As we move into planning for the next school year, K-12 districts and schools are looking for tools to map out their curriculum. We recently sat down with David Long at the Galloway School to discuss why his school switched to CourseTune to help meet their curriculum planning goals. Here are the top ten items he shared with us.
1. The engaging user interface opens eyes to possibilities
It’s one thing for software to have the functionality you need to do the work. It’s another for the software interface to be beautiful and visually engaging.
David tells us how CourseTune’s patented visual user interface helped drive adoption for Galloway, “For us, the CourseTune user interface is so much better than what we were using before. It’s much more engaging and just more inviting for the faculty and us.”
2. Learning Management System Integration simplifies the edtech ecosystem
These days, a school’s Learning Management System (LMS) is often the system that holds everything together. From course materials to formative assessments to grade books, you’ll usually find them in your LMS. So having a curriculum mapping tool app that integrated with their LMS was critical for Galloway.
David tells it this way, “Essential for the high school was the integration with Canvas. Initially, the integration piqued our curiosity. We found the Canvas integration was perfect for our high school teachers.”
3. Data Loading service that makes life easier
Many curriculum mapping software solutions seem promising, but how do you get your curriculum data into the application? CourseTune won’t leave you with an empty app and a ton of hard work. We take the data loading out of your hands.
For Galloway School, that was a difference-maker.
“You all take the information, and you’re willing to load it in for us, ” says David, “Now, that was a massive bonus for us because we are going to ask faculty to edit and do that work. But as you all at CourseTune said, you can give it to us on a Cocktail Napkin, or a PDF, or a Google Doc. You were able to make it work. Again that was tremendous for us.”
4. Hands-on support means you’re not alone
In today’s SaaS and App world, you often purchase a solution and find yourself with nothing but a general FAQ or a chatbot that only has some of the answers. CourseTune comes with full support. Our goal is to help you achieve excellent student outcomes.
“That support and you’ve been hands-on, whether it’s our training sessions or having you all come to the PD days, I thought was amazing!” David says, “The weekly meetings, the biweekly meetings, and then a lot of the little videos and information you were able to get us to when we were asking questions like, ‘How do you write a learning objective? How do we use Blooms? How do you write a course objective?’ So all that kind of information was super helpful for us, as we were trying to explain it to our faculty. ”
David continues, “straightforward as hands-on, as anyone that we’ve worked with, and it’s not just the, I thought you all would be more the technical side, you know how to do technical training, but you’ve been good at teaching us how to, think about how to write a map. And so that’s been helpful. We feel like we are your only client, which is kind of cool.”
5. Single Sign-on makes faculty lives easier
No one loves managing a bunch of user ids and passwords. Having to memorize another ID can be a dealbreaker for faculty to adopt a new product—CourseTune’s single-sign-on to the rescue (cue trumpet music).
“The single sign-on is great. The more you can ease the way for faculty to log in, the easier it is. On the admin side in the backend, it’s effortless for us to control single sign-in. For us, that’s huge,” shares David.
6. Owning the curriculum map increases security
With some software products, you may not own the output. At the very least, with some SaaS products, what happens with the work product when you part ways can be hazy. While we hope you’ll love working with us forever, we take the guesswork out of it. With CourseTune, you own your curriculum map.
“I’ve told other schools I’ve talked to that with CourseTune, we own the curriculum.” David says, “So if we want to download it and someone’s leaving, and we want to keep it, we can. With other tools, we used we didn’t own it. They held that curriculum and owned it. The fact that we own our CourseTune curriculum was a big piece for us and helped us decide to make the change.”
7. CourseTune is built for and uses continuous improvement to be more effective
Have you ever bought a software solution, thought of a great new feature that would make it even better, and not known how to suggest it or even if the company would listen? We don’t like that either. Just as your curriculum map is changing and improving, we believe CourseTune should do the same. That’s why we’re always listening to what our customers say.
David talks a bit more about his experience. “I’ve come to realize that I appreciate that you all continue to innovate and update as you go. And so we know that when you come out with these updates of changes, you’re listening to your clients. You’re trying to make a difference. With us being a K-12 school, you’ve been receptive to ideas we’ve shared. That’s been so helpful for us.”
8. Multiple ways to look at the curriculum brings new perspectives and discussions to light
Spreadsheets are great for accounting or planning the office potluck (remember those?), but they fall short for curriculum mapping. We know other tools exist, but they don’t have the beautiful, patented visualization of CourseTune. Being able to show your team different views of your curriculum can be a game-changer.
“Our faculty appreciate the different curriculum views they have,” says David, “They can use the circular view, which many of them like, but some like the linear view. And so, giving people multiple pathways to view the material has been beneficial for us as a school.”
9. Easy-to-use software for teachers to focus on teaching
Have you ever gathered your team to work with an application, and the conversation focuses on getting the software to work, not on the task at hand? With CourseTune, we’ve built an application that is easy to use. When software quirks are out of the way, real collaboration happens.
Here are David’s thoughts:
“Everybody’s able to understand CourseTune easily. It’s allowed faculty to have some terrific conversations about what they teach. Now they can see what they teach in a much more visual way. It was interesting in our training; faculty hadn’t thought about how to write a learning objective,” David continues, “And so going through that process helped them flush out what they do, which is the purpose of why we did this.”
10. Flexibility to meet each different department’s needs
Being able to adapt CourseTune to how they work was another factor for the Galloway school. With CourseTune, David could set things up in a way that worked well for different departments.
“I like that we could craft CourseTune the way we want to,” says David, “So I’ve created separate areas for departments. We created an area for early learning too. Just being able to be flexible – that was huge!”
Why great software is more than a tool
Good software solves real-world problems. The best software helps guide your team toward the next steps and improvement. For David Long and that Galloway School, the pathway forward is becoming apparent.
Here’s David to wrap things up:
“I would say that’s the big before and after. Before we had CourseTune, we thought we knew what we were teaching. Now we know. The next fun piece is asking ourselves, ‘Is this what we should be teaching? Where are the gaps? Now we have a better understanding of what we’re actually teaching as a school. And it’s very easily accessible for us to be able to do that.”
Are you ready to create your top-10 list?
CourseTune delivers one place to design, manage, and plan your curriculum. Our unique, patented, visual curriculum maps equip you with a common platform. One that helps faculty, staff, and leadership focus on the big picture while revealing how learning objectives, competencies, and standards impact student outcomes. CourseTune supplies you with the communication and workflow tools that promote collaboration and unlock innovation across your institution.
Set up some time for a demo or discussion. Or click the help button on the lower-left, and chat with us.