How Chaminade University & Ashland University Use Coursedog and Colleague TogetherExplore the case study
Student body size
Key Drivers of Purchase
Student body size: ~1,900
Location: Honolulu, HI
SIS: Ellucian Colleague
Key drivers for Coursedog adoption: Looking to replace paper-based processes and streamline curriculum, catalog, and scheduling management with one system.
Student body size: ~8,000
Location: Ashland, OH
SIS: Ellucian Colleague
Key drivers for Coursedog adoption: Looking to evaluate existing class & event scheduling processes and identify areas for improvement alongside digitization.
Manual Processes and Lack of Transparency Plague SIS Users
Both Ashland and Chaminade use Ellucian Colleague as their Student Information System (SIS). Prior to Coursedog, many elements of their academic operations had to be completed via manual processes: spreadsheets, forms, email, etc. As a result, both institutions experienced some problems.
“[Colleague] is a good service, but can be clunky,” said Mark Britton, Registrar at Ashland University. After working with departments to get all the necessary scheduling information the Registrar’s Office, Mark added, “it’s not long before departments say ‘I can’t see our stuff in Colleague.’” While Colleague is excellent for holding this data and serving as a central information system, it’s not designed for end users to collaborate or innovate with their academic operations.
The lack of visibility was an ongoing frustration at both institutions. “We were looking for complete transparency in the process. We wanted everyone to see where everything was and have access to it,” said Jenn Creech, Assistant Vice President for Student Success & Registrar at Chaminade University of Honolulu. As a small university on an island, the Chaminade team has to be strategic and intentional with their scheduling and space utilization to best optimize the resources they have. The lack of visibility into Colleague reports and data posed a major challenge .
Large SISs Require Workarounds to Meet Institutional Needs
All SIS systems, including Colleague, are massive tools that can do a lot, but can’t do everything, nor are they designed for that. A common frustration among institutions is trying to figure out a way to make the SIS work for each institution’s unique processes without taking up too much time to create clunky workarounds in a tool that wasn’t designed for agility.
“We’ve all had the experience of having to hijack our systems somehow to try to make them work and make them fit,” said Mark when speaking about some of his frustrations about trying to make Ashland’s process work with the tools they had prior to Coursedog. Ellucian Colleague is a great tool for so many things, but it doesn’t quite meet all of Ashland’s needs.
Ultimately, the reality is that an SIS is not designed to do every single thing needed at an institution. “Doing these things natively in the SIS is so frustrating - it’s not what the SIS is for,” shared Justin Wenig, co-founder and CEO of Coursedog, in his conversation with Mark and Jenn. While Ellucian Colleague is truly a great tool, it ultimately leaves some gaps in processes that require significant manual work which will always have downstream impacts on administrators and students.
Manual Processes Inhibit Staff Innovation & Student-Centric Processes
The manual processes that these institutions had to do to make Colleague work for them ultimately had negative impacts on administrators and students. For Jenn at Chaminade, she saw issues with both.
When talking about how manual processes affected her team, Jenn said, “When I’m hiring people for my team, I’m not looking for people to process, I'm looking for strategic thinkers and high energy. These manual processes didn’t align with the time of employees I was hiring.” When her team was burdened with this manual work, Jenn wasn’t able to take advantage of the true talents of her team because of the amount of time they spent on basic administrative processes.
Not only does the administrative ability to focus on strategic thinking and innovation bring greater success to the institution as a whole, but it is also one of many other factors that affect student success. The time that these manual processes take combined with their complete lack of transparency can create a lot of issues. “In the past, when we would do the schedule manually, someone would just enter it in and no one would think about it,” said Jenn. When administrators are unable to intentionally build a schedule with students in mind or pull data after each semester and review it, it’s extremely difficult to refine and optimize a schedule for student success.
Coursedog Elevates Institutions’ Ability to Leverage Colleague and Focus on Student Success
Now that Ashland and Chaminade are using Coursedog, they are excited that Colleague is doing what it was made to do, and Coursedog is reducing manual processes and allowing them to optimize for student success.
“[Coursedog] is making what you are doing in your SIS fresher and easier. This sitting on top of your SIS makes a huge difference,” said Mark. While many institutions are frustrated with clunky tools that either need updating or just are too big to replace, Mark sees great opportunities for using Coursedog on top of Colleague in order to more easily modernize their processes without already worrying about how to handle this tool becoming outdated as well: “[Coursedog] is something that changes with us, and that is something that will be so great for many years to come.”
Something Jenn is particularly excited about is solving for the issues of transparency and lack of insightful data: “When we are talking about standardizing things, I would say going to a platform where you are able to pull data to show that there are barriers in place to prohibit student success, Coursedog gave us the platform to be able to talk about that.” Now Colleague can hold all the information it should hold, and Coursedog is the platform where Chaminade can handle all of their academic operations processes and report on them for ongoing innovation and optimization.