75: Online Course Sharing at Schreiner University w/Diana Comuzzie

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Diana Comuzzie, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Schreiner University, joined the podcast to talk about creative ways to improve course availability for students through consortium partnerships.

If you're offering a course that isvery popular and a lot of people are buying, then you can make somenice revenue, some very nice revenue, and that's a very good thing,particularly for small institutions that are trying to find revenue where we can. You'relistening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for highereducation leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you'relooking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've cometo the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollmentgrowth university, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network. I'm Ericleson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr DianaKamuzi, provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Shriner University. Diana,welcome to the show. Hey, eric, it's great to be here. Reallyextended to talk with you today about...

...some creative ways to make a courseavailability better for your students through a consortium partnership. Before we dig into that, Diana, can you give us some background on the Council of Independent Collegesonline course sharing consortium. So see, I see, College of Independent Collegesis working with an organization called college consortium and we have worked with college consortiumfor a two or three years now. We have we started with individual institutionto institution agreements, and so we were delighted to be part of CISC BECAUSECSC connects us to an entire network of similar institutions and it allows us tobegin to try to solve some of our enrollment issues. We are small institution. All small institutions have the problem of having the right courses available to studentsat the right times, and so we got involved with college consortium early onbecause we saw it as a really viable...

...and interesting way to solve some ofthose problems. It is a really interesting solution. Has This consortiation membership changedhow often you feel you need to offer individual courses in order to feel goodabout the academic convenience you're providing your students, knowing that there are alternative options forthem? So it really turns out that it's one of our got optionsfor a student who has a problem and it as a matter of fact,it just happened a couple of times over the Christmas break where we had studentswho athletes who had lost their eligibility and needed to get eligible back again quickly. We also used it to help our students who I put on probation toget back into good standing before the spring semester started. So there were aseries of courses that were short little courses that began, really began in Decemberand ran through about them. We're about done with them. So they haveall kinds of different start and end times,...

...but most of them have ended nowfor this winter break period. And so as I notified students that theywere being put on probation, I also gave them an avenue off of probation, and we feel like this is really important, particularly for helping students whoare trying to talk to their parents about why they should continue at an institutionthat might have higher tuition than a community college or a public institution, togive them a way to talk about. Okay, I got in trouble,but here's how my institution, it is got got my back and how they'rehelping me get out of trouble. It's such a great story, Diana.When you think about the long term possibilities of a model like this, doesthis make you consider the structural possibilities of not offering certain courses at all,perhaps certain jenads that are outside of a degree program you offer? Does ithelp you think? You know long term about what are the degree programs weshould offer and then you know what courses...

...will we do well when we knowthat there are other partner institutions that we can partner with on some of thosethat you know, we don't have a strong focus on. So we haveactually not stopped teaching a course, but what it has allowed us to dois to offer courses a little bit more efficiently. So instead of having torun a course, maybe you have to run a course because you've got asenior who needs it and you can now continue to run it with a lowerenrollment, pulling in enrollment from other institutions. But how we've really used it moreis not teaching our own courses but sending our students out to other coursesand in some cases it helped us explore a new area. We were lookingat criminal justice. We were hearing that students wanted to take it, butwe weren't sure what the demand was, and so this allowed us to enrollsome to offer it to students and see how many of our students enrolled,and that allowed us to begin to feel comfortable. Okay, then we shouldexplore that ourselves. So it really hasn't...

...kept us. We really haven't removedcourses that we teach. It's just allowed us to do it more efficiently.It's a really good test use case. Diana. How does the revenue sharework between the whole institution where the student is enrolled and the institution where theyend up attending the course? So there's a couple of ways to do it. Many institutions simply put all the courses on a website available to their studentsand let the students choose them as they wish. We don't do that.We have one set tuition prize, so whether you take twelve hours or eighteenhours, you pay that one tuition and we wanted to make this as easyfor our students as possible, and so we run all of our enrollments throughour registrar's office. So if a student says, Hey, I want totake a course, they contact, we make available to them. We choosethe courses that we let them see, and so we are choosing which courseswe are in a sense offering to them and then the student contacts of RegistrarsOffice and says I want to take this...

...course and the registrar enrolls them andthen college consortium, the organization that sort of is behind all this, handlesall the billing for us, and so they send the money to the institutionthat's doing the teaching and they bill us and we pay college consortium and thencollege consortium sends the money on to the other institution and then, of course, it works the other direction and for us if we're teaching a course.And so we've just found that to be a very easy system and they're verysupportive. We reach out to them if we have a sudden need for acourse. So if we have a student who says, oh my gosh,I need x course and you're not showing it as an option, will digand we'll find the course for them and then make that available for them.Diana, on campus, had there been any fears of competition from your facultyor other administrators, nervous that you may lose significant revenue to other institutions,or rather, is their potentially excitement that...

...this could be a new revenue drivefor shriner? So this was not our first foray into consortiums. We're partof a consortium here in Texas that delivers synchronous courses to each other, andso the student is sitting in the classroom with other students here at shriner andthen they might be beamed into an instructor who's sitting it, let's say TexasLutheran University, with another set of classes. And so our faculty had already sortof worked through and we started that with language courses. Many small institutionshave a problem with how do I handle I need to teach Spanish, butmy student wants to take Arabic and how do I offer Arabic to them one? I only have one student every force measters who wants to take that.And so we developed this consortium agreement where we where we decided in advance whotaught what, and so our faculty had already sort of worked through that.Is this a threat to us or not? And interestingly enough, once they jumpedinto it they found it's absolutely not a threat. And so when westarted work with Cockransortium, they began to...

...see that as an opportunity and theybegan to see, oh, I teach this course that's in danger of nevermaking if I could make that an online course, then I could get itinto the college consortium and other institutions could buy it. And as a matterof fact, we at shriner developed an entire minor in Texas studies that weoffer an entire minor out, so a whole set of courses, and thatcame from a place of everybody might teach, in this case maybe a Texas history, but they don't teach everything else, natural history of Texas or something likethat. We could offer that out to people and so our faculty beganto see that as an opportunity. It's such a great example dine and ithas my mind racing and potentially other listeners minds racing with the the potentials forthis. Any next steps, advice for other institutions who are hearing this andconsidering a consortium approach like this for their course offerings? Well, I thinkyou've got to figure out what works for you. So certainly there are coursesthat are available through third party providers.

Of A student who needs one courseright now, maybe that's in the middle of the semester or whatever. It'salmost like the old correspondence courses of old and that works great for some situations, but in some situations you don't want a student to necessarily be in acourse all by themselves. You lose engagement, you lose the interaction with other students, you lose the feel of it being a college course, and sothen you move to other kinds of synchronous and a synchronous courses, and sothese two consortia that we are involved in allow us to manage that situation.So, for example, an athlete who's on the road and who's taking acourse needs an asynchronous course because they need to be able to tap into itat night when they're in their hotel room studying. They may not be ableto do the course in a synchronous form with everybody else at nine o'clock inthe morning when they're on the road to...

...somewhere. And so I think thosethree ways to which we can try to help students graduate and for us atshrine or that's what it's really all about. Some institutions are looking at this asan economic model or how can we find an increase revenue, and thenit's important, but for us what we're really focused on is how do wehelp a student graduate and that is a harder financial model to model, butI'm fortunate that I have a chief financial officer who's very supportive of helping studentsgraduate and can look beyond on. You know, what are the mining managingthis many dollars going out in, this many dollars going in, although wedon't do this at a loss, but we don't make a lot of moneyoff of it. Some institutions do. If you're offering a course that isvery popular and a lot of people are buying, then you can make somenice revenue, some very nice revenue, and that's a very good thing,particularly for small institutions that are trying to find revenue where we can. Andso I think for Nextus, for next...

...steps for institutions, is to findwhich kind of thing works for you and if there are court consource, I'mavailable. That will help you manage enrollments. Diana, thanks so much for yourtime today. What is the best place for listeners to connect with youif they have any follow questions? Well, I'm happy to talk to student.I'm happy to talk to state. That's what happened to colleagues also.You can find me by email. If you can spell Kamuzy and then CEOMu Zzie at shriner a s H R e I in Er Dot Eedu,and you can also look for me on Linkedin. Awesome. Thanks against somuch for joining us today, Diana. It's been my pleasure. Good luckeverybody. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helixeducations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the secondedition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty...

...percent brand new content on how institutionscan solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show andItunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Untilnext time,.

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