John Carroll Empowers Administrators With Integrated Academic Operations

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John Carroll Empowers Administrators With Integrated Academic Operations
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John Carroll University initially sought to build academic schedules, process last-minute changes more quickly, and replace manual, spreadsheet-based work. Coursedog’s integrated platform was then brought on to reduce individual point solutions and streamline processes.

Institutional Overview

Location: University Heights, OH

SIS: Ellucian Banner

The Challenge: Manual Processes Created Burdensome, Challenging Processes to Create the Schedule & Manage the Catalog

In 2018, administrators in JCU’s Registrar’s Office were looking for a better way to execute academic schedules. Burdened by spreadsheets, disparate documents, and email ping-pong, the team found it difficult and time-consuming to get the schedule out each semester. 

The team set off to find a solution that would help them eliminate duplicate work and manage last-minute change requests more efficiently. 

“For scheduling, we were looking for technology to replace Excel spreadsheets and duplicate work between the departments and the Registrar’s Office in an effort to shorten the time to create the schedule each semester and reduce the number of last minute schedule changes.” Gabriela Wanless, Assistant Registrar for Catalog and Scheduling

All the while, digitizing the course catalog remained a priority for the JCU team.  The team quickly realized multiple point solutions to cover these connected operational processes were insufficient for JCU. 

“The more third party solutions you bring on and integrate with, the higher the security risks you’re opening yourself up to. These processes also remain disparate when using different tools to execute them.” 

The Solution: Adopt a User-Friendly Tool That Integrates Multiple Academic Processes

The JCU team sought an integrated solution that was easy-to-use, as a user-friendly tool would be essential to drive adoption across campus.

“We needed something that multiple users (and levels of technological ability) could use. When we saw the first Coursedog demo, it looked extremely user friendly.”

In 2018, Coursedog’s product suite was primarily focused on integrated section and room scheduling. At the time, the JCU team decided to partner with Coursedog for academic scheduling to meet their needs and help them improve their scheduling processes. 

“We were looking for a system that could meet us where we were, help us improve, and take into consideration how we were doing things at JCU.”

As JCU successfully implemented Coursedog’s academic scheduling solution, the Coursedog platform continued to develop into an integrated academic operations solution – covering everything from academic & campus event scheduling, curriculum management, and online catalogs. 

Two lightning-fast years later, JCU’s renewal date for the scheduling solution came around. The JCU team was prepared to once again optimize their processes and reduce the number of third party solutions they were working with. 

After a thorough search and process, JCU selected Coursedog to partner with them, integrate their academic operations, and bring together academic & event scheduling, curriculum, and catalog solutions. 

“The more recent purchases of Catalog, Curriculum, and Events were to upgrade the technology we have, improve security by reducing the number of companies we use for software products, and streamline our processes.”

Gabriela and the team in the Registrar’s Office connected with each stakeholder group on campus to ensure everyone had the opportunity to review, question, and investigate the proposed solution. 

“The university has a thorough process when it comes to purchasing software. In the case of Coursedog, the Registrar’s Office, Provost’s Office, IT Department, Office of Legal Affairs, and the Finance Office were all involved. Additionally, when we decided to purchase the Events component, the Director of Instructional Technology and the Director of Auxiliary Services were also involved.”  

Implementation Process: Collaboration Dedicated Support, and Customized Training Ensured Smooth Adoption

Coursedog’s dedicated customer success team collaborated closely with the JCU team during the implementation of the academic scheduling solution, and continues to do so with the implementation of their curriculum, catalog, and event solutions. 

“Since the beginning, the relationship with the people at Coursedog has been one of mutual understanding and respect. Our sense of urgency, concern, interest, and desire to learn is matched by those at Coursedog. Additionally, when we need Coursedog personnel to be patient, they do so without question. The response to a problem is, many times, more important than the problem itself. Our contacts at Coursedog know how to respond quickly.” 

Each implementation project is managed by a Coursedog project manager and data engineer in close collaboration with relevant campus stakeholders. Post go-live, JCU received a named customer success manager to help the team adopt the functionality and innovate their processes. 

“There were times during the last two and a half years where Coursedog made me feel like JCU was their only customer. That type of focus on customer satisfaction is greatly appreciated.”

As the Assistant Registrar for Catalog and Scheduling, Gabriela works closely with the academic departments and is responsible for course and section information, class scheduling, course information in the catalog, and academic classroom allocation. 

Gabriela then took on the role of JCU’s onsite academic scheduling trainer. She took a customized approach and decided to create a unique training scenario for each of the departments based on their needs. For one department, she sat down and ran through their schedule step-by-step. For another, she simply passed only a user guide and was available for questions. This allowed for each scheduler to learn in their own style and transition to a new tool more comfortably. 

Results: The Registrar’s Office Spends More Time on Strategic Activities Thanks to Time Savings and Reduced Data Entry Requirements

Through academic scheduling with Coursedog, the JCU team has been able to:

  • Focus on enhancing other processes of the Registrar’s Office 
  • Reduce duplicated data entry and save time
  • Alleviate stress for  those involved with class scheduling.

With their curriculum, catalog, event implementation projects in progress, the JCU team is looking forward to spending less time on labor intensive processes and using the saved time to focus on strategic initiatives on campus.

When asked, “What would you miss most if Coursedog disappeared tomorrow?”, Gabriela responded:

“The people at Coursedog. There are other companies that have similar products but right from our first encounter with Coursedog personnel, we felt the genuineness of the staff and have seen their desire to continually innovate.” 

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