Athabasca University's advertising and media buying Request for Proposals was released on-line, providing a rare insight into how universities and open universities in particular, see themselves and their students. Based on my experience as a recent AU graduate, the analysis seems accurate. The female skew was particularly pronounced for the MEd, and the students were a little older as this was a graduate program. Reading other student's profiles, I wondered if to fit in I had to acquire a husband, two children, a dog and an alpine sport. ;-)
"Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University has issued an advertising and media buying RFP. The school is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level studies and to increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide. They are committed to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship and to being of service to the general public.
Athabasca University (AU or University) has been a leader in distance and online learning since its inception in 1970. Today, the University serves 40,000 students throughout Alberta, across Canada and in 80 countries around the world. With a focus on liberal arts, science and professional education, the University offers more than 850 courses in nearly 80 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and undergraduate and graduate certificate and diploma programs.
The University’s online and distance approach to university learning makes it possible for people to take courses and earn degrees regardless of their location or their family, career or community commitments. Individualized study courses may incorporate both print materials, e-texts and a variety of multimedia tools, allowing students to learn when and where they choose and at their own pace.
Athabasca University is a full member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the International Council of Open and Distance Education, the Canadian Association of Distance Education, and the Canadian Association for Graduate studies. Athabasca University was also the first and just one of two Canadian universities accredited with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the United States. In 2006, it became the first public post-secondary institution to be fully authorized to operate in both Alberta and British Columbia.
Media Advertising Target Audience
- National campaign with a primary market of Alberta, secondary markets of Ontario and British Columbia, and tertiary markets throughout the rest of Canada.
- Primary: Individuals currently in the workforce who are looking to expand their educational options; this segment of the population would benefit from being able to fit studies within their existing busy schedules. The goal: increase program enrolments.
- Secondary: Individuals currently enrolled in post-secondary studies elsewhere who are looking to take certain transferable courses offered by Athabasca University (i.e.: visiting students). The goal: maintain number of course enrolments.
- Prospective students, female skew; ages 25-34.
- Indigenous, rural and northern population (with the goal of increasing program enrolments).
- This does not limit the target audience, only provides a general guideline for existing targets within Canada."