Shared Infrastructure Behind Course Exchanges

There is a marked change taking place in higher education. Faced with an array of challenges like over enrollment, under enrollment, and changing student demographics, colleges are turning to course exchanges to share resources.

Collaboration is a noble goal, but it doesn’t come easy. There’s more to course exchanges than simply throwing a few classes online. To succeed, students need to know how to find assignments, participate in discussion boards, and get feedback. Classes have to provide a reasonably consistent experience, while also allowing flexibility for different academic disciplines and different teaching styles.

This is often facilitated by separate institutions adopting a common learning management system. An LMS that integrates various third party teaching and learning applications. In addition, students need to know which classes are available, be able to register, and get their grades. Student information needs to pass seamlessly between schools and the course exchange. Students need support services like advising, tutoring, and accommodations for disabilities. And teachers need support as well. A successful course exchange program requires faculty professional development, instructional design guidelines and quality standards.

These administrative and support services for students and faculty are critical components. They form part of the shared infrastructure behind course exchanges. This shared infrastructure can help break down traditional boundaries and silos of individual institutions. And this can lead to long-lasting change in higher education.