Laurentian’s Use of “Click Bait” Article as Marketing “Embarrassment,” Some Senate Members Say

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The article in question, which ranked Laurentian’s online programs 2nd in Canada, was published by University Magazine in February, weeks after LU declared insolvency.

A few members of the Laurentian University Senate criticize the university administration for using what is called a “click-bait” article on e-learning to promote its programs, with a senator begging them to stop.

The article in question was published by University Magazine on February 17, 2021, just weeks after Laurentian initially declared itself insolvent.

It ranks Laurentian second after Athabasca University under the title “Top Online Universities in Canada 2021”.

The article has a short caption under the section on Laurentian, saying that it is “a medium-sized bilingual public university in Greater Sudbury, Ontario.” One of the best small undergraduate universities in Canada with small classes ensures that you are treated like an individual.

That’s all that was written about Laurentian in the article, which didn’t reveal how she got there.

(University Magazine, by the way, describes itself on its website as “created by a student for students to provide advice on student life, finances, career, majors, ranking, and important news that will have an impact on students ”).

Lexey Burns, editor-in-chief of Lambda, Laurentian’s English-language student newspaper, criticized Laurentian in an editorial in February for promoting the ranking.

Burns said it was already embarrassing to explain Laurentian’s insolvency to friends at other universities, and “when our own president approves a filing report without any research and sharing with the Laurentian community, it doesn’t not help.

Laurentian President Robert Haché referred to the article in his March 2021 report to the Senate.

“Laurentian’s online programs and course offerings have long been recognized as a leader in Ontario,” said Haché’s written report.

“Now University Magazine has ranked Laurentian University among the best universities to study online in Canada.

“Laurentian University is ranked 2nd, ahead of McGill University in 3rd place, and just behind Athabasca University. This result has been achieved through the dedication of many faculty, staff and students who have contributed and, of course, with special recognition from the Laurentian team online for their excellent work.

The subject was raised again at the November 16 meeting of the Laurentian Senate, with Senator Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde questioning Haché about a line in his written report to the Senate this month.

The line in question in Haché’s report is: “Anchored by a strong core of learning and research on campus, we are also a national leader in e-learning – we are expanding across the North. and beyond to provide access to learning opportunities – on time, part time, through full study programs, micro-degrees and lifelong learning. “

Schulte-Hostedde, a behavioral and evolutionary environmentalist and professor at Laurentian, said he realizes Laurentian is “trying to portray a more positive reflection of what’s going on,” but there were a few points in the report. by Haché who “made me think”.

“So you point out here, ‘we are also a national leader in e-learning,’” he said.

“I wonder if you can provide empirical evidence for this claim because I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think we know it’s true.

Haché replied that “I think there is a fair amount of evidence for this,” referring to the aforementioned University magazine article.

Joël Dickinson, Dean of the Faculty of Letters at the LU, also followed up on the question.

She also referred to the University magazine article and added that she is contacted daily by Canadian and international students studying Laurentian’s international programs.

“So I think we have tons of empirical evidence both in rankings, and if you mean anecdotally, from my conversations with many students, future students and parents,” Dickinson said.

“So an anecdote and a click-bait website,” Schulte-Hostedde said. “OKAY.”

Later in the meeting, Dan Scott, Associate Librarian at Laurentian, also raised the controversy over the University magazine article.

“If you look at the website… you will notice that it has absolutely no credibility as an authority on this matter,” Scott said. “And if you look at the article, there is no methodology that is used to determine this ranking.

“And it’s frankly embarrassing for us to rely on that to promote our proficiency in e-learning. I therefore beg the university to stop using this article.


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