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Exploring the relationship between Irish university websites and international student enrolments

Meira de Azevedo, Brenda (2022) Exploring the relationship between Irish university websites and international student enrolments. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Irish Educated Globally Connected is an Irish government internationalisation strategy with the long-term intention to connect Irish-educated learners worldwide. Irish Educated Globally Connected makes Ireland globally competitive and internationalised (, 2020). Ireland's international student population grew significantly by 26.4% between 2016 and 2019 due to this strategy (HEA, 2019). International students in higher education are estimated to contribute directly to an output of €791m to the Irish economy (ibid). The importance of international students goes beyond monetary value too bringing intrinsic opportunities for mutual learning and collaboration among nations. Competing in a global environment exposes Ireland to a highly dynamic competitive environment.

According to Alsharari (2018), many factors influence international student decisions, including university rankings, programme quality, and internationalism. The primary source of information used by prospective students to learn about Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is firstly digital websites and forums and secondly traditional brochures and handbooks (Naidoo and Wu (2016); Sojkin et al., 2012). This finding demonstrates a shift in international consumer behaviour away from traditional brochures and handbooks. Prospective international students research, connect, and explore HEIs first through digital. Therefore, marketing collateral must appeal to the continually changing and tech-savvy global customer. Since Naidoo and Wu’s study (2016), there has been a minimal study on HEIs websites and international student enrolment globally and in Ireland.

Using mono-method qualitative methodology, this dissertation proposes to investigate the relationship between HEI’s websites with international enrolment in Ireland. The research compares three HEI website’s content. The research also compares each HEIs success in enrolling their prospective international students. The Institution’s enrolment success in 2016/2017 is compared to their success of 2020/2021 making two variables, a possible increase or a decrease of intake. Of the three HEIs one Institution is small, one is medium, and one is larger. This dissertation uses the ICTRT framework which has five Dimensions. The five dimensions of ICTRT framework are made of Information, Communication, Transaction, Relationship, and Technical Merit used for assessing website design.

This Dissertation developed 15 themed conceptual maps five for each of the HEIs analysed. The conceptual maps create five illustrated narrative themes throughout the research findings. These themed conceptual maps are titled Study, Service, People, Experience and Location. These themes served as foundations to analyse the research findings. According to the primary research analysis, HEIs in Ireland with high international student enrolment are service- focused. Service-focused HEIs offer assistance to prospective international students, both before and after they arrive in Ireland. However, according to the primary research analysis, HEIs in Ireland with low enrolment of international students are people-focused, which means they do not offer digital services, instead they provide contact information for faculty and staff.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Flores, Miguel
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration > International Migration
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4150 Computer Network Resources > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Website Design
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > Telecommunications > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Website Design
Q Science > QA Mathematics > Computer software > Website Design
T Technology > T Technology (General) > Information Technology > Computer software > Website Design
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in Marketing
Depositing User: Tamara Malone
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2023 15:08
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2023 15:08

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