Five Links On Fhursday – April Fools In Academia

By Posted in - Five Links On Friday & Higher Education & PR & Social Media & University on April 2nd, 2015 0 Comments

I love April Fools’ Day. You know that already thanks to my blog post last week. I know we’re all supposed to be cynical about it and heap scorn on the poor companies who try their best to make us laugh, but I don’t care. I’m happy to laugh at a joke when it’s funny. So, because tomorrow is a bank holiday and we won’t be bringing you the regular Five Links On Friday, I’ve decided to round up some of my favourite university April Fools’ jokes for you. No need to thank me.

Robert Gordon University celebrated hitting 14,000 followers by sharing pictures from around the campus submitted by students, including unicorns near the art building, Nessie in the river Dee, and a ferret riding on a seagull. Of course.

Researchers at Oxford University have been spending their time wisely, making use of techniques developed for self-driving cars to a new field: self-driving punts.

Queen’s University Belfast played a cruel trick on unsuspecting Potterhead students by suggesting, very plausibly, that their Great Hall was going to be used as a location for the Harry Potter prequel films. They even put a call out for extras…

This next April Fool was carried out by the Independent, but it appears the University of Leicester was complicit in the joke. The newspaper tried to convince us that the university was capitalising on the current public interest in Richard III and renaming itself King Richard University. The penny dropped for most people with the news that the students’ union bar would be rebranded “Carnage@Bosworth”. A likely story.

And finally… keeping up the tradition of great April Fools’ Day jokes following 2013’s “Sports Direct University” story, Newcastle University’s student union announced that former One Direction singer Zayn Malik would be joining the university in September. While the use of “Professor Ru Joking” and “Dr AF Ool” wasn’t going to convince anybody, this was very topical – and bound to get attention from a vocal online community.

Of course, there will be lots of examples I’ve missed this year. Let me know if there are any good ones you’ve seen.

If you’ve been inspired by these examples to think about how you can use humour in your communications, you should take a look at Tracy’s article in the latest edition of CURRENTS magazine. April Fools’ Day isn’t the only time you can be funny.

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