Communication with current students instruction

Instruction statement

RMIT University communicates with current student to ensure they are informed about key initiatives, dates, events and projects as they study. This instruction is designed to ensure efficient and effective communication with students, including methods, content and timing of communication.

Exclusions

As identified in the Communication with current students policy.

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)

Responsibility

1. Responsibility

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) has ultimate responsibility for all communication with current students

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

2. Objectives

2.1. When communicating with students, the University aims to:

    a) ensure that students know where to find different types of information and staff know how each channel should be used

    b) identify and use the most appropriate channel or channels that will reach and connect with each audience

    c) point students to relevant web content as the primary source of information, e.g., for more information or to register their interest

    d) measure communication success.

Staff

3. Branding, writing style and structure

3.1. All University communication (written or visual) must adhere to the RMIT brand policy (staff login required). Exceptions are the more informal communication channels such as News for Students and social media.

3.2. All University communication must comply with the University Writing Style Guide to ensure professional-standard writing that is consistent across RMIT.

3.3. When writing for students, adopt a writing style guided by the following principles:

    a) Write to inform.

    b) Write using short sentences and concise, direct language.

    c) Write in the second person: speak directly to the student using 'you' instead of 'student'.

    d) Write in an active rather than a passive voice.

    e) Write in the style of a hard news story where the reader can stop reading at any time, and still come away with the whole story.

    f) Avoid using jargon or acronyms.

    g) Generally omit 'RMIT' from title headings as the University's authorship is implied.

    h) Use features such as headings and bullet points to structure key messages and make it easy to scan information quickly.

    i) Select a tone that is appropriate to the message and channel: for example, use an informal tone for social media engagement, and an authoritative tone for official messages by email or RMIT announcement.

3.4. Wherever possible message content should be structured in the following manner:

  • Title
  • Body
  • Introduction, or the first sentence should contain the who, what, when, where, how and why
  • Key message/s
  • Benefits or value to student
  • Call to action
  • Web page for more information (or contact details where no web page exists)

Staff

4. Guidance on communication channels

4.1. Student communication channels include:

    a) Web content (including the carousel on the students home page)

    b) Web content in Ask RMIT (frequently asked questions)

    c) News for Students

    d) Email

    e) Social media (primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)

    f) Digital signage around campus

    g) Print collateral (including posters, flyers and hard copy letters / mailouts)

    h) Face-to-face

4.2. RMIT coordinates and has established controls over how student communication channels are used so that:

    a) Students have a clear understanding of how and where to find information without being overwhelmed and confused by repetitive and / or mixed messages

    b) Staff know how each channel should be used.

Staff

5. Guidance on specific communication channels

5.1. Digital

a) Web

    The Students homepage contains content tailored to current student needs. It directs students to specific University web pages that support their studies and experience at RMIT.

    The home page mainly functions as a promotional channel that is responsive to the student lifecycle. The promotional spaces available on the home page include:

    • Carousel
    • Side promo image
    • Side promo medium
    • Side promo small
    • Video

    Refer to Students homepage process instructions for editorial specification and submission process

  • Ask RMIT frequently asked questions

    Ask RMIT publishes frequently asked questions (FAQs) about student administration, services, resources and policies to the RMT website. It serves as a back-up method to help direct students to the information they are looking for on the RMIT website, which is the primary communication channel. As a result, FAQs are structured to provide a basic answer to a question and then direct students to the relevant web page for full information.

    Ask RMIT publishes FAQs:

    • For current students only
    • For onshore students only
    • That can generically apply to all students, or to all students in a University-wide cohort, e.g. to all international student, all research student, all vocational education students.

    Refer to Ask RMIT instruction for editorial specifications and submission process.

  • News for students

    News is a platform that promotes opportunities, events, activities and competitions relevant to RMIT students.

    The channel is open to students, staff and external parties to share information and offers of benefit to RMIT students. Priority is given to new items which are organised or endorsed by RMIT.

    News for Students is not a duplicate of content that appears in RMIT announcements, nor is it content that already appears on the RMIT Events web page. Content here is specific to students and encourages student engagement within the RMIT community.

    Refer to News for Students guidelines instruction for editorial specifications and submission process.

b) RMIT announcements

RMIT announcements is the preferred channel for broad student communications. It provides students with timely, targeted and authoritative information from RMIT.

Current student access RMIT announcements via the RMIT student portal. Staff are also able to view announcements through myRMIT.

Content may be published as an announcement if it falls into one of the following categories:

  • An official message from the University that communicates essential information related to enrolment, studies, student support, IT services, results, awards and graduation
  • Information related to enhancing students’ academic success and the student experience, e.g. University and University-endorsed scholarships
  • Information aligned with the University’s key priorities as outlined in the Strategic Plan or influenced by government policy, e.g. opportunities to link with industry and study abroad.
  • Exclusions include:
    • Course and program related messages from academics (use Blackboard communication tools for this)
    • Student or staff achievements
    • An external event not endorsed at University-level

Announcements are published to particular target audience groups, including but not limited to: students outside Australia, onshore by career and level of study (e.g. vocational education, higher education, undergraduate, postgraduate, research, etc.), by campus, by college or school, by program plan.

Selected staff from key areas of RMIT are trained to review, authorise and publish announcements.

Announcements are not normally authorised to display for more than one week.

Refer to the RMIT announcement instruction for editorial specifications and submission process.

c) Email

Email is the preferred channel for communicating directly with:

  • Individual students (for example, responding to a query)
  • A small group of students (for example, asking students to provide their Tax File Number or their enrolment will be cancelled)
  • A group of students who have subscribed to receive it)

Email is also used for communicating to a small group of students that do not fall within RMIT announcement target groups.

d) Social media

Social media are not an official communication channel used by RMIT. They are often used in conjunction with other communication channels to promote services, events and activities. The tone used on RMIT social media is conversational as opposed to authoritative.

The core social media channels* used by RMIT are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blog central
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin
  • Flickr

* These channels are subject to change according to popularity and usage.

These channels are managed by the University’s Marketing team. Social media communication targeted at students is administered by the Students Group communications team.

Refer to social media content instruction for editorial specification and submission process.

e) Digital signage

Digital signage is used for broad student communications. Like RMIT announcements, digital signs provide students with timely, targeted and authoritative information from RMIT. They are particularly useful in buildings where posters are not permitted to be displayed.

  • University-wide

    Digital signage around campus is managed by Engagement via the Unisign system (this includes the Library).

  • RMIT Connect screens

    The RMIT Connect at the City campus is the only exception, where the digital signage is managed by the Academic Portfolio (owned by ARG but coordinated by Students Group).

    Refer to the RMIT Connect digital signage instructions for editorial specifications and process.

f) Short message service (SMS)

The University’s official position on using SMS to communicate with students is that SMS is only to be used in an emergency (or to test the system), or as an additional form of communication with debtors, as approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

SMS may be used to communicate with small groups of students who do not fall within RMIT announcement target groups, but all such students must provide their permission to be contacted via this medium

For any form of SMS communication other than described above, the permission of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) must be obtained.

Staff

5.2. Print

a) Print collateral

Print collateral can include hard copy items such as flyers, posters, bookmarks, postcards, booklets, brochures, banners, lanyards, etc.

Key considerations in determining whether to develop print collateral include:

  • Producing print collateral can be costly and each area is responsible for this cost.
  • Inclusion of content in major publications such as the students website is a cost-effective alternative to printing single-purpose print collateral.
  • Print collateral may have a short shelf life.
  • Print collateral can be an effective way to support wider campaigns where the main focus in online.
  • Print collateral included in mailouts must contribute to (and not distract from) the main purpose of the mailout.

b) Distribution of print collateral

Each area is responsible for the distribution of its own print collateral with the exception of posters on the City campus, which are managed by the Students Group communications team.

Posters are replaced each fortnight according to a shared schedule. Contact the Students Group Communication Manager for access to the Poster Calendar.

c) Hard copy letters / mailouts

Hard copy letters should be used cautiously for targeted campaigns or important official communications, such as:

  • Sending official statements which are not available online, e.g. transcripts
  • Communicating with commencing students or applicants who do not have access to RMIT commencing students, or an RMIT student email account or online services
  • Communicating with completing students who may no longer be attending classes or checking their student email.

Staff

5.3. Other

For other forms of communications which have not been covered (for example, outbound calls, face-to-face communication), please contact the respective communication managers for:

Staff

[Next: Supporting documents and information ]