a key.  I don’t even know what a duodecillion is, but I know it's big!

What If We Don’t Use Blackboard Transact?

Currently CloudCard Image Server only supports on premise Blackboard Transact systems; however, please contact us if your school is interested in implementing Image Server with a different card system. It would be a relatively small change to support a different system. If a few institutions are interested, the distributed cost of making the change would be minimal.  

Of course, the source code for CloudCard Image server is readily available, so your developers are free to customize it to fit your card system.  If they do, the community would certainly appreciate it if your developers would contribute their code back to the project for everyone to use.

What If We Need Help Installing CloudCard Image Server?

Just contact us, and we’ll be happy to walk you or your IT guys through the installation process.  We can even completely install and host CloudCard Image Server for you if necessary.

Other Ideas For Ways To Use Your Cardholder Photos

Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts or to share other good ideas for new ways to use your cardholder photos.

How CloudCard Photo Upload Works

Say goodbye to the long lines of students this August.  Instead, students can snap a selfie and even sign their cardholder agreement on their phone, tablet, or computer.  Best of all, there's no app for the student to download and no password for them to forget.  We email the cardholder a hyper-secure, single-use login link that allows them to upload their photo without the annoyance of setting up yet another password.  Once they have uploaded their photo, it's a snap for you to import it into your existing campus card software.

The Process

  1. Your card office director logs into CloudCard and uploads a CSV file containing hundreds or even thousands of emails of addresses and student ID numbers.  (Time required: less than 1 sec per student)
  2. CloudCard automatically sends an email to each student directly from your card office email address. (Time required: 0 seconds)
  3. Students receive CloudCard's email which contains a unique, secure link that they use to access CloudCard Photo Upload. (Time required: 15 seconds) 
  4. Students agree to your Cardholder Agreement / Terms and Conditions (Time required: 30 seconds)
  5. Students upload picture or snap a selfie. (Time required: 45 seconds)
  6. Back in the card office, the front desk worker examines the incoming pictures and approves them with a single click. (Time required: 30 seconds)
  7. After approving one or several photos, one more click is all it takes to download all the photos. (Time required: 10 seconds)

Total time required per photo: about 2 minutes (staff: 30 seconds, cardholder: 90 seconds)