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How colleges and universities can provide better
major, minor, degree, and certificate information on the web
PROGRAM
Get t...
AGENDA:
I. WHY PROGRAM PAGES MATTER
II. HOW TO MAKE BETTER PROGRAM PAGES
@DougGapinski
#higheredCH
Defining programs:
In the context of this
presentation programs
means majors,
minors, degrees,
concentrations, and
certifica...
Defining program
pages:
The web page or
pages to represent
majors, minors,
degrees, and
certificates.
In Europe In the U.S.
faculty or school college or school
professors faculty or professors
programme, degree, or
sometimes...
#higheredCH
What are some of the best program pages
(degrees, minors, concentrations,
or certificates) you’ve seen?
WHY PROGRAM PAGES MATTER
Program listings are the top priority for
prospective students – according to them!
0%
7.5%
15.0%
22.5%
30.0%
Academic program/ major listing Cost Academic program/ majors details Financial aid Scholarships...
How can you demonstrate value?
29%
22%
16%
18%
4%
33%
25%
32%
6% 5%
Academic program content Testimonials Statistics (job ...
For higher education,
the programs are the core products!
But what about the experience?
What about the professors?
Has a Ph.D.
What about the campus?
All that stuff is important.
But the programs are the core product
of colleges and universities.
In the U.S., college is expensive.
The average cost (tuition and fees) of one year of
college as an undergraduate in 2013–2014:
$30,094 – private colleges & ...
Source: Collegeboard
For four years:
$120,376 – private colleges & universities
$88,812 – public universities, out-of-stat...
m
Source
• Ranked #1 liberal arts college in the nation
• 17% acceptance rate
• $46,600 per year (tuition and fees)
• Econ...
m
Does the design
or content of
this page
demonstrate
the value of
a $186,400
product?
m
• Very little information for a
prospective student –
majority of page describes
functional requirements for
current stu...
m
• Very little information for a
prospective student –
majority of page describes
functional requirements for
current stu...
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
m
Program pages matter because
matters.
Google is handing you targeted leads that don’t
come through your home page or your
admissions pages.
These targeted leads...
This is the average number of monthly searches for “best college” in Seattle, Washington.
This is the average number of monthly searches for “computer science degree”
and related terms in Seattle, Washington – as...
A single specific program search is generating almost 2x the number of leads as a
generic college search. What are they gon...
Program pages have huge potential for
appealing to high-ability students, focused
leads, and/or stealth applicants.
The homepage
an all-purpose Swiss Army
Knife for millions of visitors per
year.
The program page
a state-of-the-art surgeo...
HOW TO MAKE BETTER PROGRAM PAGES
PROLOGUE
Do you have a content strategy for your site yet?
If you don’t know what you need to say about your
institution, ...
Program pages need
to relate to institutional
strategy as much as
they can.
Examples:
• Engage and solve problems
globally...
1Assess your existing program pages
Pick 5 to 10 examples programs to show your
team why your program pages need to be better.
• choose examples from different schools, colleges, and
departments
• do an assessment of a very old program vs. a very ne...
Are you gonna need a spreadsheet? OF COURSE!
What do your program pages do to help a
student understand why the degree is valuable?
What do they say about how getting the
degree at your institution is different?
What do your program pages do to explain
options for customizing (concentrations, dual
majors, co-op programs)?
What do your program pages do to explain
functional requirements for getting in?
Do a competitive analysis of the program
pages of your top three competitors and
top three aspirants.
Decide whether or not your model will be
centralized or decentralized
2
Decentralized (common) Find
“Computer
Science
Major”
Decentralized (common)
Decentralized programs
In this model, the deans and/or content editors
for each department are usually responsible for
mai...
Centralized (uncommon)
Find
“Computer
Science
Major”
Centralized programs
(uncommon)
Program pages live under a
single sections – academics
or admissions.
This model doesn’t r...
Is it possible to have both models?
Yes – sometimes undergraduate majors and
minors are contained in one centralized locat...
Why a mixed model?
Up to 50% undergraduates are undecided / undeclared
and up to 80% of undergraduates will change majors....
Why a mixed model?
More than 90% of graduate students of will only apply
to one program (though they will apply to multipl...
3Assemble a core team to work on
program pages and decide...
... who needs to buy-in to the process.
... who will be writi...
Who owns program development?
You’re going to need to work with the deans or faculty.
Meet your new best friends!
4Start planning the content models.
Anyone who needs to help write needs
to participate in making content models.
5Make some prototypes and test them with
prospective or current students.
This could be your current pages or
concepts for...
Prototype testing for
content needs:
Ask questions about
labels, about types of
information are most
valuable, about
what’...
6Set up easy, semantic URLs for redirection
to program pages – so you can promote or
link to programs in marketing materia...
7Set up review cycles.
for program pages need to correspond to
actual curriculum changes.
The review cycles for program pages need
to correspond to curriculum changes.
The review cycle for program pages probably
...
8Don’t forget about that listing page!
0%
7.5%
15.0%
22.5%
30.0%
Academic program/ major listing Cost Academic program/ majors details Financial aid Scholarships...
Few but
meaningful
choices
Classification (tabs)
Type of degree (as legend)
Keyword search, only
returns programs
Multiple ways
to explore
degrees
Take action!
Multiple ways
to the degrees
9Don’t forget about those undecided
or undeclared undergraduates!
60-80% of incoming
freshman are
undecided
Full list of
undergraduate
programs
Questions?
Thanks!
@DougGapinski mstoner.com
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)
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Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)

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This deck was originally presented at a Swissnex Higher Ed Webinar in January 2015.

Majors, degrees, and programs ... these are the products that colleges and universities offer, and the act of earning a degree is a life-changing experience for most people. Why, then, are so many major, program, and degree pages on .edu sites so long, lackluster, or lifeless?

This session focused on the content needed to create better user experiences for prospective students browsing major, degree, and program pages. We looked at the assessment, planning, collaboration, and governance needed to get it done.

Published in: Internet
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Get with the Program (Swissnex Edition)

  1. 1. How colleges and universities can provide better major, minor, degree, and certificate information on the web PROGRAM Get the deck! slideshare.net/thedougco GET WITH THE
  2. 2. AGENDA: I. WHY PROGRAM PAGES MATTER II. HOW TO MAKE BETTER PROGRAM PAGES
  3. 3. @DougGapinski #higheredCH
  4. 4. Defining programs: In the context of this presentation programs means majors, minors, degrees, concentrations, and certificates.
  5. 5. Defining program pages: The web page or pages to represent majors, minors, degrees, and certificates.
  6. 6. In Europe In the U.S. faculty or school college or school professors faculty or professors programme, degree, or sometimes course degree or program bachelor’s degree major or bachelor’s degree
  7. 7. #higheredCH What are some of the best program pages (degrees, minors, concentrations, or certificates) you’ve seen?
  8. 8. WHY PROGRAM PAGES MATTER
  9. 9. Program listings are the top priority for prospective students – according to them!
  10. 10. 0% 7.5% 15.0% 22.5% 30.0% Academic program/ major listing Cost Academic program/ majors details Financial aid Scholarships Enrollment/ admissions information Housing details Students Parents First content targets on college and university websites Source: Noel-Levitz
  11. 11. How can you demonstrate value? 29% 22% 16% 18% 4% 33% 25% 32% 6% 5% Academic program content Testimonials Statistics (job placement/grad schools) Videos Calculators Seniors Parents How can colleges and universities demonstrate value? Source: Noel-Levitz
  12. 12. For higher education, the programs are the core products!
  13. 13. But what about the experience?
  14. 14. What about the professors? Has a Ph.D.
  15. 15. What about the campus?
  16. 16. All that stuff is important. But the programs are the core product of colleges and universities.
  17. 17. In the U.S., college is expensive.
  18. 18. The average cost (tuition and fees) of one year of college as an undergraduate in 2013–2014: $30,094 – private colleges & universities $22,203 – public universities, out-of-state $8,893 – public universities, in-state Source: Collegeboard
  19. 19. Source: Collegeboard For four years: $120,376 – private colleges & universities $88,812 – public universities, out-of-state $35,572 – public universities, in-state Note: financial aid, inflation, average time to complete (about 55 months and variable based on type of institution) aren’t calculated into the numbers above.
  20. 20. m Source • Ranked #1 liberal arts college in the nation • 17% acceptance rate • $46,600 per year (tuition and fees) • Economics is their most popular program (major for 19% of undergraduate students)
  21. 21. m Does the design or content of this page demonstrate the value of a $186,400 product?
  22. 22. m • Very little information for a prospective student – majority of page describes functional requirements for current students • Contains references to students in classes of 2007 and 2008 • No links to apply, request information, or visit • Event feed still shows up when there are no events.
  23. 23. m • Very little information for a prospective student – majority of page describes functional requirements for current students • Contains references to students in classes of 2007 and 2008 • No links to apply, request information, or visit • Event feed still shows up when there are no events.
  24. 24. m
  25. 25. m
  26. 26. m
  27. 27. m
  28. 28. m
  29. 29. m
  30. 30. m
  31. 31. m
  32. 32. m
  33. 33. m
  34. 34. m
  35. 35. m
  36. 36. m
  37. 37. m
  38. 38. m
  39. 39. Program pages matter because matters.
  40. 40. Google is handing you targeted leads that don’t come through your home page or your admissions pages. These targeted leads come from search terms.
  41. 41. This is the average number of monthly searches for “best college” in Seattle, Washington.
  42. 42. This is the average number of monthly searches for “computer science degree” and related terms in Seattle, Washington – as reported by Google AdWords.
  43. 43. A single specific program search is generating almost 2x the number of leads as a generic college search. What are they gonna see when they click your program?
  44. 44. Program pages have huge potential for appealing to high-ability students, focused leads, and/or stealth applicants.
  45. 45. The homepage an all-purpose Swiss Army Knife for millions of visitors per year. The program page a state-of-the-art surgeon’s tool designed for a few thousand visitors per year who are investigating a specific product.
  46. 46. HOW TO MAKE BETTER PROGRAM PAGES
  47. 47. PROLOGUE Do you have a content strategy for your site yet? If you don’t know what you need to say about your institution, then you don’t know what you need to say about your products.
  48. 48. Program pages need to relate to institutional strategy as much as they can. Examples: • Engage and solve problems globally • Offer experiential learning • Recruit and grow leaders • Promote service and community initiatives • Support faith-based learning via a specific religious pedigogy
  49. 49. 1Assess your existing program pages
  50. 50. Pick 5 to 10 examples programs to show your team why your program pages need to be better.
  51. 51. • choose examples from different schools, colleges, and departments • do an assessment of a very old program vs. a very new program • if you’re a college, do an assessment of a graduate degree vs. an undergraduate degree IDEAS
  52. 52. Are you gonna need a spreadsheet? OF COURSE!
  53. 53. What do your program pages do to help a student understand why the degree is valuable?
  54. 54. What do they say about how getting the degree at your institution is different?
  55. 55. What do your program pages do to explain options for customizing (concentrations, dual majors, co-op programs)?
  56. 56. What do your program pages do to explain functional requirements for getting in?
  57. 57. Do a competitive analysis of the program pages of your top three competitors and top three aspirants.
  58. 58. Decide whether or not your model will be centralized or decentralized 2
  59. 59. Decentralized (common) Find “Computer Science Major”
  60. 60. Decentralized (common)
  61. 61. Decentralized programs In this model, the deans and/or content editors for each department are usually responsible for maintaining the program pages.
  62. 62. Centralized (uncommon) Find “Computer Science Major”
  63. 63. Centralized programs (uncommon) Program pages live under a single sections – academics or admissions. This model doesn’t require someone to browse the department to get to the program. Program pages link to departments. To departments ACADEMICS OR ADMISSIONS UNDERGRADUATE GRADUATE OTHER HOME PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM
  64. 64. Is it possible to have both models? Yes – sometimes undergraduate majors and minors are contained in one centralized location on the main .edu site and all graduate programs are contained on the department sites.
  65. 65. Why a mixed model? Up to 50% undergraduates are undecided / undeclared and up to 80% of undergraduates will change majors. It doesn’t make sense to take them down into the college and school level. They need to be able to navigate all programs.
  66. 66. Why a mixed model? More than 90% of graduate students of will only apply to one program (though they will apply to multiple universities). Information outside of the school, department, or college, may not be relevant to them.
  67. 67. 3Assemble a core team to work on program pages and decide... ... who needs to buy-in to the process. ... who will be writing / editing the pages.
  68. 68. Who owns program development? You’re going to need to work with the deans or faculty. Meet your new best friends!
  69. 69. 4Start planning the content models.
  70. 70. Anyone who needs to help write needs to participate in making content models.
  71. 71. 5Make some prototypes and test them with prospective or current students. This could be your current pages or concepts for new pages.
  72. 72. Prototype testing for content needs: Ask questions about labels, about types of information are most valuable, about what’s missing.
  73. 73. 6Set up easy, semantic URLs for redirection to program pages – so you can promote or link to programs in marketing materials. miskatonic.edu/biology
  74. 74. 7Set up review cycles. for program pages need to correspond to actual curriculum changes.
  75. 75. The review cycles for program pages need to correspond to curriculum changes. The review cycle for program pages probably shouldn’t be longer than one year.
  76. 76. 8Don’t forget about that listing page!
  77. 77. 0% 7.5% 15.0% 22.5% 30.0% Academic program/ major listing Cost Academic program/ majors details Financial aid Scholarships Enrollment/ admissions information Housing details Students Parents First content targets on college and university websites Source: Noel-Levitz
  78. 78. Few but meaningful choices Classification (tabs) Type of degree (as legend)
  79. 79. Keyword search, only returns programs Multiple ways to explore degrees Take action! Multiple ways to the degrees
  80. 80. 9Don’t forget about those undecided or undeclared undergraduates!
  81. 81. 60-80% of incoming freshman are undecided Full list of undergraduate programs
  82. 82. Questions?
  83. 83. Thanks! @DougGapinski mstoner.com

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