Not All Courseware Is Created Equal: Courseware in Context Can Help Differentiate

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

Courseware exists in a maze of digital learning tools promising to improve learning outcomes, save time, reduce cost and more. The Courseware in Context Framework was developed to help educators navigate the courseware market and make better-informed decisions. This session will provide a brief interactive demonstration and highlight institutional use-cases. 


Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Online Learning Consortium. In this role, she provides the strategic direction for the organization and supports the development of key projects and programs to support OLC members. Dr. Mathes has 25 years of experience in both public and private education where she has continuously supported digital learning initiatives. In addition, Dr. Mathes is the author of the ICDE Report Global Quality in Online, Open, Flexible and Technology Enhanced Education: An Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (2019) and co-editor of the OLC Quality Scorecard Handbook: Criteria for Excellence in Blended Learning Programs (2017). She continues to write and present on key topics in online, blended and digital learning.
Tracey is the Associate VP of Academic Resources at Southern New Hampshire University. She is currently part of the Digital Credentials Lab, exploring microcredential programs in the online space. While at the College of Online and Continuing Education, she lead efforts to source, procure and evaluate educational technology for more than 150 online degree programs while building strategic relationships with vendor partners. In 2017, she co-lead the effort for SNHU to be nationally recognized as one of three institutional DLIAward 2017 winners as part of the OLC awards program. With a background in instructional design, she has focused on adult learner success in both the higher education and corporate spaces. Tracey has a BA from Connecticut College and an MBA in International Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey.
Wesley is the Chief Product Officer at Lea(R)n. Previously, he was a Predictive Analytics Specialist with IBM’s public sector analytics team before joining Chicago Public Schools as an Education Pioneer Fellow, conducting research and analysis for the Department of Diverse Learners. Wesley has a B.S. from the University of Southern California and received his Master’s in public policy and administration from Northwestern University.

Additional Authors

Gates joined Tyton Partners as a partner in 2011 in the strategy consulting practice. Gates is an experienced general manager and strategy consultant with a successful track record for bridging the gap between innovative strategy and practical execution. Prior to joining Tyton Partners, Gates was an executive with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, working in strategy, product management, and finance during a period of dramatic change in the educational publishing and technology industry. Prior to joining Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Gates spent seven years as a strategy consultant with the Parthenon Group. He advised clients on issues of revenue growth, profit improvement, and opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in the information, education, publishing, and technology industries. Gates began his career as an investment consultant with Cambridge Associates where he evaluated global private equity and venture capital funds on behalf of foundations, endowments and other institutions. From 2010 to 2014, Gates served on the start-up team of Edify, a US-based nonprofit that provides microloans, curriculum, and training to Christian schools in Africa and Latin America. Gates holds a BA in Government from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.

Extended Abstract

Courseware exists in a maze of digital learning tools, each promising to improve learning outcomes, save time, reduce cost and more.  Telling the difference between products and selecting the courseware that best suits the needs of you, your students and institution is a challenge that can leave educators sitting on the sidelines of digital learning rather than embracing its full potential. 

The Courseware in Context (CWiC) Framework was developed to help educators navigate the courseware market and make better-informed adoption and implementation decisions. This session will provide a brief demonstration of the interactive framework (built on the Lea(R)n digital platform), tailored towards audience interests based on an initial poll as well as highlight real world examples at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and other institutions on how it can be used at various stages of the courseware selection, adoption, and implementation processes.  The session will feature a demo and real-time discussion with institutional leaders about how the framework has been used at their institution.

Participants in this session will:

  • Take away actionable information about how they can improve the courseware selection and implementation at their institutions.
  • Understand how they can leverage the CWiC Framework to speak a common language in courseware selection conversations with vendors and internally.
  • Understand how the CWiC Framework can be used to evaluate an existing courseware implementation to drive adoption and scaling decisions.