Five Ways to Incorporate Course Sharing into your Summer and Fall Advising Strategy
Academic advisors are a critical part of the course-sharing process. When students seek guidance—or, need in-person intervention to keep progressing on their academic journey—advisors are the first line of defense to offer advice and solutions to help them overcome hurdles.
When it comes to course sharing, academic leaders already familiar with common student challenges can look for these key signals that an online course through the Acadeum network can help meet a student’s need. Here are five ways to leverage Acadeum course sharing as part of spring advising:
1. Track students who risk falling behind in credit accumulation
Summer presents the best opportunity all year for students to catch up, stay on track, or get ahead.
As advisors know, mid-semester is a critical time to intervene as students are falling behind. Are some students below the 15-credit minimum and at risk of losing their full-time status? During summer term, a student can take one or two eight-week-long online courses through Acadeum to stay enrolled, an option not always available during the shorter winter term.
As Megan Hicks, registrar at Cornell College, discovered, the college’s course registration system was already tracking students who had fallen behind with credit accumulation, making it easy for student advisors to intervene. “Recommending Acadeum courses through in-person intervention works,” said Hicks. “If we can recover even three students, we can increase annual retention rates a whole percentage point.”
Meagan Word, director of Student Academic Progress at Angelo State University (ASU), uses the Advisor Recommendation in Acadeum Course Share to accelerate the registration process for students in need. ASU’s academic advisors reach out to her, explaining why the student needs a specific course and asking if one is available through Acadeum. “I can send a recommendation for a course on Acadeum while the advisor is meeting with the student,” said Word. “It’s a game changer and makes the process for enrolling students so smooth.”
2. Get ahead of known gaps or scheduling roadblocks
What courses tend to stand between students and the path to success?
Get ahead of bottlenecks by identifying the courses at your institution you know students need and finding a comparable match through Acadeum. For instance, consider pulling reports of:
- Commonly waitlisted courses
- Required introductory or gen ed courses
- Popular courses that run infrequently or off sequence
- Courses mapped to transfer equivalency tables
- Required courses with a low pass rate
Student advisors are likely familiar with this scenario: after grades are posted in late spring, a student who performed poorly realizes he or she needs to retake a course to avoid probation, maintain eligibility, etc. By working with faculty in advance to approve the courses on Acadeum, you can ensure a seamless enrollment process for students registering for summer courses later in the year.
We know it’s not always possible to predict the courses students need. Work with the Acadeum team to turn on the student experience in Acadeum Course Share, so students can request registration in specific courses. As an academic leader or student advisor, you’ll maintain oversight and approvals throughout the process and can offer guidance based on the student’s request.
3. Accommodate student needs when life gets in the way
Advise students facing personal challenges to stay enrolled by taking Acadeum courses.
The best student advisors know that forging strong relationships with students, built on honesty and trust, allows students to confide more openly when they’re wrestling with a problem and need guidance. Sometimes those challenges surface when personal challenges meet academic commitments.
Meagan Word at ASU noted that finding flexible, asynchronous online courses that students can take on their own time has been particularly helpful in keeping students enrolled when unforeseen medical or family situations arise. One ASU student experienced a personal tragedy and returned home to be with her family during a difficult time; she took Acadeum courses while she was away to stay enrolled at the university. Other students have required off-campus medical treatment, or found themselves without child care when daycares had lengthy waitlists. Often, all that’s needed is a course or two for that student to stay enrolled and not fall behind—and there are a variety of start/end dates to choose from.
4. Recommend specialized courses to enhance the student experience
Leverage the diversity of courses and faculty available through the Acadeum network.
Acadeum Course Share offers access to thousands of gen ed courses to fill gaps, but academic advisors can also consider recommending more specialized courses that are not offered at their institution to meet writing and reading requirements in creative ways.
Stephen Svoboda at Heidelberg University, a Home Institution and Teaching Institution on the Acadeum network, offered innovative interdisciplinary courses during summer term 2021 (and will again for summer 2022), including a fine arts class on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a social science course on the Culture Wars and South Park. “We’re looking for ways students can engage in online courses in creative ways, outside of core introductory classes,” said Svoboda.
These specialized courses can help meet highly specific student needs for minor requirements, replace independent studies, and add concentrations or areas of emphasis within their studies.
5. Be prepared for the unexpected
Courses on the Acadeum network can be your best backup plan
As of March 2022, the number of COVID cases has dropped significantly since the Omicron surge, but public health experts continue to emphasize that the pandemic is not behind us. Additionally, as international events wreak havoc around the world, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty about what the next few months will bring.
In 2021, Moravian University found that the largest swath of students helped by online Acadeum courses were international students who were stuck in their home country—due to the pandemic, political crises, etc.—and needed to progress to their degree. Advisors helped these students maintain a full-time schedule by finding asynchronous courses on Acadeum aligned to Moravian’s catalog. “Course sharing has been a lifesaver for some of those students, especially when they’re 6, 10, or 12 hours outside of our time zone,” said Carol Traupman-Carr, provost and dean of faculty at Moravian.
Sometimes, unexpected challenges happen on campus, requiring advisors to pivot quickly to meet student needs. Consider courses taught by faculty who go on leave with little advance notice. Working with faculty to preapprove as many courses in advance as possible—what we at Acadeum call “stocking the pantry”—helps ensure that even when the unexpected happens, advisors are ready to find students the courses they need fast.
Are you looking for specific courses to offer students in need this summer? Talk to an Acadeum team member to take advantage of the ten thousand courses available on the Acadeum network.
Remember: with Acadeum courses, students don’t have to navigate the maze of transfer courses on their own, and credits, grades, and financial aid apply. Institutions in the Acadeum network have received approval from all leading accreditors (SACs, HLC, and more).