Coventry University in the UK recently announced that it will offer 50 online degrees over the next five years. Students can start taking courses for free and complete a series of short courses before deciding if they want to enroll full time, using a pay-as-you-go pricing model. While online learning is hardly new, this announcement a giant step in the shift from traditional, on-campus learning to an exclusively online experience.
Not to make you feel old, but the majority of today’s higher education students who enrolled right after high school graduation were born in the mid to late 1990s. They grew up with smartphones and mobile applications. They’ve never had to wait to communicate with friends and family. They’ve never had to wait to hear their favorite song, watch their favorite videos, or deposit a check at the bank. The services and content they need are always at their fingertips and available on demand.
In the previous post, we discussed preliminary analysis of the VAESE Alumni Relations Benchmarking Study, which found that colleges and universities, particularly those with smaller alumni organizations, are struggling with alumni relations. Although alumni engagement is a high priority for most alumni organizations, many aren’t doing the very basics required to increase engagement.
Alumni relations are critical to the strategic growth and competitiveness of colleges and universities. While many of the most prestigious higher education institutions can get by on name recognition and reputation, all schools can benefit greatly from alumni who become ambassadors for the school and promote the quality of its education. This can not only enhance student recruitment, but also help schools earn accreditation for certain programs. Alumni relations can also contribute to better job placement rates for graduates and ongoing career advancement through networking and mentoring.
In the previous post, we started to discuss strategies for recruiting adult learners in higher education. Unlike recent high school graduates, adult learners come from different age groups and have different family, career and financial situations. They have different goals and progress at a different pace. As a result, more schools are implementing competency-based education models, which enable students to advance based upon demonstrated mastery of a skill or subject. This model is more flexible and personalized than the traditional time-based system.