Starter Guide Worksheet

The worksheet below can help you systematically work through each of the questions in this market matching starter guide.

You can also download or create a copy of the Google Docs version of this worksheet, to make the process even more collaborative.


Faculty, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and learning technologists are key to success of high quality online course design and delivery.
Who are the stellar faculty or SMEs that can commit to produce high quality courses within programs?
Who are your instructional designers and instructional support staff?
Who are your marketing and communications experts?
Who are your technical team members? Learner analysts? Dashboard creators? Troubleshooters?
Who are the curriculum writers, digital pedagogy experts, and education technology planners?
Look for unique courses and programs that offer value in the world and can sustain themselves.
What niche, uniquely valuable, or universally popular courses does your institution offer? Do any of your programs or courses have an edge?
How can you compete with other similar programs? What is your edge?
Do you have accreditation that potential learners will see as credible?
What are the full costs to offer each of your courses and programs?
Which platform will be used to deliver the course?
Which courses will be fully online? Which ones will be hybrid?
Technology is vital when it supports valuable course content and programming; but the technology itself should not be the product offering.
Does your institution have appropriate technology for offering fully online courses (LMS, A/V equipment and software, captioning services, remote proctoring, etc.)?
Are your learning spaces hyflex enabled?
Are non-academic (support) offices like registrar, regulatory and accreditation, examination center, attendance, and student engagement attuned to digital pedagogy? Are they ready to go paperless by use of SAP or other Data Management Systems? Are these offices competent to collate data and rely on data-driven dashboards to take decisions? In short, are all departments in the institution equipped with data science skills?
HIDDEN ASSETS Hidden assets can be the difference maker. What other assets does your institution possess that could be valuable for building online course content?
The learner is the most important aspect of education, and all other aspects should consider learner needs and interests first.
Who are your potential learners?
How many learners in your region are interested in your portfolio and within your reach?
Are there subsets of learners that have a special interest in engaging in your institution?
Are your learners interested more in academic credits or in professional training?
A robust understanding of the market will improve efficiency in program development and delivery.
How much are people willing to pay for your offerings?
What employment opportunities are available for learners who complete your program(s)?
Who else is offering similar courses and programs in this market and at what price?
Life-long learning is fast becoming a basic necessity. How do we keep our alumni engaged with us throughout their lives?
Do not underestimate the power of identity and brand. Many potential students prioritize brand before anything else.
What aspects of your institution’s identity and brand are particularly unique or valuable?
How can you leverage your brand and identity using the assets you identified?
Experiential aspects of our entire value chain will impact the competitive advantage of our brand. How do we design our services around student satisfaction?
Even the most effective program is doomed if it is misaligned with institutional priorities.
What are your institutional priorities that relate to online education?
How do these institutional priorities connect to market needs?
Pulling all the relevant assets together into a single, well-defined portfolio is effective and efficient.
What set of people, courses, technology, and other assets would best meet learner needs, match the current or future market, and leverage your institutional identity, brand, and priorities?
What is the future like? If AI were to be used to grade assessments, what new pedagogical / technical skills will be needed in teachers? In students? In administrators?
Will demands on gamification , UI/UX increase? If yes, then how will this impact our course portfolio?
If a large part of industry shifts to use of robots and automation, then how do employability of learners change?
If a large part of society starts heavy consumption of entertainment products (5D fantasy games, etc.), how will that impact the design of curriculum and contents?


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Market Matching for Online Higher Education Programs Copyright © by Hoda Mostafa, Priya Mary Mathew, TJ Bliss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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