A new educational software program purchased last year by the Contra Costa Community College District will make courses a bit easier for instructors to create, revise, and assess.
This eLumen program, which costs about a half million dollars for the four-year contract through June 2022, is now being integrated into college processes and although it will eventually streamline paperwork, it is causing some implementation challenges.
“Right now, curriculum… is done through cumbersome Word documents,” said Scott Hubbard, math instructor and Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee, who was a part of the team that selected the program. “It’s been hard to track and keep everyone updated on the latest documents that people are making when we develop and revise courses. It’s sort of like trying to do a group project, and not being able to use Google Docs.”
Because the process was cumbersome and difficult to track, course descriptions and outlines were being accepted throughout the year, despite a longstanding Nov. 1 deadline. This year, however, faculty face a strict Nov. 1 deadline that some are confused about, and others are dreading. That deadline is nothing new — it is just more heavily enforced this year to help gear up and introduce the new program during the upcoming spring semester.
“The Nov. 1 deadline was about faculty getting in their new and revised COORs (Course Outlines of Record) to our curriculum committee,” said Hubbard. “Historically, the deadline at LMC has been looser, but that’s led to issues in its own right. So, with eLumen coming on board, and so much work that needs to be done in the spring, it was decided to enforce the Nov. 1 deadline.”
Though this change may seem daunting at first, some are looking forward to the potentially easier way of creating their course outlines for students.
“Many of us [staff], myself included, are quite excited about moving to the new system and doing things in a more streamlined way,” said Hubbard. “ Like anything new, it will take some time to get used to, but I’m looking forward to offering professional development opportunities for people to learn and get trained on the new system. And I know that the Office of Instruction will be doing that for faculty and staff, as well.”
Though students will not see a big change right away because the changes are all in the planning side of instructing, the benefit to instructors may, in turn, help students.
“I think eLumen is going to have a positive impact on faculty and the rest of the college community by streamlining our processes,” said Nikki Moultrie, dean of Career Technical Education and Social Sciences. “With this more efficient system, students will benefit because faculty will have more time to focus on their students instead of paperwork. Students will also benefit as the system will provide easier and more robust access to data on student learning which will help inform effective teaching strategies.”