Digital Learning Cooperative
Campuses and colleges share courses across the campuses of Penn State. Since 2003 the Digital Learning Cooperative has been providing a central resource for course sharing. A description of the Digital Learning Cooperative is available on the Weblearning @ Penn State page. The Digital Learning Cooperative is found online at: http://dlc.psu.edu
A Box folder with the list of course sharing plans for the academic year can be found here. (This folder is only accessible to those with a Penn State account: Shared Academic Programs Course Sharing Planning Documents
The Digital Learning Cooperative is designed to:
- ensure that campuses are able to offer courses to resident students, even when there are only a few students interested in a particular course at a particular location;
- create effective and efficient policies and procedures for online course sharing across the University;
- identify and promote the availability of online courses to receiving colleges;
- determine the immediate and long-term needs for online courses within the University; and
- work with appropriate administrators and academic officers to insure that procedures and policies facilitate course exchange listings and appropriate revenue transactions.
Types of Course Sharing
Individual course sharing efforts
Campuses and other scheduling units (including departments at University Park) may share individual courses as there is a desire to share capacity, or if there is a short term request on the part of other locations. This type of sharing often occurs to support enrollment challenges that are the result of curricular changes, short term enrollment pattern changes, limited run courses, or when a hard to offer specialized course is needed.
Course sharing initiatives
Course sharing initiatives include a wide range of multi-semester course offering plans. These initiatives may include multi-location partnerships around increasing the number and variety of courses that are available to students across Penn State locations. These efforts have leveraged specialized expertise by faculty at the delivering location, or may be part of a strategic effort to serve regional course demand. It is recommended that a course sharing agreement be established for course sharing efforts that span more than two academic semesters.
Shared programs are programs that have been designed to be delivered as a consortia across locations, in addition to the originally sponsoring college or campus. Details about how programs are approved and the principles of joint partnership or consortia programs can be found in the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. A formal Memorandum of Understanding between partner locations is required when developing a shared program.
Shared Academic Programs:
- Leverage centrally-support resources to allow for program-level consistencies in course design and faculty development.
- Provide resident students a broader range of curricular options and richer experiences as they engage with students and faculty from at least one campus outside of their home campus.
- Combine online, resident, and hybrid courses into a flexible, cohesive, intentional curriculum developed and delivered by faculty.
A successful shared academic degree program operates as one program across academic partners and is delivered across geographic locations. The curriculum is evaluated based on standards applied to all academic programs, and learning outcomes are the same for shared and stand alone programs.
In 2015, a Task Force was formed to define Shared Academic Programs and the key features of Shared Programs. The report produced by the Task Force on Shared Academic Programs can be found at the following link:
Establishing a Course Sharing Agreement
- Course sharing agreements require sign off by campus academic officers and the Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean before implementation.
- Course sharing proposals are intended to provide long-term course sharing plans that allow students to move through their Penn State program of study in the most efficient manner possible.
- Course sharing proposals should focus primarily on the shared courses offered via the Digital Learning Cooperative. Participating campuses retain the autonomy to offer residential sections of courses to their students.
- Course sharing proposals ensure that a shared section of an identified course will be available to other locations. Ensuring availability of courses allows for reliance on course offerings from other locations.
- While the Course Sharing Agreements outline required course sharing to other campuses, local Campus Academic Officers retain authority to set and manage their local campus schedules.
- Campuses must commit to multi-semester sharing schedules as the availability of the courses is critical to sharing. All course agreements must have exit arranges for the departure of a sharing partner within the Course Sharing Agreement.
Course Sharing Agreements
- Course Sharing Agreements are documented via a memorandum of understanding (MOU). These plans are kept on file by the Director of Collaborative Programs. This MOU has signoff from each of the participating Campus Academic Officers or Associate Dean. A template of the MOU is available from the OVPCC Academic Office.
- Shared Course Agreements provide documentation about the purpose of the agreement, as well as document the commitment to providing the courses over a multi-year period. A predictable schedule is critical for student schedule planning purposes.
- Shared Course plans are designed to maximize student flexibility in their progress within Penn State programs. Students who are classified as residential students is the primary focus of these plans.
Course Sharing Schedules
- Course sharing plans are to be reviewed each Fall for the upcoming academic year. It is recommended that a two year sharing plan, or a multi-year course sharing rotation be developed by the consortia.
- Program Coordinators work with the consortia Chief Academic Officers and local Registrars or department schedulers to finalize the course sharing schedule.
- Course schedules are to be determined advance of the course schedule due date established by the Office of the University Registrar.
- Courses shared between campuses must be entered into the Digital Learning Cooperative in order to manage the seat reservation process.