"Curriculum, catalog, scheduling & events management were previously done by hand at DBU... we thought we were looking for 3 products and we found one product that did them all. All of the products work together... and it's interconnected & exciting."
Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is a Christian liberal arts university located in the foothills of southwest Dallas. It was founded in the late 1800s and was the first junior college in Texas before becoming a four-year university in 1965. Today the institution offers degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and continues to further its mission to “produce servant leaders who will transform the world.”
We sat down with two key institutional contacts working on implementing Coursedog, DBU’s CIO, Dr. Matt Winn, and DBU’s Scheduling and Curriculum System Administrator, Kali Williams, to better understand the decision making process, implementation experience, and the results they have seen thus far across campus.
Prior to Coursedog, DBU managed their Academic Operations manually. Event scheduling and curriculum and catalog management were managed by separate people and departments, and were paper based and labor intensive as well as not connected to each other. Room scheduling was owned by an individual administrator who had overseen the process for over 27 years. While excellent at what she did, she was nearing retirement and the university realized that they would need to act quickly in order to facilitate a smooth transition of knowledge to avoid disruptions to both administrators and students.
DBU took this as an opportunity to digitize their Academic Operations to distribute ownership, reduce manual data entry, and save valuable staff time that could be reallocated to high-impact initiatives.
Around 2018 DBU opened up separate RFPs in order to help support their growing need to digitize their scheduling and curricular operations. Despite initially looking for separate tools, the introduction to Coursedog’s Academic Operations Platform, containing integrated academic and event scheduling, course demand and projections, curriculum, catalog, and campus form solutions through a single, bi-directional SIS integration with Colleague, made Coursedog an easy choice.
“[Coursedog] was able to accomplish multiple things that we needed and really in a meaningful way. Events don’t get scheduled in rooms where there are classes and vice versa, classes don’t get scheduled that aren’t approved through a curriculum committee...It helps to make sure that the things that we’re doing are accurate across the university.” Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
The DBU team also cited Coursedog’s flexible interface as a large influence on their decision to procure the software. Like many colleges and universities, DBU has many institution-specific approaches to academic operations, making Coursedog’s no code customization appealing.
“DBU has also had a history of doing things in a very unique way...and so we needed a company that was willing to be flexible with us and work with our unique situations and still work. We were finding that with some of the more established companies there were going to be some significant barriers.” Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
DBU has also acted as a design partner to Coursedog, enabling them to help drive the development of new features that could be leveraged by DBU and other institutions, which they viewed as an “enormous benefit.”
Coursedog’s dedicated customer success team collaborated closely with cross-functional DBU team members in order to effectively implement Coursedog across campus. When reflecting on the implementation experience Kali shared:
“The main thing that sticks out to me [about the implementation] is how responsive the team is. Even if I was working after hours or on the weekend, and I sent them an email, [the team] was responding right back to me. For me, the best thing is that they are very responsive. They followed up on what they said they were going to do, and if they couldn’t do what we asked they already had a workaround in place.” Kali Williams, Scheduling and Curriculum System Administrator
One priority for DBU throughout the implementation was ensuring that they were offering the courses and sections students would need to graduate by leveraging Coursedog features.
"We have a limited number of classrooms and we wanted to be able to see what was the most effective use of those classrooms and the most effective offering of sections as well based on historical enrollment and future needs. So that not only were we assigning them the right classroom, but we are also working towards offering the right sections that would benefit the university and the students the most." Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
The Coursedog implementation touched numerous teams at DBU, replacing historical scheduling and curriculum management processes. For some teams, like scheduling, the introduction of Coursedog was viewed by end users as the digitizing and streamlining of their historical processes. For others, like event scheduling, it was an opportunity for DBU to evaluate their legacy approach and make best practice changes to the way they had been doing things for years. In these scenarios, Coursedog’s customized end user guides were particularly helpful in supporting change management.
Coursedog has enabled the DBU team to save administrators' time across their academic operations.
“We’ve saved months of work. There’s a huge impact on people’s time.” Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
Kali added, “For scheduling that’s coming from the room optimization. [Assigning rooms] now takes three days when we really get down to it, which used to take six weeks to do.” The DBU team also noted that the ability for end users to view available rooms for events directly, rather than email people to request availability, has shortened the event request and approval process substantially.
As a result of implementing an integrated Academic Operations Platform DBU has also noted that communication silos have been broken down across campus, and that human error has been reduced.
"One of the things it’s done for us that we’ve never had is a master calendar for the university. That’s been wonderful...We have less room conflicts, double bookings of events, things like that. More campus wide communication around what events are taking place, and when, and where...the quality of our data is much tighter now because the system doesn't allow for as many mistakes to happen.” Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
One of the more notable outcomes of the implementation was the relationship established between the DBU and Coursedog teams.
“[We have a] Strong, strong partnership. The fact that the CEO is willing to fly down to Dallas to have lunch with us and see how things are going and be personally responsive [has been great]. Some of the development of the product has been directly related to our needs and our input which was helpful.” Dr. Matt Winn, DBU CIO.
Both Coursedog and DBU are looking forward to continuing to unlock additional value for the university across time by collaborating on innovating DBU’s academic operations.
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