Deploying Concourse at Your Institution

Your templates have been designed, your administrative structure is in place, and you have successfully integrated Concourse with your external systems. The next phase of your Concourse implementation is deployment. During this phase, there are three key elements for which time and attention are crucial:

  • Training
  • Quality Assurance
  • Communication

The Syllabus Geeks understand that by this point, time and resources can often be stretched very thin, so with proper planning and realistic timing, training, quality assurance, and communication can be easily integrated into your Concourse timeline. In our experience, if any of these three elements are missing during this phase, it could not only delay your deployment of Concourse, but cause confusion and avoidable errors.

 

Training

Before faculty and staff use Concourse, they will need to know the expectations regarding how they will use the system. It may be obvious to you at this point that of course, faculty will be expected to modify their syllabus in Concourse...however, what does that actually mean?

The various roles and responsibilities associated with Concourse include (but are not limited to):

  • System Administrator
  • Template Manager
  • Auditor
  • Instructor
  • Student

You may already know which individuals at your institution will be assigned to various roles and responsibilities within Concourse. Individuals taking courses at your institutions are students, and their role will primarily be to access their class syllabus in Concourse. If your institution has integrated Concourse with your learning management system (LMS), you may expect your students to access their syllabus through the LMS. Students will surely not need to be trained regarding editing syllabi or feed processing, but they will almost certainly need to know where to go to access the syllabus for each of their classes.

A first step in planning your Concourse training is to understand what you’ll be asking your various users to do in the system. For instance, template managers usually have the responsibility of editing course templates. They will need to know how to edit syllabus items, including copying and pasting information and embedding objects. Administrators, such as department chairs, may be responsible for auditing course templates or instructional syllabi. In that case, they will need to know how the Audit function works within Concourse, as well as best practices regarding the review of syllabi in Concourse.

Below is a list of considerations regarding Concourse training for individuals at your institution:

  • Who will conduct Concourse trainings?
  • What tasks will faculty be expected to perform within Concourse?
  • What tasks will template managers be expected to perform within Concourse?
  • What tasks will administrators be expected to perform within Concourse?
  • Will trainings be conducted in the Concourse sandbox?
  • In what format will trainings be conducted? Online, in-person, etc.?

Training your Concourse users is an essential issue to consider regarding Concourse deployment. The table below illustrates an example of how individuals may be trained to perform the necessary tasks in Concourse to which they will be assigned.

The Concourse Support Center contains a wealth of information to help you with the creation and execution of faculty and staff training!

 

Quality Assurance

Before you begin the process of creating instructional syllabi, you’ll want to be sure that various aspects of your system are working, such as the review and update of course templates, and that integrations and permissions are working properly.

Regarding the review and updates of your course templates, check out our article regarding establishing syllabus readiness. Be sure your reviewers are in agreement regarding what to look for, as well as any established syllabus policies and procedures at your institution. Once you’ve trained the administrators who will be performing the reviews, and the template managers who will be updating the information, these individuals should be ready to access their respective syllabi in Concourse and begin the work of assessing the readiness of each syllabus.  Some things to consider during this step include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What item information has been migrated that will need to be reviewed during this step?
  • Who will be responsible for reviewing the information and making any necessary corrections?
  • If an issue is discovered with data in which another system is the authority (i.e. course descriptions that are housed in your SIS), to whom should this issue be reported?
  • What are the applicable syllabus items (the items that contain the course-specific information)?
  • What information should be checked, and what are examples of common errors or inconsistencies?

It is also imperative to establish that you are able to access Concourse as expected, and that your syllabi look they way you expect them to.  Below is a list of considerations regarding this component of quality assurance:

  • What are the various Concourse access points for faculty, staff, and students?
  • If Concourse is integrated with your LMS, are there multiple access points within your LMS?
  • Does each method of accessing Concourse behave as expected?
  • Are your Concourse syllabus items viewable or not viewable, depending on your item permission structure for faculty, students, public, guests, etc.?

Confirming your syllabi contain all necessary and correct information, as well as ensuring integrations and permissions perform as expected is a critical step in system deployment, and can have very positive effects on the momentum associated with faculty and student adoption of Concourse at your institution.

 

Communication

Communication is extremely important during all phases of your Concourse implementation, and especially during your deployment. Communication among implementation team members is critical; it ensures that issues can be resolved quickly, and roadblocks can be avoided as much as possible.

Consider, however, communication that extends beyond your Concourse implementation team. For instance, how do you plan to communicate to your faculty that they will be required to use Concourse for the construction of their instructional syllabi? How will your students know where to access their course syllabi? For public access to your syllabi, who will update your web site and direct users to search Concourse for the appropriate syllabus?

Other questions to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • When will you inform faculty of the institution’s decision to use Concourse for syllabi?
  • How will syllabus policy changes concerning the use of Concourse be communicated to faculty and staff?
  • What departments will need to be involved regarding Concourse communication (Marketing, Public Relations, Faculty Union, etc.)?
  • How will users know who to go to with Concourse questions?
  • How will you communicate updates and other helpful information to your IT Help Desk?

The following table illustrates an example of how specific information regarding Concourse may be disseminated at your institution.  

While we have emphasized communication as being a key component of your deployment phase, the importance of communication should not be underestimated during other phases of your Concourse implementation. Think about each individual or department involved in your Concourse implementation and deployment, and begin to document the appropriate communication strategies based on each person’s or departments responsibilities. For instance, department chairs may not be editing syllabi, but the personnel assigned to manage templates may report to the department chairs, and will need time for training and updating templates in addition to their “normal” duties. Faculty may not be reviewing syllabi, but they may want to know how their syllabi will be reviewed, and how to submit their syllabi for review via Concourse Audit.  With the proper amount of care given to how and what you will communicate regarding Concourse, you can count on a relatively smooth deployment.  

Upon the conclusion of your Concourse system deployment, you will want to be prepared for the ongoing care and feeding of your system.  Read Maintaining Concourse After Deployment for advice on how to ensure the ongoing success of your Concourse implementation and deployment for years to come!

Do you have a smart tip or lesson learned regarding Concourse deployment?  Please share with us in our Community Forum!



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