Ways To Use Basecamp For Project Management In Higher Ed

What Is Basecamp?

In case you haven’t heard, Basecamp is an online team communication and project management system with apps available for macOS, Windows, iOS & Android. Basecamp is simple enough for anyone to use, yet powerful enough to accommodate most any project, even the most detailed.

Basecamp is made up of two major types of workspaces — Teams and Projects. Both offer the same suite of tools, but are separated to maintain context in the app. Teams are ongoing groups whose members may come and go; Projects have a defined scope and end date.

Within each team or project you can toggle on/off any of seven tools:

  1. Campfire
  2. Message Board
  3. Docs & Files
  4. To-dos
  5. Schedule
  6. Automatic Check-Ins
  7. Email Forwards

This simple setting means that each team or project is infinitely customizable. Even better? In a world of costly enterprise software (even in higher ed) Basecamp’s pricing is a steal. $99/month gets you unlimited users & projects with 500 GB of storage. Pretty solid.

How We Use Basecamp At Hope College

Hope College

We’ve been using Basecamp at Hope for almost ten years now, and it’s been awesome to see the tool take root and spread across administrative offices, academic departments, students groups, and more. Many wheels would stop turning around this place if we ever stopped using it. Here’s why.

Basecamp works because it unifies all of our disparate email inboxes and chat threads, putting them all in one place and giving context to each discussion, be it 1:1 or 1:many. The answer to most any question around our various offices has become “It’s in Basecamp.”

I’m based in our Admissions office, but I also work closely with our team in Public Affairs & Marketing. Let me describe some of the ways our two offices are using Basecamp to make work happen at Hope College.


College Classroom

Team discussions are a central part of the Basecamp user experience. Need an answer to a quick question? Many of our staff will just throw it into their team’s Campfire. Want to make an announcement or outline a process? We simply post something on the Message Board.

Event management — especially repeated events — works really well in Basecamp. Organize to-do lists, assign to-dos, let folks know when a to-do has completed… it’s all there. Plus you can use project templates to get a huge head start on future iterations of the same event. For example, we use Basecamp to manage all of our visit programs.

Meeting minutes are a great use for the Basecamp Docs feature, and Basecamp will also play nice with files from outside services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Building culture is easy with Basecamp. We use the Automatic Check-Ins feature to share family photos, talk about the books we’ve been reading, and keep others posted about what we’re working on.

Public Affairs & Marketing

As with many colleges & universities, our admissions group works closely with our marketing team. Having a shared Basecamp allows us to truly collaborate around digital campaigns, print materials, brainstorming, weekly emails, and the like.

Our Creative and Web Services teams use Basecamp as a ticketing system for the countless requests and updates that come in. By doing so everyone’s able to stay on the same page and know who’s doing what and when.

Give Basecamp The Old College Try

Well, as you can tell, I’m a Basecamp believer. Sure, I wrote a book about it, but I truly believe any office would be better with Basecamp. Give it a shot, and let me know what you think.

Andrew Meyers is an Associate Director of Admissions at Hope College and author of Better With Basecamp, an ebook to help you & your team learn the Basecamp project management system.