Academic Bulletin at UGA gets “Grand Gold Award”
A bit more than 3 years ago I wrote that “visiting an online academic catalog is something Dante might reserve for his deepest Inforno Dwellers.” That’s still true today. And also still true: academic bulletins can work reasonably well if you set out to make it easy for people, especially current and potential students, to learn about the academic programs that most interest them.
Just as in 2017, the University of Georgia continues to set a standard worthy of my personal “Grand Gold Award.”
The opening design tells you right away that the people who designed this want to make it as easy as possible for people to use it. No mission statement. No paragraphs about how UGA greatness. Just 3 easy-to-scan introductions to how to complete key tasks:
- Explore Majors
- Search Courses
- Compare Majors
Dive deep into the details…
If you elect to “compare majors” (let’s say for “advertising” and “marketing” and “communication studies”) you’ll get a response that includes a (1) complete array of courses in each area, (2) links to course descriptions, and (3) a list of the professors who each each course with links to a syllabus.
Of course, once inside the bulletin some of the usual challenges of any academic catalog appear. The writing style is anything but “web friendly.” Language is most often of the “students will” variety rather than “you will.” Paragraphs are overly long. The details of how to complete a major will take careful study. Not every syllabus is up-to-date.
The marketing impact of “Compare Majors”…
Traditional deficiencies aside, marketing strength lurks here.
The higher the level of interest in a particular major, the more a potential student will seek to learn about that major when visiting the website of a university of interest. UGA makes that task easier than most for highly interested students who want as much detail as possible about their journey to a degree before starting down the pathway.
When during a recruitment cycle to direct people to the bulletin? For students who are interested in similar majors with different degree requirements, the “Compare Majors” is the strongest feature here. When that referral is best made for each person will vary. That’s a special something for admissions folk to pay attent to in personal exchanges by email, text, or phone.
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For an unusually easy introduction to an online academic bulletin, visit “Welcome to the 2020-2021 UGA Bulletin.”
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