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How Innovation and Collaboration Unlock the Potential of Course Sharing

A Spotlight on Franklin University, an Acadeum Teaching Institution Partner

In a recent Inside Higher Ed article on the 2022 Top Risks Report from United Educators, enrollment was cited as the biggest risk by colleges and universities for the fourth year. As institutions struggle to meet enrollment goals, course sharing is an opportunity to partner with like-minded institutions to quickly and efficiently expand academic offerings, create new programs and concentrations, and develop pathways to in demand fields with microcredentials. The ability to nimbly respond with these affordable solutions is helping many institutions capture new and retain existing enrollment.

Innovations like course sharing have been instrumental in meeting student needs and helping institutions achieve their strategic goals. Broadly speaking, course sharing offers institutions a low-risk way to help students access the courses they need when they need them while maintaining the integrity of learning outcomes and the student experience. Acadeum enables students and institutions to succeed with a platform and digital network that expands course catalogs, locates just-in-time solutions, and connects like-minded schools and learners to workforce-aligned and market-competitive courses. In addition, consortial course sharing makes for a more seamless student experience that bolsters retention and completion rates and better prepares learners with the skills required to succeed. 

We recently hosted a webinar featuring leaders from Franklin University, an Acadeum teaching partner that has invested in innovative strategies to expand the use of course sharing. Here are a few highlights from the conversation that demonstrates the dedication by our Acadeum Community to student and institutional success through our collaborative network. 

Ensuring Academic Quality 

Franklin University is a student-centered, non-profit, independent institution located in downtown Columbus, OH, that offers high-quality, relevant education for 10,000 students annually. The university provides blended and conventional class formats and offers 66 programs entirely online. Given the range of learning environments offered by the university, academic quality is a primary strategic focus, pursued in several ways. In 2014, Franklin created the International Institute for Innovative Instruction, an interdisciplinary group passionate about removing barriers to education and driven by Franklin’s commitment to helping learners succeed. Today, Franklin uses Quality Matters rubrics for course design and development, employs research from instructional design scholar-practitioners, and recently completed a five-year Title III research grant, leveraging big data for decision-making in inclusive pedagogy, integrated structural learning support, and redesigning all gateway courses. And lastly, Franklin leaders recognize that their students can only succeed with faculty readiness and excellence and, as a result, implement ongoing faculty training that includes development, observation, and feedback. 

Creating a Superior Student Experience 

To create a superior experience for all students taking a course at Franklin, leaders have worked hard on the operational framework behind the academic experience. Justin Busbey, Executive Director of Implementation and Planning at Franklin, says, “It’s important for the student to be successful. So, regardless of the reason they’re taking the course with us, we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to help set them up for success, so they can continue on the path at their Home Institution to achieving their goals.”

Upon enrollment in a course sharing class, students and their home institution receive a Franklin outreach campaign containing key information, logins, and links to the academic catalog and attendance policy. The informative campaign helps students start the semester proactively and eases anxiety to help increase a student’s chance of success. The email campaign approach is based on Franklin’s research, which found that fewer students fall behind, drop, or withdraw when they have a positive enrollment experience and are encouraged to log on during the first week of class.

In addition to tactics aimed at capturing students’ attention immediately, Franklin has developed ways to reduce the operational lift behind the scenes for its staff. For example, Franklin’s leaders worked with Acadeum to automate several steps in the course sharing enrollment life cycle. Using the Acadeum application programming interface (API) integration, Franklin reduced the number of steps involved with each course share student, reducing the administrative workload and allowing more time to help students directly.

Driving Academic Innovation

With some of the more logistical and technological components of course sharing successfully implemented at Franklin, they can now expand on their initial success with course sharing. As Patrick Bennett, Vice President for Academic Quality and Planning and Dean of the School of Education at Franklin, shares in the webinar, “Much of what we are experiencing now is the ‘ad hoc’ because there is an issue for a student. We’re excited that we have the opportunity to partner with other institutions to support students that have an emergent need for a class.  With the success we experienced with these opportunities, we think there is merit in exploring planned focus areas that can increase access and efficiency.”
One way in which Franklin is being more intentional about expanding course sharing is by leveraging the Acadeum network to form partnerships across Ohio and around the world. By doing so, Franklin has also created “Centers of Excellence”– to create intuitive pathways for students at Franklin and other partner colleges in areas such as healthcare, leadership, and cybersecurity education – and the Franklin WORKS Marketplace – which provides Coursera and Medcerts micro-credentials to develop shorter credit and non-credit learning experiences for students.

Patrick Bennet

As exemplified by Franklin University, the partnership mentality behind course sharing posits real benefits for institutions and students alike. Focusing on academic quality, creating a superior student experience, and implementing innovative solutions have allowed Franklin to reach new populations of learners as an Acadeum teaching partner. 

While the enrollment risk for colleges and universities looms, your institution can take steps to mitigate and thrive in this dynamic environment by taking immediate advantage of what is readily available to you with your Acadeum partnership. 

  1. Provide just-in-time solutions for students throughout their academic journey
  2. Create new academic and workforce aligned programs
  3. Deliver micro-credentials & stackable certificates
  4. Reach new populations of traditional and non-traditional learners

Ready to expand the academic capacity at your institution to protect current enrollment and reach new populations? The Acadeum team can provide one-on-one implementation and strategic support, identifying immediate and affordable opportunities to maintain a competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about course sharing?

Download the Academic Leaders’ guide to course sharing.