Monday, 13 May 2013

ScHARR MOOC Diaries: Part IX: Pressing On - Using press packs to spread the MOOC message



A few months into developing and supporting the ScHARR MOOCs, it has become obvious that the task of promoting MOOCs is an onerous one. We had set out early to build a list of who we should be promoting our courses to on a local, national and international level. Even though we have years of experience and expertise in promoting our courses to our traditional and distance learners, MOOCs are very different in that the entrance level from that of a taught or research masters is lower. MOOCs act as tasters for a topic and a course or be ‘lite’ versions designed especially for those who just want to dip in and out of education and development. So the market for promoting them is, well, massive; anyone from school-age to a pensioner can take our MOOCs and that’s where the marketing focus shifts.




The ScHARR MOOC team have their own personal contact groups and resources they can promote the course, but unlike our established courses there is a need to get the message further afield and with that it means more work, repetition and refinement of where that message is channelled. This is where the press pack comes in handy as with promoting a MOOC there is the need for refinement and repetition which amongst all of the content building, support and meetings means that promoting the courses can be neglected. A press pack allows us to share the course in a quick and simple way by covering the basics of the courses in a way that it can be shared by others without any explicit knowledge.


The pack contains these items:


  • Word and PDF one page releases for each of the three courses - their objectives, learning, outcomes, about ScHARR and what a MOOC is, as the purpose of these courses is to reach as far beyond the academic firewalls as possible.
  • Colour posters promoting the three courses, one generic and another focused towards the NHS.
  • The ScHARR MOOC Business Card
  • QR Codes for each course - as with the press releases allowing others to sharealike and help promote the courses within their own organisation.
  • A one page ‘copy and paste’ document for adding into message bodies of emails and other communications, with the intention of saving time in writing a welcome for each mailout.





The automation process is not devoid of a human aspect as the majority of communications via Social Media, discussion forums and emails will still remain bespoke communications. Nevertheless it became obvious for our team early on that promoting the MOOCs to larger, sometimes unfamiliar communities required something more than piecemeal communications that had the potential to lack in uniformity and cohesion. The press packs are not exclusively directed at the students, but also those who champion learning in organisations, communication officers, librarians and teachers to name but a few.

By putting in the work now we potentially save time further down the line and have a consistent flow that matches content on our website and the CourseSites platform.

The press packs can be accessed and downloaded here:

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