Scaling Up with Cengage: How the University of the Cumberlands is scaling up its online courses utilizing the Master Course model and textbook partner Cengage
Concurrent Session 1
University of the Cumberlands and Cengage Publishing has developed a course design model that promotes faculty development, instructional design integrity, student success, and administrative
collaboration. In this presentation, we will share our design model, decision-making process, benefits for faculty and students, how the University of the Cumberlands and Cengage Publishing work together, and textbook management across course sections.
A small, private, non-profit institution in rural Kentucky that has a large online presence and high usage of Cengage textbooks has developed a course design model that promotes faculty development, instructional design integrity, student success, and administrative collaboration. In this presentation, we will share our design model, decision-making process, benefits for faculty and students, strategy for textbook management across course sections, and how Cengage and the University of the Cumberlands work together. This model includes utilizing all aspects of the institution with the goal of student success including enrollment management, instructional design, academic affairs, department leadership, faculty, adjunct faculty, student success, and the bookstore.
In the Fall of 2021, the online business program converted all courses to be through one single textbook publisher. This conversion required changes to faculty preference of textbooks, course redesign, marketing to students of the change in textbooks, and the ability to promote the Cengage subscription model to decrease cost in a major way. Furthermore, we found that utilizing Cengage has contributed to a more standardized and user-friendly platform for online courses. Using Cengage to standardize courses means that students aren’t subjected to learning multiple publisher platforms during each bi-term. Students become familiar with the Cengage platform which serves to decrease anxiety about dealing with multiple publisher platforms every term. When students know what to expect, they tend to complete the assignments on a timelier basis with fewer questions about navigating each course.
So how did we do it?
When designing courses for online programs, considerations are made for the textbook costs, the number of sections and faculty to utilize the master course that is being built, the proportion of publisher content versus homegrown content, and academic integrity concerns. The Director of Online, in collaboration with the Instructional Design team, has built a standard template for all courses to ensure consistency in and across sections to equalize the student experience. Additionally, when a course is utilizing content, there is also a set of standards and expectations put forward that SMEs and the Instructional Design team must meet before the course goes live.
Course Launch and Faculty Development
The University of the Cumberlands begins courses every 8 weeks, and it is not uncommon that courses will have multiple sections running at a time. The master course model provides consistency in assessment, academic quality, and student experience. Each course includes a Faculty Resources folder that provides guidance and resources for setting up their course in both Blackboard and Cengage. It is recommended that each faculty member works with the Cengage team to properly set up and customize their course as appropriate. Throughout the year, the University of the Cumberlands works with the Cengage team to offer both mandatory and optional training to both students and faculty for use of the platform.
Publisher and Institution Partnership
The Cengage team and the Director of Online are in regular contact to discuss the current course and student concerns, faculty development opportunities, textbook updates, textbook testing, pilot programs, and planning for course launches every 8 weeks.
The presentation will include:
- Data from the usage of Cengage content across the platform
- Insights from the roles of Academic Affairs, Chair, Instructional Design, and Cengage team members
- Demonstration of Master Course Templates on both the LMS and Cengage platforms
Key Takeaways from the Presentation:
- Cengage and Institutional Relationship
- Sales vs. Service vs. Partner
- Scaling up capabilities
- Instructional Design and Academic Affairs Partnership Strategies
- Budget Consciousness for students
- Finding support at all levels: administrative, faculty, and student for quality, clean, and cost-efficient solution