Concordia launches an in-house curriculum management software this summer
Concordia is launching a new in-house curriculum management software this summer to replace the Provotrack curriculum submission tool.
The Concordia Curriculum Management System (CCMS) was developed by Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) and the Office of the Provost and VP, Academic. The software will make the curriculum change process much more efficient for faculty and department staff.
IITS is taking a staggered approach to the launch: a small group of subject matter experts will test the software prior to the soft launch in mid-June. End user training for all staff and faculty who work on curriculum changes will take place in June and July. The CCMS is set to be officially operational by July 14.
The new system is the product of roughly two years of development and detailed consultations with members of the Concordia community, says Julie Johnston, university curriculum administrator with the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic.
“The product is really tailor-made for Concordia, and we can continue to make improvements to it in the future. There’s a really strong sense of pride and ownership that we built this in house.”
The software will reduce the amount of time staff spend on various curriculum management tasks, cut out the human error that can occur with Provotrack and speed up the time it takes to publish the undergraduate calendar, Johnston adds.
Phase II of the software development, planned for Fall 2021, will allow for additional enhancements to the software. The Fall 2021 Graduate Calendar will be published on August 1 using the new software, and the 2022-23 Undergraduate Calendar will be published in March of 2022.
When users are working on a dossier within the software they’ll be able to generate a report that provides a quick overview of all program, course and regulation modifications they’re proposing. CCMS also comes with a new Impact Report feature, which will help users identify if the changes they’re proposing could impact another unit, to ensure they consult that unit before moving forward with the change. The system will have the ability to bundle all the curriculum changes and approval forms into a single PDF dossier.
‘Opens the door to different points of view’
Sandra Gabriele is vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning at Concordia.
“Curriculum is, by its nature, a collaborative effort with many layers of approval. Our curriculum benefits from the perspective that different stakeholders in the university bring to the evaluation of curriculum changes; it opens the door to different points of view and practices that exist across the university,” she says.
“Notwithstanding the value of having all this input, it does mean that departments may not always know where their dossier is in the approval process. The new software allows authorized users to see where a dossier is in this process and allows all the comments, refinements and questions to be kept in one place.”
Users will no longer have to manually highlight the text they add to dossiers or strike through what they remove, Johnston also notes. “The system will automate all of that and make it easier for us to identify the exact place in the calendar where a user is requesting to add new information.”
As well, Gabriele says, the CCMS will be beneficial in the case of complex changes to an entire curriculum that occur in stages. “It removes the possibility of using the wrong information in a dossier because information is updated in the calendar in a more timely fashion.”
Going forward, the software will allow the undergraduate calendar to be published to the web with significantly improved navigation for users. Program descriptions that mention courses will hyperlink to those course descriptions as well as to lists of courses.
“When students go into the new calendar, it allows them to navigate much more easily and have a better overview of their program,” Johnston shares.
Nicolas Boukas, project manager at IITS, says the CCMS web publishing function is a significant enhancement on what was initially proposed. “This is something that added a lot of value and streamlines the whole process when it comes to publishing the calendar.”
The software will also be more secure than Provotrack, with users being asked to log in with their Concordia employee netnames and passwords.