How Columbia Business School Upgraded Curriculum Processes to Support Curriculum Innovation and Collaboration

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How Columbia Business School Upgraded Curriculum Processes to Support Curriculum Innovation and Collaboration
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Columbia Business School sought a curriculum tool that streamlines approval processes with automated workflows and provides greater visibility into the curriculum process.

Institutional Overview

Location: New York, NY

SIS: Homegrown

The Challenge: Previous Email-Based Curriculum Management Process Lacked Transparency

Before implementing Coursedog’s curriculum management solution, CBS had a process in place, but it wasn’t as transparent as they would have liked. Additionally, they were still wrestling with some of the drawbacks of a more manual process.

“We had an email-based process that was technically working, but it wasn’t transparent and was kind of clunky. No one really ever knew where a curriculum proposal was in the process.” - Keri Ashkenazy, Associate Director of Teaching Excellence

One of the top priorities for the business school was making all of their processes more visible and understood, a process that the scheduling team had already been working on with Coursedog.

“My colleagues were working on scheduling to make it more efficient and transparent with Coursedog, and we heard about the curriculum tool that would help us on our end to automate and streamline the course approval process as well as make it more visible to everyone involved.”

The outcomes that the scheduling team saw with Coursedog, plus the fact that Coursedog’s integrated platform would mean managing one less tool and one less vendor relationship, inspired the curriculum team to investigate whether Coursedog could work for them as well.

Goals: Implement Streamlined Workflows, Enhance Collaboration, and Leverage Usability Features

The CBS team strove to achieve a streamlined process and more visibility, but they had some specific criteria about how they wanted to accomplish that with their own processes. They wanted a tool that meant they wouldn’t need to nudge anyone throughout the curriculum approval process; the tool would automatically move proposals through a workflow and notify the relevant individuals at the appropriate time.

Next, they knew that they wanted to continue their tradition of collaboration and innovation with curricular updates and approvals, so any new tool they implemented needed to allow for that kind of interaction. According to Keri, “Appropriate individuals needed the ability to give feedback on a new course syllabus without interrupting a flow.”

Finally, the team knew they needed a tool that was user friendly. It would only be an improvement on their process if all the relevant users were both able and willing to use the platform. The people involved in the curriculum process needed to find it intuitive and know how and what they needed to do in order to leave feedback.

Implementation Process: Personalized Training and Support Proved Key to Success

For Keri, the implementation process was a true partnership between her and the Coursedog team. She loved the personalized training and support she received from her implementation project manager, and was excited about getting the customized workflows put together.

“I shared a Word doc with [my project manager], and she helped to create the workflow. We talked through each stage of the workflow about who needs to be involved and any special examples that came up. We even looked at email templates together to adjust them and align them more with our current process to make the adjustment easier for all the end users.”

Not only was the Coursedog team a huge help during the implementation process, Keri was thrilled to discover that it was actually pretty easy to use the platform on her own as well. She quickly learned how to get stuff done in the platform, and was grateful that she wouldn’t need to involve IT on her end or Coursedog’s support team to implement basic changes or updates to the workflows.

“Later on in the implementation process I learned how to add a logic jump to a workflow and realized, not only could I do it myself, but it was pretty easy too!”

As the team is getting closer to their go live date, they are able to really envision how Coursedog will work for them, and how they are getting closer to accomplishing their goals.

Results: CBS Evaluates Curriculum More Holistically and Increases Inclusive Collaboration

Implementing Coursedog allowed CBS to leverage a more streamlined curriculum process and more visibility about the process, but ultimately the goal aims for these improvements to allow the team to better serve students. The prior process was more manual, clunky, and lacked visibility. This meant that it was more difficult to get a large picture of the current curriculum offerings and move any updates through the approval process, issues that ultimately affected students.

“Students are spending money and time for an excellent education here, and if they are taking two classes such as ‘real estate investing’ and ‘real estate finance’ that both teach the same knowledge and skills, that can be frustrating for them.”

Now with Coursedog, they will be able to get a better big picture of their course offerings to see where there are overlaps or gaps. Then they will also have the tools needed to propose and approve of updates and additions to create a more optimized, innovative curriculum for their students.

With Coursedog, CBS now has the tools they need to make those curriculum processes more automated, streamlined, and visible. The positive effects of this change mean they will be able to more effectively review and analyze course offerings, so that they can be confident they are offering a truly excellent education for all of their students.

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