Compelling course tasters from Media Design School

Join us for the week's episode where we discuss the compelling course tasters held at Media Design School and how we think more institutions should be adopting this strategy.

The Media Design School is running a series of virtual taster days. We’re surprised we don’t see more of this – it feels like an easy way to repurpose course content to reach a wider audience. It’s also more meaningful than simply describing a course – why wouldn’t you offer students a taste of the content before they commit? This particular event, titled “Student for a Day” (nice) gives attendees two workshops and guidance on how to use creative tools. Simple, but stands out because very few institutions offer the same.

Nathan Monk
Hello, and welcome back to Most Clicked. I’m your host, Nathan from SMILE and every week I am joined by Kyle from the Education Marketer. And I’m also joined by Matt from SMILE. I’ll keep making an absolute hash of these intros every week now, so please don’t judge me. And here is where I should insert something about liking, following and subscribing. So if you’re into that, please do that. Kyle, save me from this absolute car wreck of an intro. This week. We’re talking about Media Design School in Australia. Am I right?

Kyle Campbell
You are right, absolutely right. I haven’t heard this one either actually, I came across them the whole week. So they’re doing some really great stuff with taster sessions, which I know isn’t like the most innovative or groundbreaking part of the student recruitment process. But surprisingly, not a lot of unis use this as a tactic. So this is their digital taster session for one of their foundation programmes and it’s not just an hour session here. So if you want to join this it’s basically like a whole day and it’s broken down in between like nice registration get to know your new colleagues, new course mates and then there’s a couple of different workshop elements attached to it for the day.

And I was looking at this and thinking like, you know why don’t I see this like consistently across most universities because I think I wrote about it on LinkedIn recently that if anything, this is like, for what about the phrase, a shortcut to really great content marketing, because like higher education, it’s one of the few sectors that has all of its expertise, all its knowledge nicely organised into courses. So all you have to do is un-gate a little bit of that content, you know, take it off the course page almost and you know, repurpose that that course content into something that students get a taste of the get feed off, they try before they buy almost. And it just means your content can almost work for you and help you market your products a little bit more effectively. So I’m just surprised that more unis given the amount of content they have locked in these courses, don’t unpack it a little bit more and include it as part of those that those marketing communications and those initiatives,

Matt Lees
It feels quite high end and almost like a conference like you’re joining into something, even down to the button text with the ‘RSVP Now’, I really like the way it kind of feels quite curated. For a while now we’ve been talking to universities when we’ve been redesigning flagship websites around floating content around academics and lecturers into course pages. And this feels like it feels like universities are missing the trick. Like why are they not putting this level of detail and content into course pages to help sell it?

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I mean, I definitely feel there’s a movement now to do this more and, you know, there’s a few edtech providers stepping in to support universities to make that happen. One that I’m a big fan of is Springpod. And I think the business has gone through many different iterations of what it is. But they’ve recently launched a new product called Subject Spotlights, right. And essentially, they partner with universities, I think I’ve got about 30 now. And a few ones are currently live running these course taster sessions via the Springpod platform and the studio expertise and equipment that they provided to film this content. And I’ve watched a few and wow, the production value on these things is incredible that this is not just a case of screen recording, like an open day presentation and stuff like that. But think studio, think environment, think multiple levels of the course that you can click through and engage with. And, you know, in some cases, I think University of Law, Oxford, I think Durham’s on there as well, that they’re using these as part of the admission strategy as well. So if a student has been through this a taster course, they’re viewed as a more qualified prospect than someone who hasn’t. So it’s nice to see that content not only being unlocked but being used as part of strategic admissions decision making.

Nathan Monk
Yeah, it’s nice to see it kind of integrated as part of the whole thing because you say, like, I’ve got a friend who works at Automattic, the people behind WordPress, and he heads up the work on their LMS Sensei, shout out to Ronnie. And he’s been doing some great work on that, a completely open-source LMS. And recently, they announced a plugin and it’s got blocks. So you can integrate a lot of the courses into normal news stories, or landing pages and stuff. So I think that we might be going into this time where there’s a convergence of LMS and CMS and I think for universities, that probably means there’s quite a lot of marketing potential with that as well, I should say marketing and recruitment potential really?

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I think I’ve articulated in a few posts that I’ve written that content marketing is quiet, I think there’s so much potential for content marketing in higher ed. And I think if we’re going to start off in these projects, one of the quickest ways you can get going on it is by just looking at the existing course content. I mean, there’s already people know that they’re coming to you and pay money to do these things already. So obviously, there’s value there, the content is valuable, that just needs to be looking at what you can unpack and working with those academics or subject area experts to bring that stuff out into like a marketing and recruitment environment. And I think, while that can be quite labour intensive, I just think it’s so much more valuable to the audience and the prospective students then, you know, just reimagining like a recruitment campaign and things like that. So I don’t know, I think there’s probably room for both, obviously. But I just think at the moment unlocking subject area content is just so underutilised as a strategy.

A screenshot of the design page of the course tasters at Media Design School

Nathan Monk
If it feels like the takeaway here is it’s like the power of the freemium model. So like in apps, the freemium model is commonplace you download a free app, and it’s either littered with adverts and you have to pay to get rid of them or, you know, you kind of get a trial for 30 days, and then you have to pay for more. And it’s almost like how can universities embrace the spirit of freemium? By giving away just a little bit of that course that they charge a huge premium for typically give that away for free, which is something that I don’t think is commonplace at the moment. And how you can utilise that so not just about giving people a taster of it, but how you could use that to create first-party data, for example. I think there are some really cool potential applications in embracing freemium. Cool sounds like you guys agree with me totally by that deafening silence.

Kyle Campbell
Our silence said everything. You can’t add anything to that conclusion.

Nathan Monk
That’s cool. Does anybody want to add anything before we wrap up here? Well, I keep bodging these intros and outros, which is fantastic quality as a host of one of these things. So, Matt, I’m thinking, Can you help me this time, try and get people to follow like and subscribe to this thing?

Matt Lees
I mean, I’m just going to repeat what you’ve just said. But yeah, my turn to be thrown under the bus, I guess. As I said, yeah. Thanks for watching. And don’t forget to like, follow and subscribe, and we’ll see you next week.

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer