Web Analytics Course Gives Students Edge Above Competition

by Laura Hinckley, Public Relations Writer

This spring, Cedarville University will offer a unique course focused on specialized web analytics. After noting the Web’s emergence as a key marketing medium, Wes Baker, Ph.D., distinguished professor of communications at Cedarville, created the web analytics class in the spring of 2011, making Cedarville one of the first undergraduate institutions to offer a course of its kind.

Web analytics is the study of electronic consumer behavior that involves gathering and interpreting web tracking and usage data. Tracking website metrics helps companies and organizations determine the effectiveness of their websites and adjust them as needed.

In the course, students learn how to analyze web data. According to Baker, the key to analytics is determining whether the website helps both the website owner and the consumer successfully achieve their goals. “It is important that the goal for the website and the goal of the people using the website are consistent so that the website is successful and properly utilized,” said Baker.   

In past courses, students in the class have worked with the University to track metrics of three user groups: high school dual enrollment students, prospective students and parents of prospective students. After spending the semester collecting and analyzing data, the students shared the results and offered suggestions for improvement. This spring, the class will be working with an external nonprofit organization to analyze and improve its website.

Understanding how consumers use websites is crucial to improving an organization’s web presence, making the course relevant for students preparing for a highly competitive job market. According to John Michael Mumme, a recent Cedarville graduate who completed the course last spring, learning web analytics was instrumental in his preparation. “Web analytics is helpful to anyone in a communication-based field because the Internet is, more than ever, the most dominant form of communication today,” he said. “Web analytics takes you behind the scenes of the Internet to see how and why things work.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.