The tranquil Conference Park of the University of Birmingham was abuzz on Monday when the 2013 EAIE Spring Academy got underway. More than 120 higher education professionals from over 25 countries arrived full of energy and determined to expand their skill set and develop action plans for the challenging projects they are working on. The first part of the week features courses on topics such as benchmarking, crisis management, facilitating cultural learning in education abroad, summer schools and digital marketing trends. Below is an in-depth look at two courses.
Communicating with digital natives in a digital age
Today’s marketing and recruitment professions are faced with the challenges and changes generated by the internet age. They need to be up to date with how students use the web in their search for the right university and constantly adapt their institution to the new trends. Christopher Price and Anthony Lee worked together with participants of their course ‘Marketing in the digital age’ to address some of the issues faced by marketing professionals today: “One thing that has come up in this course is that a lot of institutions have really cool videos but the big problem with these videos is that they don’t get seen by many people. There’s a lot of effort going into making a really good film and 7000 people watch it but really, the film quality is so good that tens of thousands of people should be watching it. One of the things we’ve been talking about in the course is how to get your film seen by a much bigger audience through syndication. We’ve also been sharing the latest thinking on attribution; more specifically how optimising your paid-for advertising and social media will contribute to the student buying cycle. Furthermore, we discussed the importance of mobile websites. We did some interesting research with the participants on this course and showed them that the industry is nowhere near as prepared as it needs to be in terms of approaching the mobile internet. We looked at their websites and found that if an international student researched study options and inquired about a course via a mobile device, almost 100% of the websites would fail to do their job. So this isn’t in any way an individual institution’s problem, it’s more of an industry-wide problem. Much more needs to be done in order to prepare our digital and social media offerings for the different ways in which young people are digesting media. We also looked at some analytics and showed that the number of people trying to visit our websites through mobile devices is increasing two-fold every single year.”
Google and Facebook’s take on student behaviour
In the second half of this week, Christopher and Anthony are giving a course on innovative techniques in digital marketing. Built into the course is the latest data from Google and Facebook on students’ journeys to choosing a place to study. Google and Facebook have more data on the student buying cycle than any individual higher education institution could ever dream of gathering. The EAIE Academy is grateful that both companies have kindly agreed to share their insights with the participants of this Academy. Google provided their inside research on student buying cycle and Facebook prepared a higher education case study for the Academy. There are some interesting facts that surface when reviewing the data: more and more students are starting to research universities at a much earlier stage. In addition, students more than ever before are exploring their study options on multiple devices – mobile phones, tablets and laptops – and are using all three in combination. These new realities have important ramifications for the way that institutions display their information online and communicate with potential students. Stay tuned this week as we reveal more information on the topic.
Summer schools on the rise
Down the hall from the digital marketing course, EAIE trainers Jeroen Torenbeek and Inez Meurs reflect on the growing market for international summer schools. They explain: “Though summer schools have been there for decades, they are in a new, expanding phase and the growth is very fast, including a lot of internationalisation aspects. In this course we are focusing on vision and strategy and how to put them into practice.”
It is the practical component of the EAIE training courses that attracts Academy participants. Alejandra Villena who is attending the international summer school course from the Universidad CEU San Pablo in Spain shares: “It is not a typical course where somebody is teaching and speaking all the time; it consists of a lot of exercises, a lot of group work. It’s been very useful because I can see how other universities are managing their summer schools; we also learnt how to restructure our own course, how we can adjust it, and how to manage our budget. It’s helping us get new ideas and define what we want to do with our summer school in the future. Her colleague, Alejandro Garcia Barrientos, Director of International Programmes, added: It made us think about the aim of our summer school and also how we can expand to other markets, maybe US, or China… Now we have a clearer idea of what we want to do, which is really important. And because it is so practical, it is more effective.”
For a step-by-step guide on how to set up an international summer school, check out trainer Inez Meurs’ blog “Setting up a summer school: where to start?”. To receive live updates and useful tips from the courses this week follow #EAIEAcademy on Twitter! Also check our blog later this week for more Academy news.