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ERIC Number: EJ1134158
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1918-2902
Words Matter: The Impact of "Catchy" vs Conventional Course Titles on Student Interest
Flaherty, Joan; McAdams, Bruce G.; LeBlanc, Joshua E.
Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, v8 n1 Article 4 2017
Anecdotal evidence suggests that post-secondary institutions in Canada and beyond are experimenting with the practice of substituting conventional, discipline-centred course titles with more creatively phrased, learner-centred titles. However, we could find no scholarly research to affirm, challenge or guide this practice. This study represents a preliminary foray into that research. We surveyed 368 business undergraduate and graduate students at a mid-sized Canadian university to address, and explore the implications of, this question: "Does a catchy course title elicit more student interest than its conventional counterpart?" Our findings provide some, but not unqualified, support for the practice of using catchy course titles as a way of attracting student interest. We found the most significant influence on student preference toward conventional or catchy course titles to be year of registration (first year and fourth year students showed the most interest in catchy course titles; graduate students and those registered in second and third year showed a preference for conventional course titles). Implications regarding marketing and pedagogy are discussed, as is the need for further research.
University of Western Ontario and Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Mills Memorial Library Room 504, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A