We have been busy launching our new strategic partnership with Acadeum (formerly College Consortium) to support increased efficacy and efficiency for course sharing among our member community colleges.
Since our inception in 1998, facilitating inter-institutional course sharing statewide has been the focus of our work as the former Virtual College of Texas. Our recent strategic planning process revealed that this is an important service to continue to provide. Course sharing supports student retention, progress, and completion and thus the goals of the state higher education plan, 60x30TX. However, the capacity to expand offerings has been limited in terms of resources, both human and financial, and technology.
Acadeum's mission is “to expand options for students in higher education by leveraging the full power of interconnected networks.” I became familiar with their academic sharing platform a few years ago and had met with Co-Founder Nathan Green on several occasions. When I came on board as the Executive Director of DigiTex in January 2019, I reconnected with Nathan. Although their platform largely had been utilized by four-year, private institutions, I recognized the similarity in our work and thought that, at the very least, we might have an exchanging of ideas and experiences.
Over the spring of 2019, numerous meetings with the co-founders and staff of Acadeum in conjunction with our strategic planning process led me to the conclusion that a partnership with them would be advantageous. Such a collaboration would allow us to: harness the advanced technology (and data) on which their user-friendly platform is built. rely on the considerable expertise of their technology- and education-focused team. begin to expand/scale up course sharing, both statewide and, potentially, nationally to support both better outcomes for students and revenue generation for Texas community colleges. Acadeum institutions number over 200, with 15,000 course sections so far for a total of $12 million in student savings and $8 million in institutional revenue. I also have been impressed with Acadeum’s visionary commitment to, and obvious passion for, student success.
Therefore, in August we negotiated, and paid, a platform access fee (at a discounted consortial rate) for a limited number of our member colleges as a pilot. The first courses will be offered through Acadeum starting this spring semester, and although we know there will be challenges and lessons learned during this time, we are hoping to continue to expand participation. The more colleges (and students) that participate, as both home and teaching institutions, the more successful the partnership will be.
Here is an article about other consortial activities in which Acadeum is engaging: “Sharing Courses Far and Wide”
Stay tuned for updates here on this promising partnership!
Judith Sebesta, Ph.D., Executive Director, DigiTex