How are you communicating your teaching quality to prospective students?
The 2019 QS Australia International Student Survey, reminded us that when choosing a course, the 4th most important factor for international students is the quality of the teaching they will receive.
So you might expect international student pages on university websites to contain inspirational content about the high teaching quality at the university, with engaging stories and proof points to inspire prospective students to choose them? So why is teaching quality information rarely to be found and often only implied though rankings? Perhaps it's because we aren't sure what proof points would be relevant to demonstrate high teaching quality to prospective international students? The large research syndicates haven't answered this question in detail for us, so to create a compelling answer to the question "how is the quality of teaching course X better at your university than your competitors", you will need to start from the begining.
The best way to create compelling content to engage prospective students is to take a student centred approach.
Start by asking the target students some basic questions to develop your insights;
How do you define teaching quality?
What style of teaching would you receive if you studied at home? What don't you like about it?
What style of teaching are you hoping to receive when they study abroad?
Remember that there may be important difference between UG and PG students and students from different countries, based on their educational experiences back home and their different cultural values. These questions will help you understand which attributes they value more than others, which could include;
Modern facilities (e.g. UTS MegaLab)
Teaching staff (e.g. Melbourne Business School's Mark Ritson)
Teaching quality rankings (e.g. Qilt)
Subject rankings (e.g. QS)
Student reviews (e.g. UniAdvisor)
External accreditation (e.g. Chartered Professional Engineers)
Applied teaching style
Work integrated learning opportunities
T--skills (e.g. critical thinking, teamwork, creativity, communication)
Alumni network (e.g. Melbourne Business School's 16,000 alumni network)
With the student preferences clearly articulated you can consider where you have compelling proof points to develop you stories around (and where there are some gaps that might need to be addressed by evolving the course over time).
Communications and activities can then be planned to engage the target market in the proof points at the relevant moments to influence the prospective student to choose you over your competitors. At MacMorgan we help institutions take a student centred approach to growth, if you'd like to find out more about our unique approach, please reach out and contact me.
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