Comunicazione digitale e public engagement. Nuovi approcci strategici per le istituzioni universitarie (Digital communication and public engagement. New strategic approaches for university institutions

  • Vittoria Marino
  • Letizia Lo Presti
Keywords: public engagement; Higher education; website; digital communication


Purpose of the paper: The main aim of this paper is to investigate online public engagement and the modalities by which Universities may make visible this strategic approach on their websites.

Methodology: This paper adopts an exploratory factor analysis to investigate online public engagement.

Finally, an independent sample t-test highlights differences in the online public engagement approaches adopted by the sample Universities.

Findings: The results of this analysis show that the University public engagement construct in online environment is explained by three factors. Moreover, American and English universities adopts two different online public engagement approaches.

Research limits: The analysis was conducted on a limited sample of UK and US University websites. Moreover, the results show that “Student engagement” and “public access to knowledge” indicators are worthy of further investigation.

Practical implications: The identification of the main online public engagement factors in Higher education context offers to the Universities the opportunity to handle coherently their website content, especially that of the homepage. In addition, the research offers interesting insights in order to evaluate which online public engagement strategy the University Institutions could adopt according to their targeted and defined positioning.

Originality of the paper: This paper is the first attempt of investigation of public engagement through the web in the Higher education environment. This paper uses techniques of quantitative methodology in order to highlight different strategic orientations and practical implications.


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