Deploying new technology at your university or college is never a small feat. For anyone who has implemented a system on campus, they know that 9 times out of 10 the success of the project has nothing to do with the technology itself. Rather, it is the people, processes, and organizational inertia.
Since Concourse also often requires school-wide participation and cooperation, in this article we will look at all of the different people who may be involved in a Concourse implementation and what role they play.
Further, the degree to which each of these folks will make decisions and contribute is largely dependent on three factors: existing syllabus management practices, template sophistication, and anticipated ramp-up speed.
Your Provost will probably give the green light on the project and provide the academic motivation and executive decision making required to bring it to fruition. While you are working to implement Concourse the Provost's office may be able to provide guidance on how they would like Concourse to support existing or future processes and policies. This will drive what they expect syllabi to contain, how permissions should be set, and a timeline for milestones. They may even have a direct role in defining content within the system, namely institutional policies. Therefore, as you work through the process of creating templates, keep in mind that the Provost's office will probably need to be included.
2. Deans of Schools or Colleges
We all understand that Deans are the gatekeepers to the academic integrity of their particular school or college. Deans know details about their schools such as the accreditation standards for their programs, what is required of faculty, and their timeline. As you work to adopt Concourse it is important to include the Deans in your conversation. Their insight is valuable not only from an administrative perspective, but from an academic one as well. The Deans will be able to assist you in your conversations about what should be included on a syllabus as well the creation of any templates you may choose to use or helping you to understand the role Learning Outcomes play in each course. Including the Deans in your initial conversations about Concourse can also help to get the buy-in of the instructors as well.
3. Information Technology Department
While this may seem somewhat obvious, it is just as important to include your Information Technology department. There are several different features of Concourse which will require the technical know-how of your IT department. This will mostly have to do with SIS (via feeds) and LMS (via LTI) integration. Additionally, while Concourse is a fully hosted solution, IT will likely want to understand how Concourse is operationally supported, secure, and backed up. Having IT on your side will bode well as you move through the Concourse implementation.
Now that you have the initial information lined up through the inclusion of both the Provost and Dean, and you have all of the technical pieces in place, its time to get to those people that actually use the system on a regular basis. This begins with instructors. It may be easy to leave out instructors until the end of your implementation, but be careful not to let this happen. Instructors can sometimes be the best tool in figuring out how the system is going to be function in your particular school. Oftentimes faculty, because they have so much experience creating syllabi already, have a definite opinion, and one that should be heard. It may also be beneficial to have your faculty testing the system as you go along and provide you with regular feedback. This type of interaction is what will lead to a much more successful implementation.
The final group of people that you should involve when implementing Concourse is students. Similar to faculty, their perspective may often be overlooked, but could prove immensely valuable. It is entirely likely that students will be the ones using Concourse most often. They may check it several times a week to make sure they are completing the correct assignment, or to see if they need to stay up and study! Be sure to include students in the implementation process and ensure that their voice is heard.
Depending on the goals of your implementation, there are a number of other people worth thinking about and including in the planning and deployment of Concourse. These include:
- Curriculum committees for template guidance and approval workflow;
- Instructional designers for building out syllabi and creating a seamless experience in the learning environment;
- Faculty developers for instructor training and support;
- Institutional researchers for data aggregation and analysis; and
- Assessment coordinators for accreditation reporting requirements.
Every one of these people have strategic insight that will help you shape and mold your Concourse solution. Plus at the end of the day they will likely be some of its best power users.