Let's imagine if a college or university did not employ any technology as part of its curricular change process. When faculty and administrators wanted to modify courses, they would have to manually fill out forms as part of the proposal, review, and approval stages. Stakeholders, including accreditors, would also struggle to see connections between programs, outcomes, and courses as these paper-based processes were anything but transparent.
Streamlining these processes and making them more visible to stakeholders are the key goals of higher education curriculum management software. Rather than relying on paper forms, these systems automate curriculum management redevelopment and maintenance.
Here, we’ll talk about four of the key benefits of higher education curriculum management software and why it is such an effective tool for colleges and universities.
All colleges and universities have many departments, if not many colleges within the larger institutional system. Without a curriculum management system, each department or college may have its own process or timeframe for making curricular changes. These changes may affect other departments, majors, or colleges, and without a single platform for all stakeholders, approval processes could be slow.
In contrast, a curriculum management system ensures each college and department adopts similar processes and timeframes. At the same time, users can view only the proposals they need to approve or modify, streamlining time-to-completion for curriculum processes.
Some colleges and universities are still using old-fashioned digital, or even manual, forms to make curricular changes. Both types of these forms can be lost and require manual data entry, which, essentially doubles the completion timeline.
Removing this need for manual entry is one of the biggest time-savers of a curriculum management system: faculty and staff fill out forms only once. They can even modify one another’s proposals without filling out new forms.
“Paper-based processes are slowing organizations down, and businesses that can effectively manage the analog to digital transformation will be more successful in today’s changing marketplace. By switching from a manual approval process to an automated paperless workflow, organizations may easily reduce the total time it takes to process an invoice by 60 to 70 percent, thus allowing them to concentrate investments on their core business initiatives,” writes Joshua Conway in “Statewide Curriculum Management System.”
One of the biggest stumbling blocks colleges and universities without curriculum management systems face is the far-reaching effects of curricular changes. For instance, if a course that is a pre-requisite for five other courses changes one of its outcomes, is the course still a reasonable pre-requisite for those courses? So, a curriculum management system simplifies curriculum mapping.
At the same time, it can help colleges and universities track dependencies and pre-requisites that may bog down scheduling or time-to-degree completion.
Another curriculum mapping element that can be more ambiguous without curriculum management software are course and program outcomes. When faculty and staff intend to make curricular changes, they need to determine if their changes remain in alignment with outcomes or if these outcomes also need modifications. So, curriculum management software helps stakeholders stay more connected to outcomes as they are modifying curricula.
Colleges and universities are tightly connected to secondary schools and other colleges and universities. This is particularly true for community colleges with transfer agreements with nearby institutions.
However, paper-based systems are not visible for stakeholders outside of the college or university. Curriculum management software, on the other hand, makes it easier for other institutions to be able to create longer-term educational outcomes and goals. In turn, accreditors can more easily connect the dots between outcomes, courses, and programs.
Leeward Community College in Oahu used Kuali Curriculum Management Software to improve their curriculum modification processes. Not only did the system help them link to the University of Hawaii to improve outcome alignment, but they were also able to identify “hidden” course prerequisites and dependencies. Faculty and staff can also create and modify proposals more efficiently, saving them time and hassles.
Kuali stands out from similar higher education curriculum management systems because of our personalized approach. We work with colleges and universities to integrate with current systems, design workflow processes, and solve problems. For instance, we used the feedback Leeward provided to improve our software and provide them with an improved product year after year.