This week I was asked to give a reference for the Concourse team. I happily obliged!
I then thought the conversation we had would be helpful to share with other users. Below is a brief synopsis of that conversation:
Can you give us a rundown of how you use the system?
Our school currently has about 75 campuses both domestically and internationally. We employ around 1500 full-time and adjunct faculty. As such, one of the biggest challenges for us is consistency and communication. Concourse really helped to fill both of those gaps for us when it came to syllabi. We chose Concourse because it offered the ability to control which fields our instructors could edit allowing for us to ensure the level of consistency necessary to maintain our accreditation. The ease with which a user can navigate the system gave us the ability to employ minimal training which was essential given our large adjunct faculty pool.
What do you like best/least about the system?
To echo my previous statement, what works best for us is the ability to assign multiple levels of permissions within a course as well as the ease of use. However, another great feature is the "Import" feature. This allows for faculty to be able to use items they created within a previous syllabus. That is a big timesaver!
The one thing I would change is that I would like to remove the need for specific dates and times in the schedule creation. This was cumbersome for us because we didn't use the iCal integration. (But as an aside, they are making that enhancement!)
How is their support and response time?
Support and response time are excellent. We have yet to have an issue that required IMMEDIATE assistance, which is a testament in itself to the stability of the system, but whenever we have had questions about functionality or use of the system it has never taken more than 24 hours to get a response (and it is usually within the hour).
How much IT involvement did your implementation involve?
Our school employs a Project Management Office (PMO) which is an arm of IT that acts as a go between for the vendors, IT, and the school or college. Our PMO handled most of the initial conversations. The IT team worked to build the feeds needed for integration with our SIS and also worked to implement LDAP authentication. Beyond that the IT involvement was minimal.
Can you immediately publish syllabi to the internet?
Yes. Concourse provides a link for each syllabus that can be used to publish the syllabus online.
How have your faculty received this tool to date?
Overall the reception of Concourse has been overwhelmingly positive. We are asking them to make several business process changes as a result of our implementation, but those are more training issues on our end. As far as the use of the system is concerned everyone has had nothing but good things to say.
How do you use templates?
We actually have 3 levels of templates. The institutional level houses our institutional polices. The school level is actually just a placeholder. We don't have anything to populate this template yet, but we just built it in for the future. The last level is the course level. This is where we have our catalog description, prerequisites, and outcomes. For us this allows the level of control we need while still giving the instructor the ability to modify the majority of the course syllabus.
How complicated is LTI integration?
We are actually in the process of switching to a new LMS so we have not yet fully utilized LTI integration. However, from everything I have heard and read about it there doesn't seem to be too much involved.
How easy is it for the administration/dean to run reports?
Because the system allows for different levels of permissions you can give access to the administration to log into the system and run reports for the units for which they are responsible. The system has two different types of reports. The "Audit" report shows the number of syllabi at each stage in the audit process. The Item report allows for reports to be run on any item within the system (i.e. contact information, course description, materials, etc). The reports are very easy to access, run, and even export into CSV.
Can there be easy branding/customization?
Concourse allows for branding within the system. We currently have a logo at the top of our syllabus. We also have the ability to feed in the correct school and department from our SIS. All of this allows for the highest level of customization.
How heavy is the workload for administrators?
Most of the system is managed via feeds from the SIS. However there is a little bit of work on the front end - it could be more or less depending on your use of templates. It has, however, been a relatively simple implementation.
Please sign in to leave a comment.