By Meagan Word, Director of Student Academic Progress, Angelo State University
When I started as the director of student academic progress at Angelo State University (ASU) in October 2021, our campus hadn’t yet discovered the power of course sharing. Last fall, only about four students took advantage of course sharing. That changed in a big way beginning with the winter term.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little attention to make a huge impact. In the last eight months, with my attention focused squarely on student progress, I’ve seen firsthand how course sharing offers a creative solution to many of our students’ needs. This semester the number of students using course sharing jumped to 200; those are 200 students that ASU would have lost without course sharing. I’ve helped:
- Active-duty military students stay on track to graduate when the demands of their service make it challenging to take on-campus courses
- Scholar-athletes who need help meeting eligibility requirements
- Faculty members take a short-term sabbatical by enrolling our students in an equivalent Acadeum course.
In a recent Acadeum webinar, I shared some of the student stories that have turned into course sharing wins for Angelo State and our students and faculty. Here are a few of the key takeaways:
Course sharing supports both students and faculty.
Course sharing solves a broad range of common student challenges by helping students:
- Recover from a poor grade
- Move faster through their degree
- Graduate on time (or early!)
- Fulfill prerequisites that aren’t offered frequently
- Maintain eligibility for scholarships or athletics
Course sharing also helps faculty. Course sharing doesn’t replace anything on campus; instead, it’s a tool to help faculty and faculty advisors support students. Course sharing:
- Provides flexibility for professors to take sabbatical
- Offers an alternative to independent study or special topics courses
Fill gaps that can arise due to faculty retirements, sabbatical, or challenges recruiting qualified faculty
When you’re ready to get started, there are easy ways to maximize the impact of course sharing
- Build a catalog of approved courses using transfer equivalency guides. This can be done within a week, and you can make sure the courses are up to your standards using the syllabi that are available on the Acadeum Course Share platform
- Make use of eight-week courses (especially during the summer) to replace poor grades and keep students on track. It’s easy to set up simple methods to keep track of different cohorts of students that would benefit from retaking a course on the network to replace a grade or maintain eligibility.
- Use the advisor recommendation tool to push out recommendations to advisors, deans, department chairs, and peer mentors. You can do this in advance for entire groups of students or on-demand when an advisor needs a specific course.
- Create dedicated sections of courses for your students at other institutions. This goes hand-in-hand with supporting faculty. If an instructor needs a term off, but the students need to fulfill a prerequisite, you can set up a whole section of a course with another institution. Everyone wins.
Building a course sharing toolkit is essential
- Make sure that course sharing is not a secret on campus. The strongest course sharing programs make student, faculty, and advisor communication a priority. The more people who know about it, the more it will help your school and students succeed.
- Rely on Acadeum’s Partner Success Team to help with any heavy lifting. From finding strategies that align with the specific needs on your campus to building out your course catalog, they are there to help course sharing succeed at your institution.
- Think through common scenarios where course sharing could be helpful to student and advisors and develop templates and processes to make interventions faster and easier for everyone involved.
- Join the Acadeum Community to keep the conversation going and continue building your program. The discussion groups, digital resources, events, and peer support are invaluable.
To learn more about any of these topics, check out the full webinar here.