As Director of Curriculum Development and Innovation at Heidelberg University, I led the implementation of course sharing in Fall 2019 and I’m excited to say that it has exceeded our expectations. We’re using course sharing in a variety of ways, and it’s making a real impact on our community.
During the June CIC webinar, I shared how Heidelberg University supports student progress through course sharing, and how we’ve developed creative solutions to drive enrollments and revenue. Here’s a summary of what we covered:
Since Heidelberg started sharing and accessing courses on the CIC network, we’ve:
- Enrolled 153 students in online courses
- Retained 27 students by offering approved partner courses
- Helped 15 students to walk at graduation this spring (registered in a required course this summer).
- Tripled our enrollment for summer courses. By generating new revenue as a teaching institution (offering empty seats in courses to partner schools), we were able to reduce the price of our summer courses, incentivizing more students to enroll.
Here are a few areas where we’ve used course sharing to overcome hurdles:
Keep First-Year Students on Track: Course sharing has become a key strategy to help us maintain our “Four-Year-Graduation Guarantee”. If a student fails a course in their first year of school, students may have to wait another year to get back on track, based on how our courses are sequenced. By taking a partner course online through Acadeum, those students can catch up and remain enrolled. Additionally, these courses count as “in-residence” at Heidelberg, helping students meet Heidelberg’s requirements for graduation.
Navigate Course Scheduling Challenges: When I think of a Heidelberg student, I think about students who want to do it all – imagine a football player in a lab coat playing the piano. This ethos is part of what attracts students to Heidelberg, but it’s not always easy to manage course schedules for students with such varied academic pursuits. Course sharing has allowed us to open up flexibility in the scheduling process so students can find the courses they need when they need them, all while ensuring courses meet our academic standards. This summer, I have a senior who is a musical theatre/pre-med double major—she’s taking two required science courses she couldn’t take during the year.
Find Creative Solutions to Graduate Students On-Time: We’ve used course sharing to help students fulfill one or two of those credits they need to graduate. Sometimes students get all the way to the end of the road and find they’re missing a Spanish class or GenEd credit. We allow them to walk as long as they’re registered for a course.
In general, as a best practice, we work with faculty to pre-approve a large number of courses (400+) in advance that are only offered once a year—we know students will ask for them.
For the future, we’re considering ways we can be even more proactive with course sharing. Beyond catching up and eligibility, how can we leverage CIC institution courses to make some distinctive curricular decisions to serve our students? We’re looking forward to exploring opportunities to develop new curriculums with our partners.
For institutions considering course sharing, here are some tips from my colleague, Heidelberg University Provost, Bryan Smith
Getting Started with Course Sharing:
- Get faculty buy-in. Clearly communicate your plan and explain what problems you’re looking to solve. Show how course sharing drives enrollment in their classes, brings new revenue to the college, helps retain students, and keeps them on track to graduation.
- Appoint a point of contact as your resident expert, to guide academic advisors, faculty, and students when questions come up.
- For everything else, talk to the Acadeum team! Acadeum’s mission is to make course sharing simpler for everyone. Working with them will get you up and running faster.