Searching For Tradition: What Google Searches Reveal About College Trends

What does it mean for distance learning institutions when tech-savvy college students turn more and more towards traditional universities? Recently, searchenginewatch.com released an article revealing a rise in education-related inquiries. While, Search Engine Watch goes in depth about what this means for college marketers, there are important ideas regarding the modern academic as well.

Investigating what searches say about universities. (Photo Source: Danard Vincente http://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/)

Investigating what searches say about universities. (Photo Source: Danard Vincente http://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/)

While the search increase for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is notable, the growth in searches on educational information from traditional universities is far more interesting. Related to this is the rise in geographic searches for schools and the diminishing use of the word “online.”

Campuses: a physical hub for learning. (Photo Source: uvuphotos http://www.flickr.com/photos/uvuphotos/)

Campuses: a physical hub for learning. (Photo Source: uvuphotos http://www.flickr.com/photos/uvuphotos/)

Potential students seem to more actively seek colleges that provide a system of support, hinting at the growing dropout problem perpetuated by issues of unpreparedness and a disconnection from peers.  Students require some degree of interaction to achieve a successful college life, and the search trends reflect this need.

Students are starting to look for learning among peers. (Photo Source: velkr0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velkr0/)

Students are starting to look for learning among peers. (Photo Source: velkr0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velkr0/)

While the debate is still out on the effectiveness of distance learning, we may see a greater degree of interaction between the campus and online components of traditional universities. If the recent search numbers are any indication, students are not just looking for accessibility: they’re looking for community.

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