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Continuing Education Sites Lacking, Researchers Say

Continuing and professional education (CPE) sites are somewhat effective at helping students with their enrollment decisions, but they're lacking in some key functionality areas: content, search capabilities, and multimedia. In the second of its three-part series of research reports, "Optimizing School Web Sites as a Marketing and Recruitment Tool," education consultancy Eduventures found that prospective continuing education students in large part think these sites come up short in areas they consider crucial and made specific recommendations for the types of content that should be added to these sites to boost their effectiveness.

According to the report, in which more than 500 prospective students were surveyed on their experiences with higher ed sites, colleges' and universities' CPE sites are strong on aesthetics and marketing but lack depth. Of those surveyed, 94 percent said that information on the costs of education is important, but only 59 percent said the information was conveyed adequately on actual sites. Only 56 percent said that the multimedia content on the sites was "interesting and relevant." And only 63 percent found the sites' search functionality to be useful.

"The Web site is a window into the institution," said Sean Gallagher, program director and senior analyst of the Eduventures Continuing and Professional Education Learning Collaborative. "In the students' eyes, a quality Web site reflects the quality of the learning experience."

The report recommended that deans and directors of continuing education programs beef up their sites with information on tuition, fees, schedules, and credit transfer policies and that they "incorporate multimedia features that resonate emotionally with prospective students and upgrade in site search functions, particularly those used for sorting programs and courses."

The full report--"Optimizing School Web Sites as a Marketing and Recruitment Tool (Part II)"--is available for members of the Eduventures Continuing and Professional Education Learning Collaborative. Further information can be found at the link below.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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