Online Course Sharing Consortium
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About the Consortium

The CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium (CIC-OCSC) provides access to technology that facilitates online course sharing among CIC members. Compared with other institutions from which students may wish to transfer credit, keeping within CIC means that similar curricular goals, philosophies of education, standards of academic quality, and a commitment to the liberal arts are much more likely. By sharing courses online through the Consortium, academic leaders can quickly implement strategies to improve student progress while maintaining complete control of their own curriculum, and administrators can seamlessly transfer credits and financial aid.

Through an arrangement with Acadeum, whose Course Share™ technology facilitates cross-registrations, CIC members can find appropriate course options from trusted partners, support student success, and generate revenue by participating in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium.

Advantages of CIC-OCSC participation:

  • Transfer of credit and of financial aid is easily handled through CIC’s consortial agreement and the Acadeum Course Share technology. The process is far less cumbersome than traditional options for supplementing degree pathways, where students assume the burden of choosing appropriate courses and seeking the transfer of credits;

  • An easy-to-use dashboard and cloud-based services reduce demands on local IT staff;

  • Course development and faculty approval processes mirror typical course adoption practices on campus to ensure that shared courses meet institutional standards; and

  • Revenue sharing between institutions benefits both financially.

Benefits to Institutions

Participation in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium (CIC-OCSC) results in:

  • Increased enrollments;
  • Improved retention and graduation rates;
  • Streamlined payments and reporting; and
  • New revenue.

The Consortium can help institutions advance several institutional strategies.

  • It can make possible the creation of summer, winter, and short semester options for students who need specific courses to stay on track to graduate;
  • It can help at-risk students whose schedule constraints due to work or family obligations are extreme;
  • It can allow students to accelerate their academic progress; and
  • It provides a means to supplement available courses on campus to keep majors viable even when enrollment in advanced courses in the major is low.

COVID-19 RECOVERY PLANNING

As institutions grapple with disruptions to on-campus programs and services, presidents and other academic leaders can turn to collaborative, cost-effective options for supplementing the curriculum through the CIC-OCSC. Institutions that participate can meet immediate course needs and support student progress through access to thousands of online courses from private colleges and universities with extensive experience in online instruction.

PDFHelp Students Stay on Track with Online Courses from Peer Institutions

Membership

​More than 200 private colleges and universities currently share nearly 3,000 courses through the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium.

To begin a conversation about the Consortium, please contact CIC or send an email to Carol Schuler, vice president and director of the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, at cschuler@cic.nche.edu. You will receive additional information about Acadeum team members who can discuss your institution’s needs in more detail.

The CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium has been very beneficial to our student success initiatives at Springfield College. The platform, managed by Acadeum, was easy to use and allowed our staff to present our students with relevant course offerings that were vetted to meet our curriculum. Further, our students appreciated being able to register for summer courses directly with us and benefited from having the courses and their grades applied directly to their transcripts. It was a win-win as we were able to improve student outcomes and generate new revenue for the institution. We are now looking ahead to even more strategic ways to use the Consortium to support student success at the college.”
—Mary Ann Coughlin, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Springfield College

How to Participate

The first step is to complete a Consortial Agreement for the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, available through Acadeum. Institutions then complete an Acadeum Member Services Agreement and choose to participate in the Consortium as Home Institutions, as Teaching Institutions, or as both Home and Teaching Institutions. Home Institutions are those in which students are enrolled. Teaching Institutions are colleges with online teaching capacity that offer empty “seats” online to Home Institutions.

Acadeum works directly with institutions to configure the Course Share technology and to secure fees for using its platform, which makes it possible for students to easily request, obtain approval, be billed, and be cross-enrolled for courses taken at another institution within the Consortium.

FOR HOME INSTITUTIONS

Each Home Institution selects the online courses offered through the Consortium that advisors can offer to students, and it provides verification, approval, and oversight of credits. Students enroll and pay tuition through their Home Institution and qualify for pre-approved course credit and financial aid, just as they do for on-campus courses. A portion of the Home Institution tuition is transferred by Acadeum’s Course Share technology directly to the Teaching Institution, resulting in shared revenue for the course.

FOR TEACHING INSTITUTIONS

Teaching Institutions determine which courses to make available to other members of the Consortium as well as the course content, stated learning outcomes, and other measures of course effectiveness. Like Home Institutions, they can improve revenue by filling under-enrolled sections of critical courses through fee-based cross enrollments within the Consortium, which provides technology that transfers a portion of the Home Institution’s tuition to the Teaching Institution.

Next Steps

To learn how the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium can benefit your institution, contact CIC through the online request form or via email to CIC Vice President Carol Schuler at cschuler@cic.nche.edu. You will receive a confirmation from CIC and an invitation to discuss with CIC any questions you may have about the Consortium. Then, you will be contacted by CIC’s partner for this member service, Acadeum.

Your initial contact at Acadeum will work with you and your colleagues to review how the system works, to explain the process for becoming an active Consortium member, and to answer key questions—whether your institution is interested in joining the Consortium as a Home Institution that makes select online courses available to its students or as a Teaching Institution that makes select online courses available to students at other member institutions.

Enrolling a student in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium requires the same coordination among various departments and administrative offices that is required to enroll a student in an on-campus course. Often, institutions rely on a collaborative approach between academic affairs, the registrar, and financial aid to select online courses and to implement processes to enroll students and record their progress in the Consortium courses.

Establishing this process at CIC institutions usefully advances in two phases:

  1. Exploration and Preparation
  2. Implementation

PHASE I: EXPLORATION AND PREPARATION

Begin with a 30-minute introductory consultation between the president or CAO and other members of the president’s cabinet and Acadeum staff.

Select members to form your institution’s CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium Operations Team. Such a team typically includes representatives from academic affairs, the registrar’s office, and the finance, financial aid, and IT departments. This team will develop a plan to align your institution’s course sharing strategies with institutional priorities.

Have your Operations Team members review the information on this website, including the FAQ section.

Schedule a 45-minute live webinar for your operations team meeting with Acadeum. The operations webinar will provide each team member with an in-depth review of the platform and the process for implementing the Consortium. Typically, most questions concern academics, IT, and financial aid in the specific institutional context.

Following the operations webinar, review and sign Acadeum’s contractual documents that, once executed, officially make your institution a participant in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium.

  • The Consortial Agreement provides membership in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium. Signing institutions affirm such matters as regional accreditation and intention to maintain accreditation as well as membership in CIC.
  • The Member Services Agreement lists the policies and procedures guiding the use of the Course Share technology. These include the services provided by Acadeum; the Teaching Institution’s agreement that the platform will not be used to recruit Home Institution students; specifications for timely communications between Home and Teaching Institutions; fee schedules; and forms for requesting and approving enrollments.

PHASE II: IMPLEMENTATION

Work with Acadeum to ensure that each department and office has incorporated the necessary procedures to seamlessly enroll and record the progress of students taking courses in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium.
 
A senior member of the Acadeum operations team will guide your institution through this process.

  • Complete staff training and set-up of user accounts on the Acadeum Course Share app;
  • Establish the payment processor connection and execute the course hosting fee; and
  • Coordinate, if applicable, the Teaching Institution readiness review, an hour-long review to ensure that institutions are ready to share courses through the Course Share technology.

Your institution is now ready to begin pre-approving courses and enrolling students who will benefit from participation in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium.

Once your institution has some experience using the Consortium, you may wish to explore how other institutions have used it to improve student retention and completion. The Acadeum team can help Home Institutions to implement strategies to improve retention and completion. CIC provides additional opportunities through webinars and presentations at the annual Institute for Chief Academic Officers and the Presidents Institute to share within the CIC-OCSC learning community.

We promoted the program in late spring and had a very strong student response over the Summer Term, as it allows students the flexibility to complete coursework while also serving in an internship or working. What we found was a way for our students to take courses that were not offered in the sequence they needed. The Online Course Sharing Consortium also allowed students to explore beyond our own offerings, and it helped us move students through course sequences where we had historic backlogs.”
—Alyson Gill, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of the Ozarks

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

​How does the Home Institution control enrollments and the volume of courses selected and used by students?
Students may enroll in a CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium course only if the Home Institution has pre-approved the course and approves the individual enrollment. Students only see online courses that have been pre-approved by their institution.

After a student requests a pre-approved course, the registrar’s office can easily and quickly approve the enrollment through the Acadeum Course Share app, replacing the time consuming approval processes currently in use at most institutions for off-campus courses.

Financial aid will apply to the course once the enrollment has been approved.


How can the Home Institution assess the quality of instruction?
After formally joining the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, the Home Institution has access to the course description, syllabi, faculty credentials, and accreditation-related materials for each Consortium course, all of which the Home Institution can review prior to pre-approval. This approach allows each Home Institution to select the courses most appropriate for its students.

If specific information regarding accreditation is needed, please contact Rob Manzer, chief academic officer and co-founder at Acadeum, at rob@acadeum.com.


How do the finances work?
The Home Institution bills the student at a rate they set for a CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium course and the student pays the Home Institution. The Home Institution pays the Teaching Institution that is offering the course the rate set by the Teaching Institution. In this way, both institutions can share in the revenue that a course generates.

Since Home Institutions have the freedom to set the rates charged to their students, they can deploy a strategic pricing strategy. For example, some Home Institutions choose not to bill students during regular semesters by including Consortium courses in their block tuition in order to promote recruitment, retention, or completion plans.

The Home Institution transfers through the Acadeum platform the portion of tuition that the Teaching Institution charges the Home Institution for the course. Because the new enrollment represents use of an empty “seat,” the Teaching Institution can charge less than the full tuition charge and the Home Institution can retain the difference. The Teaching Institution receives 75 percent of the tuition it charges and Acadeum receives 25 percent. CIC receives modest revenue from Acadeum that helps fund member programs and services.

All payments are automatically transferred through the Acadeum platform and do not require additional institutional billing.


What are the annual costs?
A Home Institution will pay to Acadeum an annual Access Fee of $1,000. To understand how quickly this expense will be recouped, the Home Institution should confer with Acadeum.

A Teaching Institution will pay to Acadeum an annual Access Fee of $1,000 plus an additional $2,000 annual Teaching Fee for Acadeum’s maintenance of coursework materials and interconnections on its platform. Recouping of this fee will be achieved quickly as well.


How does the technology work and will it require a significant amount of IT staff support?
The Acadeum Course Share app allows students to easily request, obtain approval, be billed, and be cross-enrolled for courses taken at another institution in the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium. Data is moved securely via CSV files imported and exported by institutions. There is no direct integration, security risk, or significant work from the IT department to support this program.

There is no reason to anticipate needing to hire additional IT staff in any institutional office to implement the Consortium; to date the Home and Teaching Institutions that are the highest users of this service have not found it necessary to hire additional IT staff.

Webinars and Case Studies

​For additional information about members’ experiences with the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, please review the webinars and case studies listed on this page. For immediate questions, contact Carol Schuler, CIC vice president and director of the Online Course Sharing Consortium, at cschuler@cic.nche.edu.

Webinars

Identifying Enrollment Opportunities in Unusual Times

Presenters include Carol Schuler of CIC, Jeff Aper, provost at Millikin University, Rachel Bicicchi, director of online learning at Millikin University, and Rob Manzer, co-founder and chief academic officer at Acadeum. The presenters discussed Millikin University's experience utilizing the Consortium to respond to an influx of transfer and young adult students, and to provide scheduling flexibility despite limited course options and faculty retirements. The webinar also highlighted COVID-19 contingency planning solutions such as the use of late Fall and Winter options to support academic progress, standing, and persistence. Click the links below to access a recording of the webinar, the presentation slides, and two Acadeum case studies referenced in the presentation. 


Fall 2020 Preparation: Retain More Students and Optimize the Curriculum

Presenters include Carol Schuler of CIC, Rob Manzer, co-founder and chief academic officer at Acadeum, and Bob Atkins, CEO at Gray Associates. To learn how you may best use the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium to prepare for the fall semester, retain more students at your institution, and optimize your curriculum, select the links below to access the webinar recording, a pdf of the presentation slide deck, a copy of a recent Acadeum case study, and an efficiency overview from Gray Associates.


COVID-19 Recovery Strategy: Using Course Sharing to Retain More Students This Summer and Beyond

Presenters include Carol Schuler of CIC, Bryan Boatright, assistant vice president for academic affairs at University of Mount Union, and Rob Manzer, chief academic officer at Acadeum. To learn how you may best leverage the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium during summer term to retain more students at your institution, select the links below to access the webinar recording and a pdf of questions and answers posted during the webinar.


Improve Student Progress, Success Initiatives, and Outcomes

The webinar examines Springfield College’s strategy for leveraging the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium to extend its existing student success initiatives and positively impact student outcomes. Presenters include Carol Schuler of CIC; Springfield College’s Leigh-Ann Gomes, director of academic advising, and Mary Ann Coughlin, senior associate vice president for academic affairs; and Rob Manzer, chief academic officer at Acadeum.


Key Stakeholders for Student Success: The Registrar and Academic Advising

The webinar addresses key operational questions about the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium. Presenters include Catawba College’s Jeff Bowe, dean of distance and online education, and Kim Smith, registrar, who provide insights on best practices and opportunities for online and registrar’s offices as well as Rob Manzer, chief academic officer at Acadeum, and Carol Schuler of CIC, who discuss tips for a successful launch of online course sharing.


Using Summer Enrollments to Retain Students

The webinar provides an overview about the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, the benefits to institutions, how to participate, and examples of successful strategies for student retention and success. Presenters include Jamel Wright, president of Eureka College, Rob Manzer, chief academic officer at Acadeum, and Carol Schuler of CIC.


Case Studies

Armed with the ability to strategically flex their course offerings to give students more options, members of the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium are pioneering new ways to overcome barriers to student success and develop structural solutions.