Forget nightlife and partying, it seems all students want from their university is advanced digital capabilities
Students are placing more focus on the technological capabilities of a university than ever before when it comes to deciding where to a study, a survey has found.
Findings from Accenture uncovered that 83 percent of prospective students believed that a university’s digital capabilities, such as virtual coursework and online classes, where a key deciding factor when comparing institutions.
In addition, 63 percent of respondents wanted digital tools such as podcasts to play a greater role in learning and content delivery.
“Our research revealed that as universities compete to attract students, digital capabilities are a major draw,” said Ryan Oakes, who leads Accenture’s education practice. “Like successful government programs and businesses, universities need to rise to the challenge of addressing demands for digital services among current and prospective students.”
Overall, the study found that many prospective students looked to the online presence of an institution when making their choice, with university web sites proving to be the most useful source of information, ahead of more traditional open days.
“The online channel is favoured as an information source by students in most of the countries we studied, but we also found significant numbers relying on more traditional sources,” added Oakes.
“Universities must continue to leverage a variety of channels to convey their value and attractiveness to prospective students, while capitalising on the utility of web sites as a showcase for what they offer, including the digital capabilities that many students are looking for.”
The cost of attending university was cited as the most widespread reason not to pursue higher education, with 59 percent of prospective students saying it was a factor – the highest of the five countries surveyed by Accenture.
Earlier this year, the University of East London announced it would be handing out free tablets and eBooks to its newest students in a bid to ensure they are fully equipped for their studies. Around 4,000 UEL students received Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablets pre-loaded with textbooks and links to a range of university resources, which the university hopes will make it easier for students to access university resources, as well as saving them money on buying expensive textbooks which often only last for a semester.
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