Course Spotlights: examples of best practice

Course Spotlights: examples of best practice

January spotlight – Queensland University of Technology – Teaching Students Who Have Suffered Complex Trauma

This course aimed at teaching staff and social workers debuted last spring and has already ran three times, with another three runs scheduled for 2019. It managed to tap into an unmet need, as there are no other online short courses available on this exact topic.

Although our data shows that in general 4-6 week long courses are the most successful, as they enable acquiring enough depth in a certain topic, this course’s short length (2 weeks) was a strong appeal with this particular audience. In qualitative research and surveys, teachers often tell us about their hectic lives revolving around the schedule of the academic calendar. As one teacher shared with us some positive remarks about including just the right amount of information: “no waffle, as I don’t have time for that”. Despite its length, it managed to deliver comprehensive knowledge beyond an introduction, as it had new information even for seasoned professionals. The start dates also fell outside the particularly busy periods for teachers, the start and end of the school year.

The course’s quality was also often praised by learners, unsurprisingly, as the material had  already been delivered and tested in a face to face setting: ”Excellent variety of resources; videos with transcripts provided; diagrams; simple information about the complex brain”

January spotlight – Cambridge Assessment English – Teaching English Online

The creation of this course was preceded by some thorough market research about learner needs by Cambridge Assessment English. They found that more and more teachers would like to teach flexibly online, but they might lack the knowledge on how to deliver classes effectively and use the right online tools. This course hit a sweet spot with our learner base, as a quarter of our learners work in education & teaching, the majority of them teaching English. Also, courses addressing digital skill gaps in particular tend to fare well, due to an ever-increasing demand to keep up with our changing world and put new skills into practice with the help of hands-on online courses.  

Even with the in-demand topic, the course could not have been successful without high quality content. The course scored 95% on the learner satisfaction survey due to it being a very well structured course with an incredible wealth of practical information that teachers can use immediately when starting out with their online teaching practise. As one learner put it: “Excellent contents, activities and additional information provided with link, articles, videos are amazing and the demo at the end of the week definitely superb. Also the people in the ‘classroom’ are very enriching with all their different experience and background and it is a very collaborative group“. On top of all the previous reasons, the educator team was also very much present, openly sharing their own perspectives.


December spotlight: Trinity College Dublin – Book of Kells

This month, the best performing course in terms of enrolments, satisfaction and even upgrades has been the Book of Kells from Trinity College Dublin. While this might seem surprising for a ‘niche’ topic, high quality and a targeted marketing campaign contributed to its success. 

What led to such high learner satisfaction? In brief: the incredible range of information the course provides; the way content was broken down into manageable chunks, with extra resources for those interested in learning more; and digital access to a rare manuscript held by the partner university and widely associated with Ireland.

As one learner put it:The wealth of information and access to resources is outstanding, and the quality of production is very encouraging in a world where so much is shallow and dumbed-down.”  Learners often mentioned how much they appreciated the access to the high quality, beautiful HD images found in the book. They could also channel their inner artist during the course, trying their hand at illuminating a letter or creating calligraphy with hands-on exercises.

Trinity’s course team had a proactive marketing plan, and coordinated with both our Marketing and Comms teams on press releases and targeted emails. These efforts helped attract tens of thousands of learners to the course, including 39% from the US.  

December Spotlight: London College of Fashion – Fashion and Sustainability

London College of Fashion partnered with luxury fashion group Kering to co-create a very topical fashion course on the issues, agendas and contexts relating to fashion and sustainability. The course is aimed both at people working in fashion and those with an interest in sustainability in the fashion industry.

They launched the course as part of a major marketing event at London Fashion Week, getting hundreds of enrolments on the spot during the week. Its first run attracted 10,622 enrolments, most of whom were ‘Advancers’, learners aiming to stay up-to-date in their field.

Apart from the brilliant marketing, the course’s success is also driven by its incredibly relevant topic in today’s world. The content is very high quality, covers 6 weeks of valuable material, and was tried and tested beforehand through classroom delivery.

A remarkable 95% of learners gave positive sentiment throughout the weekly surveys, such as: “I have been working in sustainability for many years.  I like fashion and every time I go shopping, I see how fashion in my country is not concerned about sustainability. I hope this course can help me to work on that and make a change in the domestic industry.”

Research insights