By Alex Colletta, Associate Marketing Manager, Acadeum
We asked Alex Colletta, a new member of the Acadeum team, to provide his perspective on the top three ways to make the most of course sharing for the coming academic year, based on his recent experience as course-sharing champion at Saint Michael’s College.
I recently joined Acadeum from Saint Michael’s College, a small, residential, liberal arts college in Vermont. There, I was the associate director of academic innovation, focused on running online summer and winter programs, course-sharing consortiums, dual enrollment, and professional certifications.
Now, I work with colleges and universities within the Acadeum network to share their l course-sharing stories with institutions around the world. As someone who once managed day-to-day Acadeum operations at Saint Michael’s, I understand the kinds of conversations required to get course sharing off the ground. I also know the most common concerns: is it worth the investment of time and resources? Will shared online courses replace in-person learning and full-time faculty positions?
In my experience, I’ve seen what course sharing can achieve as an additive for students and institutions, rather than as a replacement. Course sharing is about adding and strengthening department offerings. It’s about applying strategic innovations to make curriculums more relevant and more tapped into student needs, and about opening up new opportunities when challenges arise, so students can stay on track. Course sharing is low risk and doesn’t require a significant budget (in fact, course sharing has been proven to recover revenue and open new revenue streams).
As the fall semester approaches, I want to highlight three common scenarios you can address with course sharing—rather than through more time-intensive or costly alternatives—to bring the most value to your institution.
Scenario #1: You need to find a last-minute course for students.
Every semester, college administrators work to find last-minute solutions to unforeseen curriculum or faculty issues, including course cancellations, faculty medical leave, sabbaticals, and more. Some students realize too late that they’ve missed a requirement and may have to delay their graduation.
Historically, department chairs, deans, registrars, and other admins put in hours of work to find an adjunct who can teach a course at the exact day and time required, or a faculty member willing to teach a small independent study. The process can be an administrative nightmare, taking up critical time and resources.
Course sharing removes the hurdles to solving last-minute curricular challenges. Access to thousands of courses on the Acadeum network (especially those your institution has pre-approved from like-minded schools) means you can seamlessly enroll a single student or an entire class in just a couple of clicks.
Scenario #2: Students are on leave and at risk of not returning to finish their degrees.
Sometimes, extenuating circumstances keep students from being on campus; temporary leaves due to mental/physical health concerns or poor academic performance are particularly common as the COVID era stretches on.
Institutions may encourage students to take courses at a local college so they don’t fall behind, with the hope that the student will eventually transfer back or return from leave of their own volition–but this is a stop-gap solution. Additionally, students taking online courses elsewhere, hoping that credits will transfer, open themselves up to the risk that not all courses may be eligible for credits.
Course sharing through Acadeum offers a convenient alternative that keeps students on track, with the confidence that credits will count towards their degree. Asynchronous online options ensure that courses can be taken flexibly at a student’s own pace. If academic leaders are aware of this option, they can surface course sharing as a solution to vulnerable students when needs arise.
Scenario #3: You’re tasked with updating programs or launching new majors to meet student demand and drive enrollment.
Consider your institution’s current strategic initiatives: Are you looking to attract prospective students by offering new in-demand majors? Are current students asking for highly relevant electives or up-to-date content to strengthen existing programs? Course sharing presents a cost-effective, low-risk way of piloting new courses, or even majors or minors. With thousands of courses available on the Acadeum network, you can build out a program and gauge potential demand before committing to hiring new faculty.
In addition to thousands of for-credit courses, institutions on the Acadeum network have access to a wide range of professional certifications through top industry providers like Coursera, MedCerts, and more. These can be embedded into curricula to create courses that better prepare students for the workforce.
For schools on the Acadeum network, one of the biggest resources available to you is Acadeum’s Partner Success team. Your manager is dedicated to helping your institution understand the mechanics course sharing and can assist in deciphering key data points that reveal intervention opportunities–even building workflows to ease administrative barriers. Beyond simply finding course-level solutions, our experienced Partner Success team members can contribute solutions for a wide range of issues related to enrollment, staffing, program development, and modality preferences.
Please continue to engage with your Partner Success manager on the challenges you may be facing as well as future opportunities. They want to help you succeed!
Not yet a member of Acadeum, but interested in course sharing? Get in touch here.