Marketing Consortium-Based Online Courses to Nontraditional Students: A Centralized Call Center and Enrollment Counseling Service
Papa, Gina, Cameron, Christopher, Chubb, Diane M., College and University
Georgia GLOBE (Global Learning Online for Business and Education) was established by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia as a three year pilot project to aggregate and market online (distance education) courses and degree programs available through one of the System's colleges and universities. Institutions were given the opportunity to list (voluntarily) online courses and programs with Georgia GLOBE.
One of the first programs to be marketed by Georgia GLOBE was the eCore(TM)-electronic core curriculum. The eCore(TM) was targeted primarily to the adult (nontraditional) student market as a way to begin an undergraduate degree while maintaining an often busy lifestyle. As a part of the overall marketing plan for eCore(TM), Georgia GLOBE established a Customer Information Center (CIC), which included an enrollment counseling service (ECS).
The CIC/ECS model was designed to provide potential eCore(TM) students with prompt and efficient responses to general questions and to demystify the enrollment process. As the Georgia GLOBE project has now reached its conclusion, this article describes the marketing strategy developed to recruit potential enrollees to eCore(TM) and reflects on the experience of providing a centralized customer call center and pre-enrollment counseling for an online, consortium-based program.
Georgia GLOBE and the University System of Georgia
The University System of Georgia (USG) is comprised of 34 colleges and universities ranging from two-year colleges that serve rural areas (e.g., East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Ga.) to nationally acclaimed research institutions (e.g., the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology) that offer a full array of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs and degrees.
The Board of Regents of the use established Georgia GLOBE (Global Learning Online for Business and Education) in June 1999. In prior years the USG had undertaken a series of successful technology initiatives, some System-wide and some campus-based, and the Regents determined that the time was right to focus efforts in the use of technology, leveraging existing assets and experience, and to expand access via technology-based learning.
Toward that end, Georgia GLOBE serves as a marketing entity for use online learning opportunities. The Georgia GLOBE Web site features searchable course catalogs that include a listing of online college-level courses, continuing education, and certification programs. Institutions submit their courses (voluntarily) to be publicized in the catalogs. Potential students may customize their catalog search by course title, description, instructional level, primary delivery method, or offering institution, and follow easy links to information on admissions, financial aid, and other services located at each institution. The catalogs provide a useful tool for prospective students to locate potential online offerings from USG institutions all in one convenient location.
An Online Consortium-Based Curriculum
The eCore(TM), or electronic core curriculum, was one of the first online course suites to be marketed by Georgia GLOBE. It is a consortium-based offering consisting of freshman- and sophomore-level courses designed to meet core curriculum requirements within certain major programs of study. The primary target audience for eCore(TM) is nontraditional students who are either starting their college careers or re-entering college. Typically, these students must balance work and family responsibilities while completing their college education. Therefore, the convenience of online learning is highly attractive to this particular group.
The eCore(TM) serves as a model for collaboration in course design, faculty development, services, and instructional delivery. Courses are developed using a team approach that integrates faculty from various institutional sectors, instructional designers, Web programmers and project coordinators. …