Let’s say your institution is developing a new bioclinical sciences curriculum. Or you’re seeking accreditation in an existing program. How do you start? Who will you work with? Will you be able to get it all done?
Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) found themselves in such a place. “We encountered the same kind of problems everyone else does — tons of spreadsheets and tons of documents. And how to make all of what we had in our heads make sense to the faculty,” says Jacque Harris, Instructional Designer at OTC.
Jacque and her colleague Amy Schneider, also an Instructional Designer at OTC, used CourseTune as a place to start.
Jacque, Amy, and their team started with big goals but an unclear map for getting there. “The grand vision that we shared with our teammates seemed impossible to them,” Jacque recalls, “They didn’t think we could achieve all the goals that we had set forth for ourselves. There were so many obstacles, and we were so busy, and they felt we had exceeded our capacity. But we realized that they really just didn’t see the potential.”
CourseTune helped Jacque and Amy’s team realize that potential. In the process, they discovered ways to move their program design process light-years ahead of where they’d been. They shared three areas where CourseTune helped them save time – Faculty Engagement, Program Development, Strategic Planning. We’ll take a look at each of them.
About OTC and the Center for Academic Innovation.
Located in Springfield, MO, OTC is a public community college. About 12,000 students are enrolled at OTC. The college offers one-year certificates or two-year associate degrees. OTC supplies both online and in-person programs.
Jacque and Amy work in OTC’s Center for Academic Innovation. They work with teams across the institution – from deans to program directors to faculty. They specialize in Agile program development is their specialty. Amy and Jacque are using CourseTune for OTC’s instructional design.
Engaging faculty in instructional design.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the accrediting body for OTC’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) program. NAEYC has a significant standard consisting of seven primary standards with 3-5 sub-standards for each. OTC’s Early Childhood Development program has 18 courses. ECD had to map each course to the standard. The amount of work ECD needed to do this curriculum mapping seemed overwhelming.
Before CourseTune came on the scene, Jacque and Amy’s team spent several months working with the ECD faculty to map the courses. They spent a lot of time working back and forth between spreadsheets and documents. They left for a holiday break without having made much progress.
When they returned, they had CourseTune in place. Things improved rapidly. The team worked with the ECD department to get the curriculum mapping done in time for the courses to roll out in the fall semester. What was the secret? CourseTune’s interface opened the door to collaboration.
“If we didn’t have CourseTune,” Jacque says, “we wouldn’t have space for faculty to take time to share best practices with each other. To talk through how courses relate across the program. To make connections from course-to-course has been a mind-blowing experience for them.”
CourseTune helped the team build a collaboration culture. OTC’s faculty has formed new habits. Any wall to open communication among each other and the instructional design team has come down. CourseTune has helped OTC’s curriculum design process leap forward.
“Without the CourseTune visual interface, we would be stuck. There’s no way we could build this visual for them without CourseTune. It’s saving a ton of time and energy,” says Amy.
Developing new programs for culinary arts.
After seeing the remarkable results from ECD’s curriculum mapping project, other programs sought Jacque and Amy’s team’s help. OTC’s Culinary Arts program approached the team with a big ask. They had a five-day window to develop a new program.
“You are probably laughing because you cannot develop a program in five days,” says Jacque, “But we were willing to sit down with them and explain the process so they could understand it. We also wanted to show them CourseTune so they could see how it works.”
Things clicked into place.
“As soon as they saw CourseTune and we started mapping one course, they figured it out,” recalls Jacque.
The culinary arts team was able to go off on their own and work on developing their curriculum. In fact, they could flip their design around by starting with their objectives and working them backward to build out assessments.
“That gave us a lot of time for a more meaningful evaluation of the objectives,” says Jacque, “So instead of just trying to get them in place, they were really stopping and taking that time to reflect. They went through the process really quickly because of that. We ended up actually developing ten courses in six weeks.”
“They just understood it. [The culinary team] came back, and we put it in CourseTune. We looked at how it connected, and we developed assessments out,” Jacque recalls.
“It’s a million times faster to have subject matter experts who haven’t had to develop objectives and align them to outcomes before having a visual that says. ‘See, this has to connect to something. If it doesn’t connect to something, we either need something for it to connect to, or we need to get rid of it.’ Just having them be able to do that without just trying to convince them. was so much better because they could trust what they see.”
Connecting Strategic Goals to Course Design
“Just like you have course objectives, you have strategic initiatives and institutional goals. You can easily map those. Then you can map them in down to the program and of the course level,” says Jacque.
Doing this work helped them look at OTC’s programs and ask essential questions. “How is this course supporting this institutional goal? How is this course supporting this HLC accreditation? We can also map community involvement. We can map things like employee evaluations and make those much more meaningful and holistic.” Says Jacque.
“We’ve formed really great partnerships with the library to incorporate Information Literacy. It’s one of our strategic initiatives for the college. It’s a critical 21st-century skill,” Jacque explains.
“Often in programming course development, we see faculty try to shoehorn Information Literacy into their courses. By working with our instructional librarians, we can develop an entire Information Literacy program. We can break down those component skills that make up Information Literacy into a teaching and learning program. And then we’re able to take those bits and pieces and place them one assessment at a time into individual courses and programs.”
“The possibilities are really limitless.”
CourseTune has helped Jacque and Amy do remarkable things at OTC. They started with big goals but no clear path on how to reach them. CourseTune was able to open doors with faculty to help them encourage honest communications. It enabled them to work with the culinary arts program on rapid curriculum design. Finally, CourseTune’s beautiful, easy-to-understand visual maps helped OTC move past spreadsheets and complicated strategic planning software to meet strategic initiatives. Amy summarized, “That’s really moving from ‘take this course to jump through a hoop’ to ‘take this course and really learn something that’s going to help you in your other courses.”
One thing is clear for Jacque and Amy. They aren’t done yet.
“Wherever the future takes us, now we know we have a clear path forward, we can see how each of our teams support each other and the college mission,” Jacque concludes.
Are you ready to take your curriculum design process to lightspeed?
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.