North Idaho College

Location

Coeur d'Alene, ID

Classification

2-year community college

Students

Undergrad: 6,347

Faculty

Full-time: 156 | Part-time: 257

Why Concourse

Concourse simplifies the task of creating, sharing, and auditing syllabi. The college can ensure consistency by standardizing syllabi and still allow instructors plenty of customization to make their syllabi unique. As a fully hosted solution, Concourse removes much of the burden of managing and maintaining a syllabus system. Most importantly easy access to syllabi benefits everyone in the academic community.

“The fastest and most effective way to provide as many services as possible in the short window of the time…was to offload syllabi to the new Concourse system…eLearning and IT have provided North Idaho College with an authenticated, standardized syllabus creation and archival solution, and they did so in less than 30 days.” These comments came directly from a report that explores the loss of Syllabus Builder, Faculty Finder, and the status of the current syllabus creation application, Concourse, an Intellidemia product, written by Jay A. Lee, vice president of instruction at North Idaho College.

The Backstory

Long serving as a pillar of education in its community, North Idaho College (NIC) has a broad spectrum of training and education opportunities, ranging from associate’s degrees to certificate programs and workforce training courses. NIC has experienced successive record breaking enrollment; this growth has helped the school refocus on the faculty and student experience. Marketing and consistency drove administrative decision makers to develop customized campus tools to attract and retain students and enhance the college experience.

Syllabi Avant-Garde

NIC was an early pioneer; it was one of the first colleges to develop a syllabus building application in-house. In the early 90s, NIC created an electronic repository for saving and storing syllabi. The repository was the efficient way to get syllabi in one place; however, NIC still faced the problem of consistency and lacked an efficient collection process.

What started out as a student project in 1998 soon became a campus wide syllabus solution and repository replacement. The “Syllabus Builder” was introduced in 2000 and based on a master syllabus philosophy which would allow NIC to standardize syllabi and provide unprecedented access. The Syllabus Builder granted faculty the ability to upload syllabi to a central repository while the management and upgrades to the syllabus server were handed over to and maintained by the college’s marketing department.

The Syllabus Builder was a step in the right direction but did not offer the versatility and flexibility to truly make the functional and financial improvement NIC had hoped. Built on an old platform the Syllabus Builder became unusable. Further, faculty adoption was a challenge as was the cost of manpower and infrastructure necessary to maintain it. NIC stayed the course for many years and as the server that hosted the Syllabus Builder was nearing the end of life, the school sought a new and more sustainable solution.

The Strategy

NIC made convenience, standardization, and access to courses their top three priorities. NIC developed a set of standards that the new syllabus tool must meet. The checklist included:

  • Public access for current and prospective students including transfer matriculation
  • Limiting any required or additional programming (free the IT department)
  • Must be able to be managed by the marketing department with ease
  • Must possess administrative controls
  • Must increase syllabus standardization for search and assessment purposes
  • Must be sustainable and scalable
  • Must integrate with current campus systems

Exploration and Evaluation

Jamie Green, director of eLearning and Outreach at NIC, began exploring solutions that would save time, money, and trees. It was in an article in Campus Technology in 2009 that Green discovered Concourse, the online syllabus management solution that would meet all of NIC’s requirements. Green and NIC’s Director of Information Technology, Steve Ruppel, explored Intellidemia’s website and the Concourse demo; they were surprised at how easy it was to create syllabi. Green and Ruppel met Judd Rattner, chief executive officer of Intellidemia, at EDUCAUSE 2010, and Green and Ruppel were confident that, “on the surface,” Concourse was an intuitive tool that was well positioned to meet the short-term objectives and long term goals for managing syllabi. NIC teamed up with the Syllabus Geeks to launch a structured pilot that consisted of 20 faculty members.

Early Results and Benefits

With comprehensive training, a pilot hand book, and plenty of online help materials to draw from, the implementation of Concourse went better than planned. As a fully hosted syllabus solution, Concourse was easy to get up and running and effortless to maintain.

“It was really a matter of signing the contract and turning it on,” remarked Jamie Green, director of eLearning and outreach at North Idaho College. “Building syllabus templates was easy and the adjunct faculty found Concourse easy to use as well. We had an overwhelmingly positive response from faculty halfway through the semester.”

Concourse meets the need for public access to syllabi, limits the need for additional IT programming, effortlessly increases administrative controls, syllabus standardization, and is a sustainable solution that will integrate with NIC’s current campus systems. Concourse also maintains privacy by allowing faculty and administrators to customize how much information is available to the public.

Having the ability to see all the syllabi related to a campus division in one view was an added bonus. Further, with Concourse permissions, Chairs and Deans have the ability to audit syllabi, making it easy to select a “pending” or “reviewed” status of each syllabus.

The pilot was successful and NIC decided to move the management of syllabi from the marketing department to the Department of eLearning and Outreach. As NIC began moving Syllabus Builder from the old server to the new server, the technology that supported the home-grown solution crumbled beneath it. Had NIC not adopted Concourse, there would have been no standardized process for the creation of syllabi.

“NIC prides itself on forwarding thinking; we are not afraid of being among the early adopters, the first to tackle a new project or invest the time necessary to test new technology,” stated Green. “Concourse is a cutting edge technology from a young company, and it’s working out to be a significant leap forward in the management of syllabi at NIC.”

Concourse was fully implemented, adopted, and launched institute-wide on August 22, 2011. Over 10,000 members of NICs academic community accessed Concourse that day to view, edit, and analyze syllabi. NIC will be one of the leading campuses to report on Concourse Mobile, the first syllabus interface made for the small screen.


Additional Content


About North Idaho College

Founded in 1933, North Idaho College is a comprehensive community college located on the beautiful shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. NIC offers degrees and certificates in a wide spectrum of academic transfer, professional-technical, and general education programs. Approximately 6,300 students are enrolled in credit classes and more than 7,800 participate annually in non-credit courses offered by the Workforce Training Center in Post Falls. The college serves a five-county region through outreach centers in Bonners Ferry, Kellogg, and Ponderay, as well as through an extensive array of Internet and interactive video conferencing courses. NIC also plays a key role in the region’s economic development by preparing competent, trained employees for area businesses, industries, and governmental agencies.

To learn more about North Idaho College, visit www.nic.edu.