Exactly 6 months ago – on September 12, 2011 – I welcomed the first class of the Web Analytics for Higher Ed 4-week online course Joshua Dodson and I designed. Today, the students from the 5th session of this course exclusively targeted to people working in universities and colleges are a few days shy from completing their final project.
And, the next session starting next Monday is… sold out!
6 months, 5 sessions, 50 students and 24 awarded certificates in Web Analytics for Higher Ed (final grades are due next week for the 5th session, so we’ll have more next week): what a great milestone for web analytics in higher education, don’t you think?
As we do with all our courses, WAHE students from all these sessions were invited to complete a course evaluation.
100% of the students submitting their evaluation said the course helped them develop their knowledge and expertise of web analytics.
We also asked students to grade the course and the instructor on a range from 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent).
The course got a GPA of 4.33/5 while its instructor, Joshua Dodson, was very close with a 4.2 GPA.
Here’s what some of the students said about the Web Analytics Course for Higher Ed:
Amy Barnes, Plymouth State University (NH)
“This course is very interesting and definitely starts one on the path of becoming a GA ninja. It made me realize the importance of reporting data that is meaningful to decision making, not just reporting data for data’s sake! I will never again present lengthy analytical reports providing data that was amazing to me (and probably to me alone), as this doesn’t help influence decision making.”
Dan Demmons, Director of Web Design, Architecture and Services at Providence College (RI)
“Fantastic course! Going to make a world of difference for me and my operation as I seek to corral the chaos and create some structure/methods for how we work on the web at my institution. It’s all about metrics.”
Matt Herzberger, Director of Web Communications at FIU (FL, USA)
“This course was great. It let me focus on the things that are important and the discussions with other higher ed web people made it something unique as opposed to a non higher ed analytics course.”
Derek Bierman, Director of Web Systems Services at NCC (NE, USA)
“This course provided me with the critical thinking skills necessary to take our analytics from reactive to proactive. I can now create the reports I need to prove value and measure success.”
Tatjana Salcedo, Web Strategist at the Univesity of Vermont (VT, USA)
“It was incredibly useful and enlightening. This was some of the best professional development that I have done in a long while!”
Mark, Ward, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic (Tauranga, NEW ZEALAND)
“Great content, very relevant. And, thankfully along the way we are building things we can actually use!”
Stephen Ross, Web Coordinator at Olds College (AB, CANADA)
“This course is forcing me to pay attention to my neglected “analytics to-do” list. Analytics not reportrics!”
Natalie Bush, Interactive Marketing Manager at San Joaquin Valley College (CA, USA)
“This course is highly relevant and very applicable. From day one it has help me turn information into knowledge. In just 3 weeks I’ve identified gaps in our web strategy, which may have gone unnoticed if not for this course. I would definitely recommend it to marketing professionals and web masters.”
Lisa Ware, Director of Outreach Programs for The Center for Professional Excellence at Wofford College (SC, USA)
“I’ve been extremely happy with this course. I think the web interface is very well-organized. It’s easy to find what I’m looking for. I appreciate the reminders about assignments, and I think the amount of work has been very well-balanced. I was worried going into the course that I might not be able to follow the instructor or handle the work, but the material is as promised: you don’t have to have a high level of technical experience with GA to learn the material. All courses, essentially, help you discover what you don’t know as much as they teach you new things, and I know that I’ll need to review the material a few times to really become confident with it. But this has been exactly the in-depth explanation I hoped it would be.”
Joel Kunze, Web Services Director & Research Specialist at Upper Iowa University (IA, USA)
“I found the course tremendously valuable. Obviously I learned new techniques to more fully utilize Google Analytics, but the course is much more than a practical “how-to” guide. The focus on KPIs and their connection to an institution’s goals and objectives was the most enlightening. This focus aided me in developing a strategic mindset with regards to the use of web analytics.”
Students – all working higher ed professionals – learned a lot with this course on Web Analytics for Higher Ed. So did I.
This course has taught us a lot about the state of web analytics in higher education. And, I thought you’d be interested in these indirect learning outcomes. That’s why I asked Joshua a few questions about his experience as an instructor for this course.
1) You’re currently teaching your 5th session of the WAHE course. Since you started back in September, have you noticed some common issues faced by students trying to implement analytics at their institutions?
A common issue is that students find some resistance on their campus from a structural or political standpoint. Many of the students are energized by the data and are excited to begin affecting positive change at their institutions, but feel that the structure of the school does not allow data to illuminate appropriate changes to both their website and their larger marketing efforts. The students quickly recognize the value that the web analytics data provides and, by the end of the course, have crafted sample plans of action based on the information. My hope is that the institutions listen to their own analytics “ninjas” after the students have taken the course so that positive changes can take place. The students who were able to present the data effectively at their institution remained positive and energized by the possibilities in their analysis.
2) Many students have said that the class discussions are what made this class so special. Can you explain why?
The class discussions are designed to provide an opportunity for students to interact with their peers – all working in universites and colleges – and build off of each student’s ideas and insights. I think that it is through the discussion that the application for the data begins to emerge. The discussion questions are framed so that the students discuss the topic of the week and attempt to apply it to their own situation. It is through the discussions and assignments that the student begins to think more like an analyst and rely less on intuition.
3) What have YOU learned about web analytics in higher ed as a result of teaching this course?
I have learned more about the nature of various institutions and their desire and, at times, fear to do more of what is working and less of what is not. Institutions of higher education are often complicated with nuanced tendencies towards specific methods. I have learned that, while it is difficult to tear down, or at least bridge the institutional silos, it is immensely beneficial. When I see the “Ah-Ha!” moments shining through the student discussions and assignments, it renews my hope that positive change can happen. I have learned–and continue to learn–that it is appropriate to push for a better way of marketing and managing resources. It is important and useful to understand what the data indicates, and to make changes appropriately. It is a process and a worthy endeavor.
4-week online course: Web Analytics for Higher Ed
(asynchronous with weekly lessons and assignments)
ONLY 10 SEATS per session