Reducing the mystery of getting started

“How do I get started?”

That is easily the top question we receive, and one that we have been slow to address comprehensively — but consistency and integration of components, clarity of purpose and offerings, and continuing evaluation of the end-user experience will be key.

In the mean time, we have taken a small but (we hope!) useful step toward quickly expressing who we arewhat we do, and how a student can join and learn.

The page is called Getting Started and is linked from our homepage and from the website header. There are a lot of things the page is not — it relies more on text (our favorite!) than visuals, for instance. In creating this page, we focused on being clear, concise, and complete. A couple short video clips are included.

Your feedback is most welcome. Have we succeeded in our goals or are the steps to getting started still too much of a mystery? Leave a comment below or send us a message.

4 thoughts on “Reducing the mystery of getting started

  1. January 22, 2015

    Katelyn Reply

    I like the “Start Here page”. Very informative and makes it easy to understand Saylor and navagate the site.

  2. January 23, 2015

    Arash Reply

    Hi ,
    I ‘m Arash and I want to learn English and speaking very fluent because I would like to continue to university and working about art and
    culture .
    Arash

  3. January 23, 2015

    Constantin Reply

    The way things appear on ‘Getting Started’ is pretty bleak. Ask yourselves: “If I were a student, WHY would I pick this web learning tool – namely Saylor – and not another of the countless ones?…”

    My suggestions:

    1. The “a nonprofit organization, not a school” does not quite give the best first impression. Want it or not, you are a school, albeit not a traditional one. Please, act accordingly.

    2. “non-accredited — we do not grant degrees”. Bad again. Scaring people away. ‘Non-accredited’ does not mean you cannot confer alternatives to traditional degrees… Tell people they get something tangible from you!

    3. “earn course certificates”. Too vague. “Why would I want another certificate?” the student asks. “What does this specific certificate do for me?…”

    4. No mentioning at all of the only offer that sets you apart from similar educational enterprises – the mirroring of the traditional college education through a number of the most important majors!

    Really, saying the page looks insipid is an understatement. I preferred the old homepage. At least there things were clear at a glance, with some nice yet unobtrusive pics representing the learning levels. That’s what attracted me to Saylor from the first place. It wasn’t just another Coursera, edX, you-name-it…

    I also want to add that there is nothing wrong with the forums except the presence of prompt replies from Saylor staff addressing student vital concerns. Please, use your efforts in improving what really begs for it.

    Wishing you all the best.

    • January 29, 2015

      Sean Connor Reply

      These are fair points, and very duly noted. This page is, at best, a band-aid that attempts to respond to the bulk of new-user confusion we encounter (and help to create). With a bit of hesitation, I do agree that this page winds up breaking some things in the course of fixing others — as such, we should regard it as provisional and subject to change or replacement. We will make at least a few changes to the page now in response to your points.

      We are on course to make some pretty big overhauls of our website soon, but this time around there will be time for public comment and discussion and no big instant surprises.

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