Maintaining Concourse After Deployment

You’ve successfully deployed Concourse on your campus, and everyone is using your new syllabus system. Congratulations! Have you given much thought to what comes next?  We have! The following are considerations for the final phase of your Concourse implementation: Maintenance.  

 

Create an Ongoing Timeline for the Management of Syllabi for Each Term

Since you plan to continue to create syllabi for many terms to come, it is important to consider the following to ensure the transition from one term to the next is as smooth as possible:

  • At what point during the term should the syllabi for the upcoming term be created?
  • How often will you run feeds, and do you plan to automate this process?
  • How will you handle drops and deletions?
  • When and how often do you anticipate templates will be updated and reviewed?
  • How will an entirely new course offering be created in Concourse?
  • How will late added courses be created in Concourse?
  • Are there established timelines regarding when new courses are created and run?
  • How will canceled courses be handled in Concourse?

Many institutions offer courses that run with sections of varied titles that cover different content each term. For these courses, the following should be considered:

  • For these types of courses, what will be the process for determining naming conventions for these syllabi?
  • Which course description (and any other section-specific information) will be present on each syllabus?

The table below illustrates some examples of tasks and resolutions associated with ongoing Concourse syllabus management. While this table does not contain an exhaustive list of tasks, you should be able to use the provided information to get you started.

 

Plan for Training of and Changes to Personnel


The success of Concourse depends on the individuals involved in the system’s maintenance after deployment. The Syllabus Geeks have seen many institutions fall short when it comes to planning for training and personnel changes...so to be sure this doesn’t happen to you, consider the following:

  • Who is the Concourse system owner?
  • Who is the “backup” Concourse system owner?
  • What is your process for replacing a system administrator, should the need arise?  
  • Who will be responsible for documenting and maintaining policies and procedures regarding Concourse?
  • How will continuing training be handled?
  • How will changes in personnel, particularly system administrators, template managers, and auditors be handled?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring the new hires are trained?

The table below illustrates some examples of tasks and resolutions associated with training and changes to personnel.  While this table does not contain an exhaustive list of tasks, you should be able to use the provided information to get you started.

 

Consider How Upgrades to Other Systems Will Affect Concourse

The Syllabus Geeks understand that most institutions utilize more systems than just Concourse, and that upgrades or continuing maintenance to those systems may affect Concourse. This is especially true if Concourse has been integrated with an institution’s learning management system or student information system. The following considerations are important to ensure the ongoing ease of use and accessibility of Concourse:

  • How will upgrades to existing campus information systems (SIS, LMS, etc.) be handled as they relate to Concourse?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring any upgrades to existing systems will impact the integration with Concourse?
  • How will you ensure the testing is completed?
  • How will you validate information in Concourse once testing has been completed?

The table below illustrates some examples of tasks and resolutions associated with integrated system upgrades.  While this table does not contain an exhaustive list of tasks, you should be able to use the provided information to get you started.

 

Recognize the Unsung Heroes at Your Institution: The IT Help Desk

The individuals answering phone calls from customers seeking help with technical issues will almost certainly encounter a customer (student, staff, faculty member, etc.) with a question about Concourse. These individuals may be the first interaction a customer has with your institution, and you want to be sure they are armed and ready with answers to constituents’ questions. For this reason, it is important to consider the following:

  • Who will answer student, staff, and faculty questions about Concourse?
  • How will students, staff, faculty, public, etc. know who to contact with questions about Concourse?
  • How will you determine which questions are appropriate for an IT help desk, versus which questions are appropriate for a Concourse system administrator or instructional designer?, versus which issues will be escalated to the Concourse Support Center?
  • Who will communicate changes in Concourse (system upgrades, modifications to syllabi, additional access points, etc) to the Help desk personnel?

The table below illustrates some examples of tasks and resolutions associated with the IT Help Desk. While this table does not contain an exhaustive list of tasks, you should be able to use the provided information to get you started.

 

Plan for Expansion

When a single area of an institution implements Concourse for their faculty, staff, and students, the long-term plans for Concourse usually involve an expansion to the entire institution. The Syllabus Geeks have worked with several institutions who have begun their Concourse implementations in this fashion. If this sounds like you, it is important to keep the following issues in mind for a smooth transition from your department to other departments, or the entire institution:

  • If your entire institution has not adopted Concourse (i.e. a single department or program is using Concourse), is it foreseeable to expand to other programs or perhaps the entire institution?
  • If this expansion occurs, who will be responsible for administering the system?
  • How should your institutional template be designed?
  • How will you create additional course templates?
  • Will additional personnel be needed for the expansion, and if so, how will they be trained?
  • What is your desired timeline for implementation and deployment of this expanded use of Concourse?

The table below illustrates some examples of tasks and resolutions associated with integrated system upgrades.  While this table does not contain an exhaustive list of tasks, you should be able to use the provided information to get you started.

Do you have suggestions for additional information, advice, or best practices regarding Concourse system maintenance?  Head over to our Community Forum and share your thoughts!

 

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