Thursday, April 29, 2010

Story Telling with Curriculum

How can we improve the marketing of education programs?

Seems to me that there is an opportunity to use a course catalog to tell a story to prospective students about what they'll cover and accomplish in a given program.    Too often the really interesting material a college or university has to offer is locked up in a document not really fit for marketing purposes.  A couple of examples:

  • For a large online university, the descriptions for a particular program start on page 261 of a 400+ page document.
  • For a local school, what I'd learn in a web design course are spread across departments.  And this is after all the admissions, policy and graduation bumpf. 
  • For a school with both online and ground-based programs the descriptions for a history degree were at least in their own document; but that was several clicks away.
In all cases the writing style looks like it came out of a committee, not a strong copy writer. The best teachers and professors regale us with stories, anecdotes and facts and figures.  We should take a page from their success and repurpose course descriptions as telling a story.   

When it comes to building rapport with prospective students, which is the most critical factor in the admissions process, sometimes the answer to the question "What will I learn?" will tip the balance in favor of one institution over another.

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