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Predictions from Your Reading Trends - "Guest" Blog by Dr. Kerri White

February 16, 2018 10:13 AM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

As your Newsletter Writer and Digital Content Manager, I have a unique perspective on trends in continuing higher education – your trends, that is – and I think your reading trends over the past year may even give me a little insight into where 2018 may take continuing higher education.

I get the privilege of reading the daily news, blogs, and reviews of scholarly articles in higher education.  In doing so, I’ve noticed a few things about what seems to get “ink space” in the mainline higher education periodicals, and topics related to continuing higher education are definitely among them.  Some of the topics of interest to continuing higher education professionals are even evident in general news sources from around the world. 

But what makes a news story (or more likely, a news headline) one that interests the ACHE membership?  As a mathematician, I’m fascinated by the analytics I get to see about how many clicks each link gets in the weekly ACHE News You Can Use, and as a researcher, I’m fascinated by the themes I’ve noticed emerging over time.  Let’s explore a few trends!

The most clicked link in the last year, “The Twelve Most Innovative Colleges for Adult Learners,” hits two of the top topics during the same time frame: innovation and adult students.  A similarly popular headline, “4 Ways Universities Can Better Engage Nontraditional Students,” hits another couple of hot topics: engagement and nontraditional students.  But I noticed something else about these two very popular headlines, they both have lists (one identifies 12 colleges and the other identifies 4 methods).  Therefore, I’m going to share with you my lists.

The 5 Most Clicked News Topics (of the last twelve months in ACHE News You Can Use newsletters):

  • Online learning
  • Alternative credentials
  • Adult students
  • Nontraditional students
  • Multiple (or alternative or nontraditional) pathways

Other frequently clicked topics are evident in this word cloud I created based on my qualitative analysis of news themes.

The Seven Most Clicked News Stories (of the last twelve months in ACHE News You Can Use newsletters):

I’ve also noticed some recent changes in these trends.  For example, two of the most frequently clicked headlines recently relate to prior learning assessments/credit for prior learning, but several months ago, these types of stories were not grabbing the attention of many in our organization.

My Predictions from Your Trends

So what do I think I have learned by reviewing these analytics?

  • Well for one, in “True Confessions of Kerri White,” I’m hopeful the longer I’ve been in this role that this ongoing review has helped me get better at spotting the information that helps you do you work.
  • Secondly, I’ve learned that we are a diverse membership.  For every highly clicked story, there are other topics that are consistently clicked by a steady few.  So don’t worry, if the topics identified above aren’t the ones that get you excited about receiving your Tuesday Newsletter, I won’t stop including stories on those other topics (or geographic locations) that aren’t as popular but seem to be meeting someone’s needs.
  • Thirdly, the times are changing.  As more of you are getting interested in prior learning or microcredentialing, for example, you’re not alone.  These stories are becoming more popular in mainline higher education periodicals and blogs as well.  It’ll be really interesting to see when some of these emerging best practices enter general newsprint.
  • Finally, I think 2018 is going to include a lot of innovation of new approaches to attracting, supporting, retaining, and graduating adult and nontraditional students. 

Several of the most popular stories over the last year have featured colleges, universities, and programs whose leaders and instructors are members of ACHE; therefore, I anticipate that ACHE members will lead the way in exploring new possibilities as well as scaling up promising practices in 2018. 

I’ll continue to “study” your habits of reading while you continue to study the best ways to improve your practice in support of our students.  Thank you for the opportunity to learn from you!  

Kerri K. White, Ed.D.
ACHE Newsletter Writer and Digital Content Manager
University of Oklahoma Outreach

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