The big theme of the quarter for our Curriculum team has been identifying where we can revise our courses and how our course offerings improve the overall student experience. We have been exploring how we can encourage student progress and support learners as they work through the courses. We’re also looking at how the courses work together as more students begin pursuing an associate’s degree through our partner pathways.
As we complete 2021, we are working on a new course as well as several significant course updates. We’re also excited about offering certificate courses in 2022, which provide more flexibility for working adults who might not have time to take a full college-level course at one time. As our Director of Curriculum mentioned in a recent podcast, we are breaking up several of our courses into two sections so students can complete one section at a time.
Here are more details about what the Curriculum team is working on this quarter:
- Philosophy of Life: We continue to build out our Humanities options as our associate degree program expands. This is our first philosophy course and will introduce learners to the concept of philosophy and major thinkers that have shaped how we think about the world around us.
- Analytics I: This is an update to our Quantitative Analysis I course. While still an introductory math course, it provides more basic math concepts as it prepares students for College Algebra and beyond. We are removing some of the personal finance and geometry topics and adding more information about probability.
- Information Systems: We have more programming and technology courses on our long-term roadmap, so we wanted to update our Introduction to Information Technology to be a better foundation for those courses.
- Introduction to Literature: When we launched Research & Composition earlier this year, it provided a more traditional Composition II course. That enabled us to transform our previous Literature & Composition into a humanities course focused more on analyzing and understanding great works of literature.
- All lab courses will be offered as Lecture + Lab and Lecture Only in January. Lab courses will no longer be available as stand-alone courses. This will help alleviate many student issues with the Lab courses.
- All courses will be mapped to Mastery Standards so students can start working towards their badges in all TEL courses.
- We will be offering Microeconomics, Psychology, Analytics I, Information Systems, American Government, and U.S. History I in a certificate format.
- Our Advisory Review Committee for Biology will make recommendations on how to improve the course.
Our focus on improving the student experience across the courses they take will establish a solid foundation for our work in 2022. Here are the projects we are working toward for next year:
- We will be launching more certificate courses in 2022. These courses will be available as stackable credentials. Each of these courses will be broken up into two parts and available for college credit if the student completes both parts.
- To continue to provide options for world languages (and because many partners have asked for it), we are developing a Spanish I (Fall 2022) and Spanish II (Spring 2023) course.
- We are looking at creating more developmental and career readiness courses to help individuals who did not finish their high school diploma, women and mothers in crisis, and the incarcerated and recently incarcerated. This is a particularly exciting project because we are able to expand to groups of people who can empower themselves by offering affordable education. It will give people who never thought that working on a degree would ever be a possibility.
- Also in 2022, we will be implementing new types of badges for students to earn based on participation, capability, and membership. This will encourage students to build momentum in their courses through small nudges to keep coming back to the platform.
Over the past few years, we’ve fine-tuned our process for building high-quality and engaging courses. Now we want to look at our catalog holistically. As learners use each course as a building block for something bigger, we want to make sure we’ve built the scaffolding to best support them on their journey.