Online Stats Affect Higher Education Marketing

Almost everyone involved in promoting higher education is aware that the Internet has drastically changed marketing, advertising, and recruiting. Admissions offices are aware that they need to be more actively using social media, financial aid offices offer online applications, and many recruiters utilize online blogs to communicate useful information to prospective students. However, though education administrators have a general awareness of the pervasiveness of the Internet and social media, they are often surprised to hear the actual statistics.

Online statistics provide useful information when it comes to the marketing of higher education. It is one thing to say that you know that the college-age demographic is online a lot and another to know that 91% of all mobile Internet access is to social networking sites. If an administrator thinks of YouTube as a site where teens go to watch music videos, it will never be used as a marketing strategy. However, that same administrator might be compelled to finance a video about the school’s acceptance rate into post-graduate programs upon learning that 200 million YouTube views occur on mobile devices every day. A director of an admissions office at a higher education institution may not know the difference between a tweet and a status update, but may still be willing to approve Twitter accounts for all admission counselors because there are more than 30 million tweets on Twitter per day.

Obviously, the statistics regarding online usage make a compelling argument for online marketing for education. However, even when an institution of higher education knows the statistics and has the desire to go online in a marketing effort, most lack the technological and marketing expertise to do so. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in online marketing for higher education. These companies keep up with technology in higher education so that they can offer colleges and universities innovative online marketing campaigns. Such online marketing utilizes all aspects of the Internet to target marketing efforts to the precise demographic a college or university is trying to reach. Whether it is incorporating a Facebook page or utilizing SEO techniques, marketing campaigns can be specifically designed to increase a school’s presence online and to attract students interested in pursuing higher education.

Whether an institution of higher education wants a marketing campaign to increase overall recruitment numbers or wants to market for a specific program area, online marketing provides the greatest opportunity to reach a target audience. The statistics demonstrate that most prospective students will get the majority of their information online. If online is where the majority of a target audience can be found, then online is where marketing efforts for education should be focused.

How Can Cloud Computing Impact Higher Education Positively in Africa?

One could define cloud computing as an internet based computing where by shared resources, software and information are provided for computers and devices on demand. A lot of people have talked about cloud computing. Their ideas have summed up the basic task of cloud computing. Steve Jobs, late chairman of Apple (1997) said “I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster… carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.”

Currently, cloud computing has become a significant and major trend both big and small businesses, governments, individuals use cloud computing to make everyday life less complicated. One aspect of society which is strongly influenced by the concept of cloud computing is Education. Nelson Mandela once said that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Education is one essential tool which every individual is entitled to.

Before the introduction of cloud computing, the process of gaining Higher education was tedious and stressful one. Students and faculty were both faced with all sorts of dreary tasks like… ‘I WONT DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU. Go look for said tasks’.

This is where the benefits of cloud computing comes in to make education less stressful on both to students and teachers. Since this paper is targeting higher education in Africa, let us discuss the roots of education in Africa. Africa is a continent that is in the process of figuring out its path in education in relation to advanced technology.

Cloud computing has the potential to change the face of Education in Africa while ensuring that everyone gets access to said education. Africa is made up of a lot of countries, some being much developed than others in terms of technology in education. But the baseline is ‘how can cloud computing effectively benefit and impact higher education in Africa?’

• It allows students to have access to learning materials from any location
• It facilitates the day to day operations of institutions that provide this service
• It helps teachers easily keep track of student progress
• Allows for easy identification and authentication meaning only those supposed to have access to materials and other stuff will as opposed to books and paper records where anyone can have access

With the integration of cloud computing services into higher education in Africa, the use of textbooks, hard copy papers on journals and handwritten notes will be at its minimal. Notes, articles and all other soft copy documents can be retrieved from the cloud server at any time to use. Students do not have to carry heavy books around any more. All reading material that has a soft copy can be uploaded to the cloud.

Also, the use of floppy disk, external hard drives, pen drives will be used less or possibly not all. Instead of carrying around these items that will contain your important documents, you can easily access it from your cloud provider. Currently almost all software supports the cloud. Adobe and others like Microsoft have made provision for these services and it is so convenient for individual use. So, you forgetting your flash drive somewhere and not having access to your documents will not be happening any more or your document being corrupted. You can have access to your documents anywhere at any time. Also, it will save a student’s money… You don’t need to spend money on a flash drive or an external.

To the benefit of both the teacher and the student, issuing assignments have become really simple and every student is assured of having access to it. The problem with copying assignments from friends is that the information is not always accurate. There is something always missing. So now, whether you are in class or not, a student is assured of having access to assignments in its original correct form. There is no need for a stack of printed assignments to be distributed to over a hundred students for instance.

It is not just the staff and the student body that can enjoy from the cloud. Administration of the school can also benefit from the cloud. School administration can send notices concerning the students via the cloud. Instead of pasting papers and postures on the notice boards, it can be uploaded to the cloud for easy access. How easy is that?

Technically, everyone benefits from the cloud. Last but not the least; virtual classrooms have become realistic in the African higher institutions using the cloud. On-line courses can now be put in full force because every activity, research notes, lecture voice tutorials, assignments and all relevant documents can now be uploaded to the cloud. All students can have full access to the same information at all times. With this, people who cannot attend class like regular students due to day time jobs or other related events can equally have access to information just as a regular student does.

I am concentrating on higher education because that is the level of education in Africa where the cloud concept can be effectively implemented. They have access to technological infrastructure like phones, laptops, tablets etc. that can support the use of the cloud and it is quite feasible to be implemented at this level.

There are still challenges related to implementing the use of the cloud in the higher education but it is a process that looks achievable. As Benjamin Franklin said ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’.

What Is a Higher Education?

There exists confusion about the meaning of higher education. To some, it purely meant as an education which can earn a college degree. To others, it’s pursuing an education and attending it voluntarily. Usually, higher education means a post-secondary education.

However, the meaning of education varies from other countries. Countries around the world, but not all, have a mandatory education which is the same with what an individual may obtain from a U.S. high school. Other countries only have few public educations accessible or have none at all. Oftentimes, education has only been offered to the privileged class in lieu to everybody. It has not been mandatory in several countries to study in high school and a number of these countries restrict public school education at a very tender age.

In its true essence, an education could really have an extensive definition. In the U.S. and in most European countries, it has been understood as a post-secondary education which is sustained in a voluntary attendance. It is either studying in a university, or gaining a training program in a vocational or technical school, or obtaining a certification course in a community college. Thus, either an individual pursues earning a licensed or certified degree; one normally undergoes a higher education training program from any of these learning institutions. In fact, completing a secondary education or having a high school diploma is not even necessary for a few vocational and technical schools.

Another education is indeed rarely mandatory. It is not compulsory for everybody to take up college courses or technical training in a vocational school and only a handful of countries enact higher education as compulsory. Nevertheless, a lot of people realize that they are not appropriately educated or trained to become part of the employed sector if they don’t have the added skills and knowledge that a higher education provides. Therefore, this is a motivation and a desirable want for an individual when and where to start.

There is somehow a distinction for several high schools offering an Advanced Placement (AP) program. One is that, the program may be undertaken by the most able of students with a good grasp in studying and learning. And, once they hurdle the necessary tests, they will be eligible to earn credits for college. Actually, these students are undertaking their lower degree of education through obtaining a diploma while they have already been commencing to study and learn in a level of higher education.

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