The University of California (UC) is embarking on a new initiative to leverage technology to increase student access to the high-demand, gateway courses they need to progress toward their degree. Combining innovative technology with engaging online courses created by UC faculty, UC is delivering online courses with the same high-caliber level of instruction, academics, and interactive learning with which the University has built its reputation worldwide.
Advancing with Technology
UC’s long-term plan calls for the administrative and technological infrastructure that allows UC students to enroll in online courses offered at any of the nine undergraduate campuses within the UC system, termed “cross-campus enrollment,” and the creation of a hub to facilitate the exchange of this student data across the UC campuses. The initiative is also charged with developing a centralized listing of online courses that will make it easy for students to see what and when classes are available, and what requirements each course would fulfill for them.
After a review of multiple options, and with the goal of delivering initial enrollment and data exchange capabilities in 2013, UC selected Jenzabar Higher Reach as its administrative platform for the pilot program. This platform was designed to deliver a cross-campus enrollment system in which students at any campus can easily enroll in online courses offered at other UC locations.
Jenzabar Higher Reach, designed expressly for the unique needs of online and other non-traditional higher education programs, met UC’s need for flexibility. With a single Jenzabar Higher Reach instance, UC is able to accommodate student enrollment in course offerings across multiple campuses through a single, user-friendly website. Students can easily investigate available course options and select classes to accommodate their schedule and academic needs.
“We wanted enrollment to be as simple and seamless for the students as possible,” says Adam Hochman, University of California Online Education’s Assistant Director of Technology Development. “No matter where they are, what course they’re looking at, or which campus is offering the class, we want students to be able to just enroll—as simple as that. Jenzabar Higher Reach helps make that possible.”
Prior to the pilot implementation of Jenzabar Higher Reach, cross-campus enrollment could only be accomplished through a paperwork-exchange process between student and department, campus to campus. Many students found it difficult to identify which online classes were offered across the university system. The new program essentially breaks down walls between institutions, creating a seamless, unified experience for all students. With its central online source of course information and a simpler registration process, UC’s cross-campus enrollment system allows students to access faculty expertise and curricula across the entire UC System.
In addition, Jenzabar Higher Reach has given UC the ability to do Federated Authentication. The system authenticates an enrollee as a student, and automatically captures their information and distributes it back to the central hub. This has the potential for great impact across the entire university system.
“Our main focus is always creating the best learning experience for our students while keeping the university
operations in the background,” says Hochman. “Jenzabar Higher Reach is an innovative technology
that helps make that possible.”
With the first phase successfully delivered, UC is now moving into Phase II. The University’s online course offerings are expanding, delivering additional online learning opportunities on diverse subjects, and using learning environments that provide rich educational experiences and unprecedented flexibility.
The University intends to continue streamlining cross-campus and system-wide processes and data exchange, increasing enrollment in credit-bearing online undergraduate courses, adding course wait-listing, and integrating additional innovative learning technologies, among other objectives.
“We’ve developed a long road map for this project,” says Hochman. “We’ve prioritized improving processes of data exchange through more web services, and SIS and LMS system integrations. There’s a good synergy between UC and the Jenzabar team. We’re expanding the functionality we need while providing direct input into making Jenzabar Higher Reach an even stronger online education solution. Jenzabar really understands the unique challenges of higher education.”
“We’ve asked a lot of the Jenzabar Higher Reach team and they’ve been very responsive to
our needs. Accommodating all of our different use cases is a big challenge. We’ve developed a very productive, collaborative working relationship to make it all happen.”
Assistant Director of Technology Development
University of California Online Education