Trends in search for universities

Duncan Stephen
Thursday 23 October 2014

Google reveals most searched-for universities

It is important for us to keep an eye on trends across the sector. The digital era is a disruptive one that has changed and even threatened some industries forever: music, journalism, photography. Higher education is not necessarily immune.

Data from Google shows that interest in campus-based universities is declining, while interest in online courses grows.

The top search worldwide is for the University of Phoenix, a US-based, for-profit university, with many online courses and a sometimes controversial record on recruitment.

The University of Phoenix, founded in the 1970s, comes ahead of famous US academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and Columbia…

The top European university is not some ancient institution, but the UK’s distance learning pioneer, the Open University.

It has been developing online courses, including for the US, and is in third place in the Google most-searched rankings.

Other interesting snippets of information emphasise the changes that are taking place.

  • Coursera ranks higher than all UK campus universities, wither other mooc providers also ranking highly.
  • 40% of searches for UK universities come from outside the UK.

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