My weekly share this go round is more shameless self-promotion, but I definitely think it’s worth sharing. Each year we partner with Aslanian Research to put together a study of the demands and preferences of the online education consumer. We use this to drive our business and advise on the strategic planning of our partner institutions. I figured I’d provide you with a few relevant takeaways for what schools are going to have to worry about to stay relevant in the shifting market.
- Career Relevancy (pp. 8) – online students are almost always trying to further their career and prefer professionally oriented programs over the classic liberal arts.
- Placement Rates and Reputation (pp. 6, 15) – tying back in with above, but building rigorous courses and gaining a reputation for strong students will be key as that translates into high job placement – a primary concern for online students. The first thing students cared about was whether their institution was accredited so I obviously focused on what students cared about should the school already be accredited.
- Students are looking further and further afield for their ideal institutions (pp. 12 – 13) – we may want to be cautious of geographically contingent instruction in the future (though I’m a sucker for hybrid courses)
- The popularity of synchronous sessions is dropping (pp. 14) – this makes sense as students tend to take online for the flexibility, not the “face to face” aspect. The more we focus on instilling faculty personality in other ways (video lectures, forums, authentic assessments) the better.
It’s an interesting read and, while it’s geared primarily towards how institutions are selecting and marketing their products, rigorous course design remains a cornerstone of that product. Somebody has to build the things first after all. That’s why I appreciate working with you so much. Your commitment the quality of your school’s product is clear to me and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy my job.
Have a great day and let me know if you have any questions about the above!