Colleges and universities across the country are working to improve affordability, enrollment, retention and student outcomes. These issues are complex and deeply interwoven — and schools are seeking solutions that work across multiple fronts to achieve those objectives.
Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) was looking for a partner to address these important challenges through campus-wide services for students, faculty, advisors and administrators. In addition to bookstore operations, EGCC turned to Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) for a next-generation learning management system (LMS), courseware solutions and learning analytics. A year after implementing these platforms and tools, EGCC has saved students nearly $1 million on course materials, developed custom courses and increased enrollment.
EGCC is an accredited, two-year public institution in Ohio serving four counties at two campus locations. It offers on-campus and online courses and certificate programs that serve students planning to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year institution.
In June 2017, EGCC began its partnership with Barnes & Noble Education. The school set several key goals for their shared efforts, including: reducing the cost of course materials for students; making it easier to access course content; and aligning their curriculum with workforce demands. EGCC also wanted the partnership to help drive enrollment growth and, ultimately, improve the student experience.
EGCC planned to meet those goals by tapping into the power of LoudCloud Courseware, which combines e-text with learning resources like videos, activities and assessments that faculty can adopt and customize. Paired with LoudSight predictive analytics, LoudCloud Courseware didn’t just provide EGCC students with additional ways to learn and test their knowledge — it also allowed faculty to track student progress and offer help when needed.
Early in the partnership, Barnes & Noble Education assisted EGCC in transitioning the school’s previous LMS provider to the LoudCloud LMS. The team made this transition in two phases, migrating more than 400 courses. In addition, EGCC adopted 29 LoudCloud Courseware courses and has worked in tandem with the LoudCloud team to co-develop 36 additional courses to date. All course content was designed to meet desired course objectives and learning outcomes as well as workforce demands. By Fall 2019, LoudCloud Courseware will offer 70 courses covering various areas of study, including Early Childhood Education and Paralegal, thanks to the collaboration.
“It has been great seeing faculty work with the BNED content team to create customizable course content that meets our needs,” says Dr. Jimmie Bruce, president, EGCC.
Transitioning from one system to another always requires adjustment, and Barnes & Noble Education worked closely with EGCC faculty to ensure they had the individualized support they needed. The initial training sessions, available in person and online, were followed up with Friday learning sessions throughout the semester to share additional information on timely topics such as adding or editing resources, setting final grades and using conditional release (rules for accessing the content). Before the start of the second semester, LoudCloud hosted a follow-up training session to provide a refresh and address customization questions.
Karen Spindler, Program Director of Business Management and full-time faculty at EGCC, noted that faculty weren’t quite sure what to expect initially. “We were not aware of the ease of transition that could take place,” she says. “Here we have a team of experts, LoudCloud, on hand to help us develop classes. We had our apprehensions at first because we have done things on our own for so long. But, a class may take three or four months for us to develop. With BNED’s help, they were producing at least three classes at a time for our program alone.”
TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION
Since launching its partnership with Barnes & Noble Education, EGCC has made tremendous progress against its goals. To date, LoudCloud Courseware has saved EGCC students an estimated $934,572 — with more savings projected as the partnership grows and additional courses are made available. In addition to enjoying greater affordability, students can access their course content more easily by signing on to the LoudCloud LMS as their single platform, which has resulted in better engagement. The average user session in the LMS now lasts more than 91 minutes, and the time spent per enrollment has increased by 83 percent since the fall of 2017. These figures represent all courses, including LoudCloud Courseware courses.
Students also report anecdotally to call center employees that they absolutely love the LoudCloud Courseware courses. That’s the most consistent theme of the daily calls received from students, who say that these courses help them keep going from term to term in their programs. These positive experiences likely factor into the enrollment increase that EGCC has seen since the partnership began, and with ongoing updates rolling out to improve the student and faculty experience, there are high hopes the positive trend will continue.
EGCC sought a partner to help them develop easily accessible and customizable courses while also supporting their mission to provide affordable solutions to their students. Within the first year, LoudCloud Courseware helped EGCC meet their objectives of saving students nearly $1 million, provide a high-quality education and increase enrollment. Moving forward, the LoudCloud solutions adopted by EGCC will not only support continued savings and ease of use, but simplify ways to add and update course content that builds the knowledge and skills employers expect and need for the future.
Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.
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