How do we get the word out about courses? Are there other tools to help with enrollment management?
Suggestions for how to advertise courses and manage enrollment.
Update Course Information
Advisors tell us that students seek information about courses when they prepare to register. They ask friends and family, look for courses that seem interesting and topical. So we need to provide information to them to help them know what they're in for.
Students can search for courses based on subject listing, as well as by L&S and/or General Education Requirements the courses meet - so it's useful to be sure courses have been reviewed and approved to meet various requirements. Criteria for General Education courses can be found on the General Education website, and expectations about learning outcomes associated with L&S Breadth can be found in the document entitled What is the most appropriate breadth designation for a course my department is proposing? . For approval to add or change designations, submit a proposal to the Lumen Course Proposal System (available through MyUW).
The most basic information students see regarding courses comes in the form of the subject in which they are listed, the course title, and description. This information is reviewed and approved through the course approval process, and though it can take some time to obtain approval for these changes, it is well worth the time taken to ensure that course titles and descriptions are accurate, clear, and informative.
- Course titles should be interesting and descriptive - catchy titles can be interesting, but remember that catchy title will be the only thing that appears on the transcript. Does it say enough?
- Every course should have a description - most students won't enroll in courses that lack them.
- Be sure the title and description align with the course level; save advanced terminology to describe an upper level and graduate courses.
- Avoid jargon.
Instructor Provided Content
Instructors can use the Faculty Center to provide more information about their course. Students and advisors find this information in the "Instructor Provided Content" area of the Course Guide, where it is linked as a small red star. Many faculty and staff post current syllabi online, or they may offer more colloquial descriptions of the course, the better to provide more details than may be available in the formal description provided in the Course Guide. While this information is useful, it is very important that instructors do not contradict the official course information (catalog description, title, level, breadth designation, General Education designation). It is particularly important that information about courses and requirements are accurate, since formally approved course designation are used to audit student transcripts and determine progress toward completion of program requirements.
Advertise New CoursesSeveral mechanisms exist for publicizing courses. Some are as simple as putting up flyers around the department or in places frequently visited by students likely to be interested in the topic. Departments can obtain e-mail circulation lists of declared majors. For instructors teaching introductory courses or survey courses, it may also be worth adding an "if you want to learn more about this topic" note on the syllabus or in the learning management system, or by making an announcement in class. It can be useful to reach out to colleagues who can make recommendations, too - and by doing so, provide some context for recommendations. For example, students who are studying a particular historical period or geographical region may be interested to learn about the literature or art of that era or area, too.
Reach Out to Other AdvisorsAnother popular tool for getting the word out is an email list server, ADVISOR-LINK, which connects many advisors and other interested parties across campus. This is an effective vehicle for circulating information about new courses, courses with unanticipated additional space, etc. to advisers for their use in working with students.
To sign up for ADVISOR-LINK:
Complete the online subscription form at https://lists.wisc.edu/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=advisor-link.
Using the account to which you would like messages sent, write an e-mail to email@example.com
Keep the subject line blank.
The message should say: subscribe advisor-link yourfirstname yourlastname
(insert your first and last names where indicated)
If successful, you will receive a message verifying that you have been added to the list.
Use Data to Understand "The Big Picture"
The UW-Madison Institutional Data Project provides interactive dataviews that illustrate what students actually do to meet their requirements. When looking at all courses taken by various majors, departments can consider whether there are opportunities to reach out to students based on the patterns of courses they are seeking out.
Finally, ask your students.
When students have a great learning experience, they are eager to share their experience and get the word out about what they learned. Ask them how to reach others and spread the word.