Location
Saint Louis, MO

Students
Graduate: 15,461 | Undergrad: 4,395

Classification
Large 4-year private

Faculty
Full-time: 171 | Part-time: 2,788

“We needed a sustainable solution that didn’t require extensive development, testing, and maintenance. We didn’t want to be in the business of creating and hosting syllabus software and needed to find a vendor with a technology as robust as their expertise in understanding syllabus management. Concourse has allowed our IT department to continue focusing on deploying and supporting the best solutions to ensure teaching and learning excellence.” – Larry Haffner, CIO

Highlights

  • A plan to ensure syllabus consistency uncovered weaknesses in current syllabus processes
  • In-house syllabus system was becoming costly and less sustainable
  • Accreditation needs for syllabus consistency drove search for a more multi-faceted syllabus system
  • Phased Concourse implementation and deployment allowed for efficiency of syllabus creation and review
  • Thousands of hours of document collection saved by having all syllabi in one, easily accessible location
  • Linked templates, reporting, and audit functions allow for more faculty and staff productivity

Motivation
The George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology (WSBT) had begun work to review all curriculum and syllabus information. They had implemented a plan to ensure consistency among all programs within the WSBT, and discovered a need for greater efficiency in the oversight of syllabi. While initially they relied on their in-house syllabus tool, it was becoming apparent that they needed more than a tool for the collection of documents. They required a solution that would not only allow them to collect and store syllabi, but also easily manage syllabus data as well as provide structure among all of the syllabi within the WSBT. Their current solution was becoming less sustainable as well, with the increasing amount of financial resources necessary for the operation and maintenance of the system.

Practices
Faculty and staff used a homegrown, online syllabus collector designed to serve as a repository for the syllabi of their nearly 1500 instructors and thousands of sections being offered every term. The system was a sufficient collection tool, but presented challenges with meeting the consistency standards of their accreditation.

Vision
The WSBT sought a syllabus solution that would allow for effective management of syllabi with the ability to maintaining consistency among all syllabi, at each campus throughout the world. The sheer mass of syllabi as well as specific accreditation requirements, along with improving administrative efficiency, became paramount for the WSBT. The ability to grant different roles and permissions within the system, as well as the notion of a template for each course, would also reinforce to their goal of efficiency and structure.

Implementation
Because of their size, the WSBT chose a phased deployment; initially piloting the system with several faculty groups. After several small and successful pilots, administrators moved to the second phase of their implementation. They designed course templates and applied permissions to further manage syllabus content. With templates and permissions in place, and established faculty adoption of the system, Concourse was ready for deployment. They also integrated Concourse with their learning management system, for further accessibility.

Results
The time and cost savings were almost immediately realized upon implementation. A syllabus review process that previously took each campus 20-30 hours a term was now cut down to a matter of two to three hours. When you multiply that by more than 100 campuses you can really see the time savings. Because they no longer have to review syllabi to ensure elements like the course description, learning outcomes, and institutional policies are included it has saved countless hours of administrative headache. The usage of linked templates, permissions, auditing, and reporting have all attributed to the WSBT’s increased ability to meet accreditation requirements.


Additional Content
Listen to the tale of Webster’s original syllabus system and their move to Concourse. Audio recording and full transcript >>


About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of campuses. Its 20,000-plus student population represents almost 150 nationalities. Since opening its first campus overseas in Geneva in 1978, Webster has become a recognized leader and innovator in global education, with an international presence that now includes campuses in London; Vienna; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. Webster also has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan.

To learn more about Webster, visit their website at www.webster.edu.