Students as content creators: University of Limerick case study

Author: Dave Musson

As part of our excellent new white paper looking at how universities are levelling up their peer recruitment efforts by working with student content creators, we've included a couple of excellent case studies for you. Because we're nice, we're going to share them with you here on our blog today and tomorrow, starting with a trip to Ireland...

(Psst, you've already downloaded our white paper, right? If not, make sure do by hitting the link below - it's full of useful stuff and is free!)

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When it comes to picking an example of a University using student content creators for exceptional results, we rarely shout out anyone other than the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland.

Their student-created content is truly magnificent. Seriously, it’s won awards! You only have to look at the beautiful video made to celebrate UL winning ‘Best Student Campus’ in 2019 to see what we mean - it’s thoroughly captivating and, most impressively, was totally shot, produced and edited by their students.

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This close relationship between the University and its student content creators started in the run-up to Christmas 2018.

Like many Universities, UL wanted to post a festive video to mark the end of term and to wish their community a Merry Christmas. But, they didn’t want to walk the well-trodden path of academics singing a carol or international students saying “Merry Christmas” in their native language, nor did they have the budget to go a big agency.

So, UL’s social media manager Tony Sheridan turned to some students, and recruited a crack team of student content creators whose work had already caught his eye.

Armed with a small budget and an idea of wanting a Christmas video to rival the annual tear-jerker from John Lewis, Tony left his students to it - and, wow, did they deliver.



The film - entirely made by those students - promoted wellbeing and self-care over Christmas and had exactly the tone that had been asked of it; the Irish Examiner featured it with the headline ‘move over John Lewis’.

The results were spectacular; it was UL’s most successful content ever, it was completed for a modest budget and the students involved got plenty from it too - something for their CV and enjoyed the process.

Tony Sheridan said: “It was better than I could have expected and all of that credit has to go to the students involved. For one of the team it was really important - his relatives saw the finished product and, for the first time, they actually believed in him and his skills.

“It was actually an easy project to manage. The students were more bothered about kudos than money. They wanted a bit of leadership from me, and some clear expectations and deadlines. More than anything, though, I just had to trust them - and that resulted in a better product.”

The festive video has completely changed how UL approaches content creation and working with student content creation; students are now a vital part of UL’s content process. The University has worked with the same team of creators on subsequent projects and is expanding its collaboration scope to include journalism students, music technology students to create the beats and backing tracks and ‘performing arts - voice’ students to sing on them.

Aside from trusting your student content collaborators to do a great job, Tony’s other top tip is to simply be as easy as possible to work for.

He said: “I rarely ask for an edit. Does it do what I asked those students to do? Is it relevant to our target audience? Is it on time? Does it look good? If so, I’m happy to say ‘cool’ and mark it as done.

“I’ll give a bit of direction and support when needed, but generally like to get across my idea and then get out of the way and let the students do their thing. It’s worked pretty well so far!”

Want more tips and insights about how to successfully work with student content creators? Download our free white paper now - 28 pages of darned useful stuff!

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