3 Reasons to Outsource Curriculum Writing
Many universities now outsource curriculum writing due to revolutionary changes in the academic world. Today’s higher education marketplace has gone global. At the same time, university administrators in some fields, especially mathematics and science have had to dip into a shrinking pool of talent. The increasingly competitive realm of college and university education has also forced administrators to innovate and adapt more quickly when it comes to adopting learning and training programmes or launching online options.
Outsourcing of curriculum and course writing brings benefits to experienced academics in universities. They will receive partners to help with unfamiliar challenges such as online design. Also, they will know that students in early level courses taught by young lecturers will meet university standards of instruction and integrity.
A leading NSW university (not the University of Sydney), for instance, uses a supplier to undertake product market research, marketing, recruitment, course design, teaching and evaluation of the course. The only thing that is not outsourced is the brand.
Here are some reasons why higher education consultants with experience in curriculum writing prove valuable partners in creating effective courses quickly.
Higher Education Must Adapt to Business Needs Quickly
Higher education services that specialise in vocational education must often create courses very quickly to meet community needs, but may not always have on campus expertise. One example from overseas illustrates the challenge very clearly. A wind energy firm received local permission to erect a large-scale wind farm in an area that had never hosted such an industry before. The company needed trained maintenance staff within a relatively short period and reached out to the local vocational education college. Within two months, the college had a certification program in place that met the needs of industry and helped locals win high-paying jobs.
In this case, the entire area received the benefit. The college got a regular stream of new students. Economic development officials trying to attract new industries could point to the college as a valuable regional resource. State officials also recognised the positive synergy between the college and economic development officials and started pointing to that college as a model for others.
In such a situation, outsourcing to academic writers who have experience creating courses and programmes can save time, meet all needs, and reduce the possibility of mistakes. In some cases, the ability to move both quickly and effectively benefits more than just one department in a college.
Traditional universities increasingly seek to maximise their shares of the education marketplace. In doing so, they will join vocational education institutions in working to develop effective courses and programmes quickly in response to requests or needs. These requests may come more from government agencies or professions requiring specific education and training.
Continuing education in confronting cybersecurity issues serves as one example of a field requiring constant updating of knowledge. The challenge of working in a constantly evolving digital realm means that continuing education remains a must and expert curriculum designers can help.
Sometimes Even the Best and Most Experienced Professors Lack Needed Online Course Design Skills
In most cases, a university’s best, brightest, and most popular faculty come from its older and more experienced ranks. Many of these professors grew up in the rotary telephone era. They have little experience with online course design, but university administrators want to get some of that valuable experience into e-learning.
Setting instructors such as these loose to design their own online courses begs for trouble. While they have mastered the content and materials, they will struggle in effective delivery. Curriculum designers understand that online teaching, especially course creation, requires an additional set of skills. These include the structure of the course, use of time, the inclusion of proper multimedia materials, handling student and professor interaction, promoting class discussion. Great course writers can help to facilitate all of these aspects of successful online courses and help professors tremendously.
Bringing in course writing and design experts does not take control from the professors but will liberate them to concentrate on what they know while not forcing them to spend a great deal of time reinventing the wheel. Administrators need to understand that experienced professors may welcome partners but will remain wary of anyone seeking to dictate or control the information delivered. Experienced course and curriculum designers grasp this dynamic and seek to assist rather than direct.
This scenario plays out often as many universities look to create entire MBA programmes online for busy executives. Curriculum designers work with experienced professors to make sure they can best express their ideas through an unfamiliar medium. With online MBA programmes finding success, universities will certainly look for other fields of graduate study in which to expand online education. Curriculum and course designers can expedite this process while making sure that the courses meet university expectations.
Outsourced Curriculum Design Can Maintain Academic Integrity and Consistency
Times of fast change, such as those occurring in universities right now, can bring problems of consistency and quality. Outsourcing curriculum and course design in some areas can ensure that the university responds quickly while maintaining integrity and consistency.
Many university administrators have responded to the increasingly competitive global education marketplace by moving more intellectual resources to research and away from teaching. This leaves department chairs to rely increasingly on younger lecturers or graduate student instructors with less experience in either face-to-face or online course design.
Younger lecturers and graduate students may not have full mastery of necessary knowledge. More importantly, however, they often have trouble structuring their courses in such a way as to cover the materials. Inexperienced instructors sometimes tend to spend a great deal of time on subjects of interest or deeper knowledge to them, not leaving enough time to cover others. This results in an unbalanced course that may neglect vital information.
Course design experts can also help to create course outlines and structures that allow lecturers intellectual flexibility within guidelines that preserve course integrity. No university administrator wants robots that all spout the same verbiage and use the same materials. They do, however, want each course to meet certain objectives. Students should walk out of every class with the opportunity to learn what is necessary to know about each topic.
Curriculum designers also serve as guardians of academic integrity when administrators want new programmes. Again, outside consultants have a good vantage point and the right experience to ensure consistency and reduce errors. Universities want new programmes to come out right the first time and to meet academic and other expectations. Course and curriculum designers can help a university do it right the first time, preserving academic integrity.
The Outsourcing of Course and Curriculum Design Going Forward
Universities in today’s global marketplace often have to think more like a private sector business. This means that they have to react to the market more quickly. Universities have to ensure that their ‘products’, both research and education, meet expectations the first time. With little margin for error and the recognition that time represents a commodity as much as anything else, universities have started seeking out partners for work once done in-house.
Going forward, universities will increasingly rely on outsourcing of curriculum design, course writing, and other tasks once done solely by academics. This mimics private sector willingness to employ partners to carry out essential functions. It will also help to free experienced academics to concentrate on what they do best and ensure that all courses and programmes meet the expectations of administrators and the public.