This past year, the Marketing Department hired the consulting firm MMB to help develop and conduct primary field research on branding and visuals for the new Simmons online offerings.
MMB received feedback from 88 students and alumnae who had taken an online course at Simmons, and 426 non-Simmons related individuals who were considering a graduate degree or received one recently. MMB found that when respondents think about an online education, they think of flexibility and convenience. Respondents want a program that is high quality, flexible, and includes virtual classrooms and field learning; however, they indicated they were unsure of how much the experience should cost.
MMB also tested reactions to three names (Simmons Plus, Simmons Open Campus, and Simmons Online) and three logo designs for our new online programs. The winning name and design is Simmons Online, shown here.
While Simmons already has launched a few online programs, the College is developing a comprehensive strategy and effective business model for all online courses in order to create more flexibility for students, enhance the national reach of our programs, and create a new source of revenue for the College. Special Assistant to the President, Suzie Murphy, is currently working with various members of the Simmons community to map out a strategy for Simmons Online. The analysis will consider the current program approval process, internal controls, and metrics to track progress and success across several dimensions, for example: admissions, program contribution, student satisfaction, and faculty satisfaction. Murphy’s goal is to review our current and competitive state, clarify a business model, and align our human and financial resources to enable sustainable growth and positive contribution.