Encouraging providers to open their course to receive applications as soon as possible

When a provider adds a course in Publish teacher training courses (Publish), we ask them when they would like applications to open for the course as part of the ‘Add course’ flow.

They can choose from either:

  • ‘As soon as the course is on Find – recommended’
  • ‘Another date’

If the user selects ‘As soon as the course is on Find – recommended’ we display the ‘Apply for this course’ button on Find postgraduate teacher training (Find) around a week after Find opens at the beginning of October.

If they select ‘Another date’ they can manually input the date and the course would not have an ‘Apply for this course’ button until the date they had chosen.

In the last recruitment cycle (2022 to 2023), we noticed that some providers had chosen to open their courses later than our recommended, ‘As soon as the course is on Find’ and some of the dates looked unusual, for example, dates in January and February.

We contacted 215 Publish users to ask them to confirm if the applications open date they’d chosen was correct. Most of the users had misunderstood the question and asked us to open the course for applications as soon as possible instead.

What we changed

We added content to encourage users to open the course as soon as possible and included a link to an advice page explaining how recruitment cycles work.

Screenshot of applications open date question
Applications open date question

Further considerations

We need to assess the user need for this interaction and consider removing it. Only a small number of providers are choosing to open courses on a different date and, from the ones that have, most misinterpreted the question.

This is problematic as the provider could be missing out on applications for a course that is closed due to them misunderstanding the question.

Additionally, scheduling courses for publication on Find, opening and closing courses, and deciding when applications should open needs more design thinking holistically.