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AD ASTRA BLOG

Summer and Fall 2020 Planning Considerations

by Ad Astra
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One of the requests we have received most often in the past several weeks is to help institutions with summer and fall 2020 schedule planning. In the typical course scheduling cycle, most institutions would have solidified the summer 2020 schedule by now and would be in the final stages of refining the fall 2020 schedule. Due to the unknowns in the current environment, institutions must re-evaluate and adjust offerings for summer and fall using data where possible to inform course offerings. The Ad Astra team has synthesized the strategies below based on 24 years of experience helping institutions do this work. We suggest reviewing the strategies with your strategic scheduling team or course scheduling stakeholders at all levels to determine meaningful action. Let us know what is working for you by sharing in the comments section.

Student Demand

  • Review current course offerings to determine where you can strategically adjust the number of courses/sections offered.
    • Can you consolidate sections? Considerations include…
      • Enrollment decline
      • Faculty resources
      • Space consolidation
      • Increased online capacity
      • Opportunities to reduce the total number of options in a group of electives or requirements Questions to consider include…
        • Is this a core course? If yes, can another core course assume predicted demand? If no, can the number of options be reduced?
        • Is this course part of a required group (such as must take 1 of 3 listed courses)? If yes, is the option necessary for a specific track, concentration or cohort? Is there a possible substitution with a course that has more robust enrollment? Can the necessary course content be included in another course?
      • Do you need to add sections of high demand courses? Considerations include…
        • Anticipated enrollment increases
        • Courses that students will need to repeat
        • Bottlenecks
      • Augment summer offerings to support student success.
        • Do you have courses from Spring 2020 that were overloaded?
        • Are you expecting students from other institutions to take courses during the summer?
        • Are you anticipating the need to offer additional courses for students who need to retake specific requirements?
      • Consider consolidating sections for summer if moving all instruction online.
        • Can you use historical enrollment data to determine total seats needed across all campuses for consolidation to online delivery?
      • Review course groups for the purpose of limiting choice to increase student success and drive enrollments to specific courses.
        • Isolate courses in course groups and review historical patterns of enrollment.
      • Gather additional data to help predict demand.
        • Can you use mid-term data and other course progress data to determine courses that students may need to repeat this summer or take again in fall 2020?
        • Will your expected admissions yield rate require additional or fewer general education course seats?
        • Can you monitor transcript requests to anticipate students who may be transferring out and the impact on enrollment?

Faculty Resources

  • Review historical enrollment data with instructor information to better align course offerings with faculty resources that meet institutional goals and guidelines for distribution of full and part-time faculty.

Instructional Modality

  • Consider later parts of the term for in-person offerings if a return to campus date is unknown.
  • Review all modality options and customize them to fit your unique circumstances. For example, one institution will offer hybrid courses this summer that start online for a few weeks with the intent to transition those courses to in-person later in the term. This modality fits their strategy and goals for summer 2020.

Building Consolidation and HVAC Usage

  • Consolidate in-person activities to specific buildings so that usage costs and resources can be saved or reallocated. To learn more about this topic, please click here.

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