HIGHER EDUCATION INDUSTRY

The need for universities and colleges to excel – often in an environment where funding has decreased and grant revenues are increasingly rare – is unprecedented.

In this high stakes game where the marketplace for universities is crowded and students have more choice than ever before, institutions need to differentiate themselves from their competitors in ways that their target audience will value and find compelling. Students are sophisticated, often global consumers in the educational marketplace, with access to the internet and a wealth of information to help them with their decision-making. 

Institutions need to communicate more effectively with and serve members of the academic community, develop business efficiencies and improve customer service quality and responsiveness. They need to improve this communication among both staff and students.

Employees offer their expertise to institutions that value them most. And students take their tuition funds to institutions that value them most.

Universities, with high aspirations for improving both the perception and reality of their quality, find themselves competing for the best students and the more lucrative international student market share. They do so by offering proven and often high-tech solutions.

With the onset of online learning, the higher education industry has embraced the online learning revolution as a means to improve its service offerings. Online learning is seen as one of the few relatively unrestricted and cost-effective avenues for innovation in teaching and learning. Campuses have been at the forefront of providing access and speed for their students, faculty and staff.

In 2006 the Sloan Consortium reported that more than 96% of the largest colleges and universities in the United States offered online courses and that almost 3.2 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2005 term. The 2008 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that enrollment rose by more than 12% from a year earlier. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide found approximately 3.94 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2007. 

Another avenue for service improvement is highlighted by a study at Macquarie University that concluded that students who study English achieve better results.

International students interested in furthering their education in English speaking countries like the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand must be able to pass the International English Language Testing System or a related test with a minimum score. Most institutions also require students complete an additional university foundation course for verbal and written English. However, they should also provide courses that actively enhance their students’ verbal and written English skills during study.

In 2004, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that twice as many students as in 1995 attended institutions outside their home country – over 2.7 million students. The UK now hosts over 330,000 overseas students, nearly 14% of its total higher education enrollment. Australian universities have doubled the number of foreign students to 300,000 in 2010.

To entice international students, universities in these English speaking countries are being warned to increase their verbal and written English programs. Without doing so, poor English standards will continue to hinder graduates from finding work in their industry and possible migration to these countries. Good business English writing skills opens doors around the world. Those with an excellent grasp of written business English are capable of pursuing educational and employment opportunities globally.

CASE STUDY

University
A dynamic and cosmopolitan university

THE INSTITUTION 

  • Over 1,500 staff and 31,000 students
  • A large number of international students and a vigorous exchange program
  • A desire to attract more international students as part of the future vision
  • Huge budgetary constraints and timing
  • At the forefront of technological advancements
  • Sophisticated and strategic approach to learning, offering a range of blended learning solutions to fit in with learner preferences
  • Time-poor students who need to improve their written communication and expression during and after their studies
  • Time-poor and savvy staff with good computer skills and very high expectations

FEATURED CLIENTS

University of Technology Sydney ECU 
University of Canberra Southern Cross University
University of Western Sydney CSU
The University of Melbourne ACU 
ANU The University of Queensland 
Griffith University  

BUSINESS ENGLISH – A CORE SKILL IN THE INDUSTRY

From administrators and staff to faculty and students, the higher education industry needs to improve the structure, effectiveness and style of their written work.

Unconvincing evaluations, academic reports and student assignments; garbled emails, letters to agencies and online communication and newsletters that need clarification and explanation; confusing Requests for Tenders, exam questions and policies; and poorly written financial and regulatory reports waste time, money and productivity.
 

THE BRIEF AND SOLUTION

REQUIREMENT

SOLUTION: CORPORATE LICENCE  

  • Get the most value for money possible, with the smallest upfront investment and without compromising courseware quality.

UNBELIEVABLE VALUE FOR MONEY AND PAYMENT TERMS

  • Paid one fixed and affordable price with a small annual renewal fee with access available to both staff and students on an unlimited basis.
  • Arranged payment terms to fit in with budget availability.
  • Avoided exorbitant cost of content development by purchasing high quality and well-tested courseware designed by business writing experts with experience in the banking and finance industry and endorsed by the industry.
  • Eliminated the costs associated with additional on-site training including facilitator salaries, venue rentals, participant travel, meals etc.
  • Fit in with their current technological framework.
  • Be able to restructure the courseware to suite perceived user learning needs.
  • Be able to accommodate the institution’s branding requirements.

UNLIMITED SYSTEM FLEXIBLE

Received SCORM compliant courseware – restructured into two separate online programs and using the university’s logo – to upload onto the university’s LMS for easy access and record-keeping.
  • Be able to prove to the both groups of learners that the solution won’t waste their time, but in fact will save them time in the long run.

CONVENIENT, TIME-SAVING AND TARGETED LEARNING

  • Learning is self-directed with optional pre-assessments to acknowledge the different skill level among learners and allow for recognition of prior learning (RPL). This has been a huge time-saver as it helps learners determine which courses they do and do not need to complete on the road to writing competence.
  • Learning is self-paced, giving learners a chance to work at a pace that suits them best.
  • Learners are unbound by time (courses are available 24/7) and place (study on campus, at home or on the road).
  • The courseware is made up of a number of brief lessons, making it easy for learners to schedule time to complete the courses and keep motivated.
  • Help create an impressive and professional first impression. In most cases, it was found that the first contact a university employee had with a stakeholder (student, agent, administrator, faculty) was in writing and the outcome was less than impressive. With students, there was a need to present written work in a way that impressed their academic teachers and professors – notorious for excellent skills themselves and very high expectations.
  • Reduce costly mistakes caused by misinterpretation of incomplete, long-winded and ambiguous information.
  • Improve the success rate of persuasive writing, including proposals, business cases, tenders and recommendation reports.
  • Guarantee a visible and significant improvement in the appearance, style and consistency of all documents.
  • Improve students’ ability to gain employment after study.

FERRARI ENGINE

  • The courseware is the most comprehensive business writing and plain English courseware available. So far, in all cases participants cited increased confidence, improved feedback, less editing time and an overall improvement to the ‘look and feel’ of their written work.
  • When evaluating the courseware, many students commented that they “wish they had completed the online courseware when first beginning university studies”.