University systems can be complicated places. You’ll often find many geographically distant campuses, colleges, and departments — all with their unique processes for designing curriculum. You may even find different personnel types working on the curriculum – professors in some departments, professional staff in others. This complexity can create silos that stifle collaboration and wall-off innovation. A university system loses scalability when each campus, college, or department is a curriculum world unto itself.
The University of Missouri System faced the challenge of scaling initiatives across their four campuses. They sought a common curriculum design platform to use across their system to shift toward a learner-centric culture. Their goal was to build a collaborative community around curriculum design. They wanted something that would help their various campuses, colleges, and departments work better together without sacrificing their individuality. They needed a tool that could help them capture what was working well in one part of the system and scale it system-wide.
That’s where CourseTune comes in.
CourseTune’s gorgeous visual curriculum maps uncover the strategy behind course design. It supplies the flexibility to allow universities to support changes in standards and accreditation requirements. Faculty and staff can use CourseTune to build a connection to anytime, anywhere learning and discover skill-gaps or missing measures. CourseTune accomplishes all of this through a beautifully designed interface that serves as a common platform to foster communication, empower innovation, and nurture curriculum design collaboration.
Laying the Foundation for Curriculum Design Collaboration
The University of Missouri System is currently using CourseTune to drive innovation and collaboration. In a talk at Coursetune Camp 2020, Danna Wren, Senior Director of Academic Technology, and Jonathan Cisco, Associate Director for the Teaching for Learning Center, spoke about some of the strategies they’ve been applying to drive CourseTune adoption throughout the UM System.
They have aimed to drive genuine collaboration among campuses, colleges, departments, and programs. To put things into perspective, The University of Missouri System has about 70,000 students distributed across four campuses with 6,000 faculty and researchers and more than 17,000 staff. To encourage CourseTune adoption, Danna and Jonathan have developed specific approaches to reach the UM System’s right people.
Building Relationships and CourseTune Champions
Jonathan begins by finding a program with a unique case where CourseTune would be a good fit. Typically, these are programs that have accreditation reviews in the next one to two years. Within that program, he’ll look for an ally or champion who would be receptive to discussing curriculum design. From there, he holds an informal first meeting that he’s dubbed “Coffee and CourseTune.” In this session, Jonathan and his newfound ally discuss the program’s learning objectives in “plainspeak.”
Coffee and CourseTune’s informality allows the conversation to move past jargon and arrive at the nitty-gritty of what the program is trying to achieve. Jonathan and his CourseTune champion consult all program stakeholders, which could vary widely across different colleges or departments within the system. They also talk about any obstacles the program is facing.
All of this culminates in a low stakes faculty demo of CourseTune. At the demonstration, Jonathan notes that the visual nature of CourseTune “sells itself so easily.”
What makes this process successful is that Jonathan always puts the needs of the program first. It’s not as much about software as it is about bringing the program’s goals to fruition. Sometimes they may discover that the program, department, or college isn’t quite ready for CourseTune. When they look under the program’s hood, they may notice missing learning objectives or orphan assessments floating in the curriculum. That’s OK because Jonathan encourages these programs to focus on the fundamentals. CourseTune can be a second step. What’s more, Jonathan has laid a foundation of trust and collaboration with these programs that will only grow further once they are ready to begin using CourseTune.
Using Innovation To Generate Value For Students And Stakeholders
Danna points out another way that the UM System is using CourseTune as a tool to innovate. Her team is working with a project to replace the traditional student transcript, which often doesn’t display what a student learned, with a “Comprehensive Learner Record.” CourseTune will contribute data to this extended transcript about course and program objectives, which will allow students to present particular skills and knowledge learned in courses as part of their transcript.
The University of Missouri at St. Louis is working on a curriculum alignment program to tie in more closely to strategic initiatives at other UM System campuses. This program has produced a rapid migration of student learning objectives into CourseTune. The Center for Teaching and Learning’s efforts also dovetail nicely with the initiative. In all, the program has helped UMSL better decide the frequency and sequence of courses. Now, students have more opportunities to take the required courses. In some cases, it’s decreased a student’s time to graduate.
With the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the UM System has used CourseTune to figure out the best ways to deliver instruction across their curriculum. Whether in a traditional classroom, hybrid, or entirely online, CourseTune has helped them find the way. As a result, they can better serve their students and swing more gracefully between hybrid and online.
For the University of Missouri System, Coursetune Is More Than A Tool
CourseTune and the drive toward collaboration have helped the UM System scale programs quickly. Danna’s team has helped programs achieve rapid instructional design and development. The result is a learner-centered curriculum alignment through CourseTune. These activities have helped the USML campus, and the entire UM System makes its programs available to larger numbers of students. The collaboration and innovation brought about by CourseTune have resulted in more scalable programs that have become a marketing differentiator for the UM System!
In all, the UM System has positioned its CourseTune implementation to aid collaboration and innovation-sharing across the System naturally. The key is Danna and Jonathan see CourseTune as a tool to facilitate change and not as a new system edict from on high. And they’re continuing to move forward. Their latest initiative is to map out their curriculum in co-enrollment programs between community colleges and the University of Missouri System.
Watch More of the UM System Story
Coursetune, Inc. was thrilled to welcome Danna and Jonathan to CourseTune Camp 2020. You can watch their presentation and learn more about some of the ways they’ve used CourseTune across the University of Missouri System.
Additionally, Linda Lair, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Therapy, and Diane Weaver, COO, and co-founder of Coursetune, Inc. recently presented at UM’s 2020 Celebration of Teaching event. You can watch their presentation to learn how the UM System uses CourseTune for course mapping.
CourseTune Can Help You Inspire Innovation and Collaboration
CourseTune delivers one place to design, manage, and plan your curriculum. Our unique visual curriculum maps equip you with a common platform to help faculty, staff, and leadership focus on the big picture while revealing how learning objectives, competencies, and accreditation criteria impact student outcomes. CourseTune supplies you with the communication and workflow tools that promote collaboration and unlock innovation across your institution.