The 4 Components of an Integrated Academic Operations Platform
Academic operations encompasses all of the processes and policies that enable institutions to deliver educational programs. Learn how integrating processes such as catalog management, the curriculum change process, course scheduling, and more can benefit your institution.
If you’re an astute Registrar, CIO, Provost etc, and are concerned with curriculum development, you may have been exposed to four different types of software solutions in the schedule & curriculum planning space. However, institutions can combine all of these needs into a singular integrated academic operations platform. Learn about the different aspects of academic operations and the benefits of managing them all in one platform.
Curriculum & Catalog Software
Curriculum & catalog software which helps automate the process of proposing new courses & programs and then publishing them to the online course catalog. These tools have been around since the early 2000s and about 35% of universities in the United States have some kind of online catalog solution, so they don’t need to manually build the catalog in a PDF. The key benefits are improved data integrity, saved time and a better brand to display to prospective & current students through the catalog.
Room Scheduling & Event Software
Room scheduling & event software helps with the process of optimizing your physical resources (campus space). AACRAO Research suggests about 50% of institutions have a solution to manage these processes. These tools are mainly used to eliminate room double bookings, improve space utilization, and save time.
Section Scheduling Software
Section scheduling software enables universities to manage the decentralized process of requesting section offerings. For example, a university might want to have certain policies, such as time blocks or a primetime rule, that prohibit individual department schedulers from requesting space at any time they would like. These tools are often used to eliminate errors and to ensure that space is available when sending data into a room scheduling or optimization solution. It can also make life much easier for department schedulers that may be wasting hundreds of hours scheduling on paper forms or excel spreadsheets. Most importantly, it can also be used to create and enforce section relationships that ensure courses are offered at times that facilitate persistence and completion, especially for community colleges where pathways and course sequences are common.
Schedule & Curriculum Analytics Software
Traditionally, a university will essentially guess what the demand for sections may look like. Likewise, they might not have a strong sense of what degree programs should be expanded, and which ones should be contracted. Many universities have built in-house solutions that connect to their degree audit solutions and historical enrollment trends to try to project demand, but this can often become much more complex. When assessing demand, at minimum, a university has to consider student demand, labor market trends & competitor saturation.
Why Integrated Academic Operations?
A single source of truth for your data ensures you always have up-to-date information and don’t have inaccuracies. One of the biggest problems with disparate solutions that talk to your SIS is that integrations don’t always work, leading to the potential for data to be out of sync across platforms and creating potentially devastating errors during student registration. Choosing one product also helps save time by integrating with your disparate data sources (SIS, Degree Audit etc.), and enables a faster project go-live, as users only have one platform to learn.
Lastly, by choosing one vendor, you can leverage cross-product reporting. For example, your reporting dashboard can not just look at courses offered in XYZ program, you can see what courses in XYZ program are growing in popularity and which are decreasing in popularity. This type of cross-product reporting is only possible with an integrated academic operations solution.