The eLumen Connect Blog will periodically post news releases, partner and company info, articles on curriculum and assessment management, student success trends, and more.
eLumen is a higher ed curriculum and assessment management system that gives real insight into each student's engagement and success, while satisfying the growing demands of accreditation and other compliance mandates.
Karen Rothstein, PhD eLumen Vice President of Strategy and Research
While many institutions are rightfully focused on the here and now (Guided Pathways and Remediation Reform, anyone?), the next big “thing” is right around the corner…or, if you are EDUCAUSE, right on the horizon. Every year, EDUCAUSE gathers a panel of experts and thought leaders to reflect on educational technology successes, works in progress, and trends, with the results published in the Horizon Report 2019 Higher Education Edition. While I strongly recommend reading the full document, below are a few highlights.
The report separates keys trends that can affect a college’s technology into three categories: short-, mid-, and long-term (Alexander et al., 2019, p. 5). Common across all trends is the ongoing evolution of how institutions support learning, from creating dynamic physical spaces to fostering innovation to ever increasing use of online delivery of content. One of the most critical components to innovation and change is the “and now what” phase…also known as evaluation, reflection, and continued modification. Integrated data are at the heart of these types of conversations to advance innovation to scale. Institutional change requires institutional technology platforms that provide these types of data, while also documenting change in a simple, user-friendly interface. eLumen empowers colleges to engage in this crucial work by being the first platform to integrate fully curriculum and assessment. This approach allows colleges to have a seamless workflow that uses assessment data to drive program planning, which then leads to curricular and program change, which leads to implementation of innovation, which leads to collecting new data…you get the idea.
Then of course there are the challenges facing colleges as they adopt and implement technology. Several of the challenges discussed in the report revolve around building capacity and knowledge for both faculty and students (Alexander et al., 2019, p. 5). Embedded within this is the ongoing issue of how best to include part-time faculty. As we all know, part-time faculty are crucial to providing a full schedule that meets the needs of students, yet they are often left out of the conversation and the last to know. Here again institutional change requires an institutional platform that is easily accessible to all employees to ensure they are included and informed. Because eLumen is a single, integrated system that allows for easy sharing of information, timelines, and updates, as well as all things curriculum and assessment, faculty, administrators, and staff can be confident that the information they access in eLumen is accurate and timely.
So there you have it…a very quick glimpse into how eLumen supports these trends via continuous improvement processes and helps resolve these challenges by providing efficient, accurate information to the entire college. Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss eLumen and the Horizon report in more detail. As anyone who has met me in real life knows, I’m passionate about exciting, big-idea solutions!
Minneapolis / Salt Lake City –
April 17, 2019 – eLumen, the world’s first ever fully integrated curriculum and
assessment management software provider, announced today their partnership with
Coursetune, a blueprinting software for visualizing curriculum design. This
partnership provides eLumen partner institutions with an interactive way to
identify curriculum gaps and alignment at-a-glance and provides Coursetune
institutions with comprehensive curriculum and catalog workflow management
fully integrated with outcomes assessment, strategic planning, and student
“From the time we started at eLumen, we have
believed that the foundation of a great learning experience is a well-designed
curriculum. Partnering with Coursetune allows our institutions to deepen their
engagement with backwards design and constructive alignment while leveraging
the power of eLumen to support sustainable continuous improvement and program
development (and review),” said Joel Hernandez, eLumen CEO. “This opens doors
for collaboration and transparency that just haven’t been available before—we
couldn’t be more excited about what this makes possible for our institutions.”
“The ability to provide customers with an
end-to-end system for designing curriculum, cataloging, and assessing, is
exactly the type of big-picture goal we aim for at Coursetune. We are pleased
to see this goal come about in our partnership with eLumen, which has been
successfully championing this vision around the world, with quality higher
education solutions,” said Dr. Maria Andersen, Coursetune CEO. “The more we can
help educators ensure high quality curriculum design and continuous improvement
of that curriculum, the better the value and outcomes for students.”
Coursetune provides highly visual
blueprints of the requirements and strategy behind quality course design.
Planning first in Coursetune helps teams identify curriculum gaps, prepare for
accreditation, communicate program vision, and create higher quality learner experiences. Coursetune enables educators and administrators to collaborate
effectively on the complex alignment process necessary before creating syllabi,
lessons, activities, assessments, or multi-media content, for face-to-face,
online or blended learning.
eLumen is the first ever fully integrated system to support curriculum and catalog, assessment and program review, ed planning, badging, career pathway maps, and more! eLumen workflows feed performance and disaggregated data to those who need it – academic leadership, institutional research, faculty, and students. Only eLumen can help manage all these processes in one platform that also connects with your SIS and LMS, allowing you to accomplish what you need to do so you can focus on what you want to do. eLumen supports some of the most innovative colleges and universities across the globe.
Karen Rothstein, PhD eLumen Vice President of Strategy and Research
April is Community College
month, and I kicked off my celebrations by attending two very different
conferences: The RP Conference and The HLC Conference. Though region, focus,
and attendees were quite different, one theme reverberated…change. AACC’s
Community College Daily recently had a short and powerful article on
what happens when institutions, whether academic or business, ignore change.
The opening line says it all, “Colleges do not fail because of competition,
environmental changes or even declining or changing student demographics.
Colleges fail when leadership ignores warning signs and becomes paralyzed by
tradition or ignorance” (Sygielski, 2019).
Having now had many hats
in education…instructor, dean, researcher, and now VP in the private sector…I
find myself asking all the time, “Why is change so hard?” Sure, change can be
scary but also exhilarating; it’s a potent moment of opportunity and growth. Though
for many it is also a gaping chasm of possible mistakes and regret: “What if I’m
doing it wrong?” “Will I get fired?” “What if the way it was is better than the
way it will be?”
So, here’s the thing. It’s
rarely as great as you remember it…those glory days. Like an 80s glamor shot,
we often smudge the lens in our strolls down memory lane. While a picture taken
with your pink Le Clic camera may capture a moment of unbridled happiness, one
data point does not a trend make. Lucky for us, we have decades of educational
data that show the good old days weren’t always good (equity gaps anyone?) and
tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.
As we have heard again and again, there are aspects of higher education that need to change. Closing opportunity gaps. Increasing completion rates. Streamlining the student experience. Most would agree that these changes will help students, but rarely are faculty, classified professionals, and administrators given the training necessary to implement change. I know for some of you a deep understanding of change management may seem like a “duh” moment. But I can tell you from my own experience, and what I hear from colleagues in the educational system, there is a struggle with how to implement change…any change. If this is you, please read on for a quick summary of Kotter’s (2019) eight steps of change management through an education lens. If you already are a pro at change management, awesome…and please share the love with your colleagues!
Create a Sense of Urgency and Build a Guiding Coalition
For many institutions,
especially community colleges, creating a sense of urgency has been taken care
of by events like legislation or funding formula changes. Urgency…check. And if
you hold an “informational” meeting, you’ll find your coalition of the willing
as well as those who were voluntold relatively easily. So far so good.
Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives
Well, the institution
vision is already there in the form of an Educational or Strategic Master Plan.
The initiatives are often also in place due to legislative urgency. But here’s
where things start to get tricky. People may not agree with the initiatives. They
don’t feel heard. They don’t understand why things are changing. They feel that
the changes are a direct attack on the hard work they do every day. This is
where constant, consistent communication is key. And it must be bi-directional,
active, and widespread: newsletters, updates at any and all meetings, brown-bag
lunches, and professional development seminars. Any time a group of employees
meet, make updates about change a priority. In addition, a transparent process
to collect feedback, process it, and send a response out to the college is also
crucial. It’s fine to have opportunities for individuals to speak, but if
nothing happens or there is no acknowledgement of their voices, the process is
hollow and insincere. You’ll know you’ve done it right when someone in a
meeting says she didn’t know about something and several people say, “Oh…it was
in the email. I’ll forward it to you.”
Enlist a Volunteer Army and Enable Action by Removing
communication machine is humming. It’s time to grow the choir. Institutions
often stumble at enlisting the volunteer army and removing barriers. The
assumption may be that you have told everyone what you are doing in multiple
formats, so let’s hop to it. This is what we need to do so let’s just get it
done. Nope, there is still work to do to create compelling reasons for
individuals to volunteer as well as acknowledgement of barriers. Ensuring that
all members of the college community can participate actively in the change is one
step. This may mean offering professional development activities multiple times
so faculty who are teaching or classified professionals who are scheduled to
work can have the opportunity to attend. Have the choir bring a colleague to an
event to help grow your base. If a college sees certain constituent groups are
not attending events, do a formative assessment to gather data on why and make
Generate Short-Term Wins
This is another area where
institutions can flounder. There is often such a focus on the long-term goal
that people are frustrated by the slow pace. In that frustration, people fail
to acknowledge the daily good work and the incremental steps large-scale change
requires. So, widely distribute and celebrate the wins…increases in fall to
spring persistence, calling 500 students and having them avoid being dropped
for non-payment, the beautiful new landscaping in the quad; the amazing handout
the History department developed outlining their program road map. It’s easy to
point out all the ways something is not going the way you planned…but it’s also
just as easy, and infinitely more inspiring, to highlight all the ways things
are going right. Create a culture of celebration!
So you have this great
momentum going, the boulder is starting to roll…how do you keep it going? This
is where deep, thoughtful, meaningful evaluation is so important. Evaluating
the efficacy of changes you’ve made, reflecting on the data, and then continuing
to fine tune or apply your success to a different area. Always with an eye on
how progress can be implemented institution-wide. This is where assessment and
program planning are key tools. Collect data from formative assessments and
modify as you go along. Move from retroactive assessment to in-time
“remediation” for the institution’s interventions and programs. Colleges want
to offer timely assistance to students when they hit a bump in the road, with
the right tools, you can do the same thing for your institution.
And once you have the data
from assessment and documentation from program reviews and curricular changes,
the college is ready to grow the change. What worked? What didn’t? What can we
make bigger? What do we let go? This is the good stuff…the opportunity to see
the progress you’ve made, honor the work that’s been done, and focus on the
excitement of the future. Change goes from a place of fear to a place of
So that’s it…my Cliff’s
Notes for change management. As a former English teacher, I find that analogy a
smidge distasteful, but if the yellow-covered pamphlet fits…
Sygielski, J.J. (2019, April 4). Failure is a choice we make. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://www.ccdaily.com.
Based in Atlanta, Megan Blevins has been with eLumen since
2015. Having utilized eLumen as an Instructional Technologist at Hartnell
College in Salinas, California, Megan was excited to join eLumen’s team of innovators
with a shared vision of enhancing education practices designed to improve
student success. What really spoke to her was – having been a 13+ year military
spouse and moving around a lot – the idea of student engagement resources such
as badging, portfolios, and extended transcript so she could easily demonstrate
learning outcomes and skills attainment for teaching certification when moving
from state to state. As a member of the
eLumen customer success team, Megan works with a number of partner institutions
on adoption, implementation, and ongoing use of eLumen.
What are 3 words you would use to describe eLumen?
Dynamic – we’re at the forefront of trends in education and driven by student success
Comprehensive – our solution supports a continuous improvement cycle and getting to the goal of successful students and showing the work that schools are doing to meet this goal
Supportive – eLumen really takes all the components of cycle and gives you the tools you need all in a single system, and has a rock star customer success team!
What three words would you use to describe your role?
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
My family and I love and adore being outside – camping,
hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing. We have three small kids,
and we’re are trying to raise them as digital natives that are disconnected
from their technology; we are a limited screen time family that strives to unplug
and go outside. We actually spent a couple months living the “Tiny House” life
in our camper, traveling around Utah and the Grand Canyon, home schooling the
kids. It was an amazing educational experience!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Aside from raising three tiny humans, I would have to say
summitting Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, back-to-back, with a 20-mile bike ride in
between, while pregnant! Although, I was only a month pregnant and didn’t know
it at the time.
are you currently reading?
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children by Matthew Kelly.
What is your go-to Karaoke song?
Journey’s “Can’t Stop Believing.”
What is most rewarding about your job here at eLumen; what makes it all worthwhile?
I love it when I’m working with a school and as they get excited about using the software, they realize they now have support for something they didn’t have support for before and can now reach their own goals.
Karen Rothstein, PhD eLumen Vice President of Strategy and Research
Customers. More specifically…customers and the business of education. There I said it. Wait…don’t leave…Don’t click on that video of the autotuned cat just yet. Give me a chance.
I recently attended the American Council on Education (ACE) Conference
in Philadelphia. While the video I took of the room where Alexander Hamilton
attended the Constitutional Convention thrilled my son (thank you again Lin
Manuel-Miranda), I was quite inspired after attending a session entitled “The
New Student Is Taking Control—Are You Ready?” Jon Connolly, President, Sussex
County Community College (NJ) Maura Devlin, Deputy Chief Learning Officer, The
American Women’s College, Bay Path University (MA) and Scott Jaschik, Editor,
Inside Higher Ed, had a lively discussion on the intersection of academics,
business practices, and student success.
What exactly does it mean to apply business practices to student
success? At one school, the due dates of assignments are used as part of a
retention intervention. In all online classes, the first assignment is due the
Thursday of the first week of classes. On Friday, the school reaches out to
students who are enrolled in the online class but have not submitted the
assignment to remind them that they can submit the assignment by Monday to stay
enrolled in the class. This reminder engages the student, showing that the
college cares that she missed her first assignment and will check in on her. If
the student has not submitted the work by Monday, the student is dropped from
the class and does not risk missing the deadline for drop or incurring fees for
a class she did not intend to take. While some faculty may find the idea of a
mandatory deadline for assignments an infringement on academic freedom,
consider the task being asked of colleges…put in place policies and procedures
that help students succeed. How do you balance the purview of faculty with a
zero-cost policy change that has huge potential to help students?
Another conversation on many community college campuses is how do
you incentivize students to take 15 units rather than 12. One institutional
obstacle is the cost of the additional units, since financial aid kicks in at
12 units and students may not be able to afford 15. So, what is the business
practice solution? Don’t charge students
for the additional three units…that’s the policy of one panelist’s school. Of
course, this is easier said than done, and a school must navigate the process,
but the pay off in time saved for students and potential increases in
attainment rates should be enough to make it a strategy worth exploring.
As is my way, when it came time for questions my hand shot up, and
I asked about the dreaded phrase “customer service” and why there is so much
tension around that concept. The panel clarified the negativity around the idea
of customer service in that it is often synonymous with “the customer is always
right.” Visions of disgruntled students inundating
a faculty member’s or dean’s office flooded my brain as I imagined what would
happen if a school adopted that type of customer service. To me, customer
service is about doing your best to help an individual solve the problem at
hand. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t…but you try your hardest. It never
occurred to me to think of customer service as the customer always being right.
It reinforced the importance of sharing common definitions and understandings
of concepts. I certainly would have ruffled fewer feathers in my time as an
administrator if I made myself clearer.
In the end, the “C” word isn’t all bad. There are practices and policies schools can adopt and adapt from business that will help them best serve their students including streamlining processes and increasing integration of student services and academics. I’d be happy to share examples of how I’ve seen this approach work at schools and specifically how the eLumen platform can boost institutional “customer” support. And if colleges want to effect institutional change, they may want to look to other industries for inspiration. As we often say of our students…we don’t know what we don’t know. I believe both the autotuned cat and Hamilton would agree with me.
Based in the LA area with her husband and two daughters, Melissa Kibrick has been with eLumen since 2014. With a background in mastery-based learning and a keen interest in education technology, Melissa was drawn to the innovative solution eLumen provides to support integrated processes to advance student success and continuous improvement in higher education. As a member of our Customer Success Team, Melissa works with a number of partner institutions in the U.S. and Mexico on the adoption, implementation and ongoing use of eLumen. Prior to joining eLumen, Melissa earned a B.S. and B.A. in Cognitive Science in Human Cognition and Human Development at University of California, San Diego, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Education at University of California, Irvine.
Before working at eLumen what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
In high school my very first job was a junior tax preparer. At 17-years-old I was doing other people’s taxes!
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Our whole family does Karate. I have a black belt in Tang Soo Do, which is what Chuck Norris practices. Currently I have a 1st degree black belt and am hoping to achieve 2nd degree in March 2019. Our older daughter is a blue belt. We’ve been practicing Karate for almost 9 years. Our oldest daughter started before she was 3-years-old, and my youngest just started. I’m so proud of how hard they work and the strength and confidence karate helped them develop.
Do you have a special talent?
I have gotten very flexible practicing Karate. I can now cross all my fingers and all my toes!!
What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Summer of ‘69,” Bryan Adams.
What are 3 words you would use to describe eLumen?
Innovative –our solution allows for innovative approaches for supporting student success initiatives at each individual institution
Fast-paced – we are moving at breakneck speed to stay abreast of changes in higher education
Systemic – our platform supports systemic needs in higher education
What is most rewarding about your job here at eLumen; what makes it all worthwhile?
I get to figure out workflow solutions every day, and that’s always been something that I’ve loved doing – puzzle solving. When a client comes to me with a great idea, I love figuring out how to make it happen in eLumen.
Karen Rothstein, PhD
eLumen Vice President of Strategy and Research
When I first became a teacher, during the 90s tech boom, some people were incredulous at my starting salary…an amount that was probably 1/10 a typical annual bonus. I could see the look on their faces…Why on earth would you go into education? And then I would ask, “Tell me about your favorite teacher.” Without missing a beat, she would launch into a fond tale about Ms. Stacey, who always found a way to make algebra fun using silly voices or Mr. Jennings who would pepper his history lecture with anecdotes about his own trials as a student. The fact that 30 years later a former student may regale friends with stories of her crazy English teacher Ms. Rothstein who would crawl under a desk to illustrate prepositions and recite Shakespearean soliloquies so dramatically that even Linda Evans would be impressed. That’s why I went into education.
After being a high school teacher, an adjunct professor, an institutional research analyst, and a Dean, I’m now asked…Why on earth would you become a vendor? Without missing a beat, I launch into my experience in meetings where we would discuss all the wonderful things we wanted to do for students and how we need to become a student-ready college. The “what” was exciting and inspiring. The “how”…well…um…yeaaah…we’re not quite sure how. How do we let students know their progress along their educational journeys? How do we provide accurate information about programs and course requirements? How do we let students know they are learning? How can we let potential employers know the skills our graduates have? Then I learned about a company that can help colleges answer all of these questions and empower students to make informed choices. That’s why I joined eLumen.
One of my “duties as assigned” is to write an ongoing blog. As a former English teacher and parenting blogger, I’m very excited to use this part of my brain once again. Please check back regularly to discuss what’s happening in the California Community College system as well as educational systems across the country. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and hope you will as well. There’s quite a bit of change afoot and plenty of fodder for rich discussion. Pathways, promises, and funding…oh my! Plus, I use words like “afoot” and “fodder,” that’s got to be worth something?
Minneapolis, January 15, 2019 – eLumen is pleased to announce that Bill White has joined the team as Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Eastern US. Prior to joining eLumen, Bill served most recently in the role of Strategic Account Executive with Blackboard and was responsible for overall account management and strategy for higher education in the state of Florida. Before that, Bill was the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO at Valencia College for 17 years. In this role, Bill provided strategic and operational leadership for Valencia’s information technology services and initiatives supporting multiple campus locations in central Florida.
Prior to Valencia College, Bill was a CIO at SunGard Education and served as Director of the Computer Center at Rockford College. Bill has also provided leadership to and has served on a number of state, regional, and national organizations, including EDUCAUSE, the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), the Florida State College CIO Council, the Florida Association of Educational Data Systems (FAEDS), and the Florida Society for Information Management (SIM). Bill graduated from Rockford University, majoring in Computer Science and Business Administration.
In his new role at eLumen, Bill will be responsible for authoring and executing on our regional go-to-market strategy; most importantly, Bill will be working with institutions in the evaluation and subsequent implementation of our integrated platform for curriculum management, outcomes assessment, program review, and digital catalog.
Minneapolis, December 14, 2018 – eLumen is proud to announce that Dr. Karen Rothstein will be joining the executive team as the Vice President of Strategy and Research. With a career in education that spans more than 20 years, Karen believes in the power of education to transform the lives of individuals. Her professional background includes educational administrator, research analyst, college professor, and high school English teacher. Most recently, Karen was the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Moorpark College and served as the President of the Board of Directors for the RP Group, the professional organization for Researchers and Planners in the California community college system. She received her PhD and MA from UCLA in Education: Human Development & Psychology and her BA from SUNY Geneseo in English.
Karen is deeply passionate about student equity and the urgency of shifting the paradigm from “college-ready students” to “student-ready colleges.” Her extensive experience in team leadership, strategic planning, and developing programs and services across educational segments positions her well as a collaborator with eLumen partner schools in ensuring feature sets align with practical application. With a “yes and” attitude and a high-touch approach, she strives to understand what outcomes institutions are trying to achieve and how to build the program that gets them there. Additionally, in her role as Vice President of Strategy and Research at eLumen, Karen will track and define education trends around curriculum, assessment, co-remediation, competency-based education, and guided pathways, and develop and deepen relationships with regional, national, and global education associations.
eLumen, the leading provider of software and services built to power student learning and success, announced today that the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) has selected eLumen to provide an integrated solution to help the District with accreditation, curriculum and catalog, program review and planning, and student learning outcomes. eLumen was CCCCD’s choice thanks to its seamless integration, consistent interface, and easy data interchange and exchange, allowing the District to address emerging needs for Guided Pathways and Chancellor Oakley’s Vision for Success while eliminating inefficiencies resulting from non-integrated systems.
Dr. Fred Wood, Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor, explained why eLumen was their choice for student and institutional success by stating, “As a complex organization of three colleges with similar and yet unique needs, we wanted a partner that would help us with the challenges from such initiatives as AB705, Guided Pathways, shifting funding formulas, etc.”
We were seeking a single solution to encompass all of our needs from Program Review, Student Learning Outcomes and the Course/Scheduling approval processes. eLumen stood out as the only provider that could address all of these needs in a single platform. — Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, Executive Vice Chancellor
CCCCD’s colleges, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, and Los Medanos College, had been laboring through manual processes and disparate systems to manage college and district level curriculum and student learning outcomes assessment management, strategic program planning and review and reporting processes. The colleges and district look forward to integrated workflow processes within eLumen’s platform, saving time and resources so that more focus can be spent on making informed decisions on program improvements and student progress.
“We were seeking a single solution to encompass all of our needs from Program Review, Student Learning Outcomes and the Course/Scheduling approval processes. eLumen stood out as the only provider that could address all of these needs in a single platform,” says Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, Executive Vice Chancellor, Education and Technology at CCCCD.
About Contra Costa Community College District
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez. For more information visit http://www.4cd.edu/default.aspx
eLumen is a globally recognized innovative curriculum and assessment management platform that supports integrated workflow across multiple academic processes. Whether workforce alignment, accreditation demands, or curriculum redesign, you need to start the design of your courses and programs with competencies and learning outcomes in mind. eLumen lets you build your curriculum around your learning outcomes and integrate them seamlessly with outcomes assessment and program review, letting you “close the loop” like no other partner can. Our configurable course and program design workflows let you manage every type of curriculum, while also designing Guided Pathways, Transfer Programs, and other important curriculum management functions.
Additionally eLumen’s catalog module works in tandem with curriculum management to provide seamless updates to approved courses and requirements for online catalog posting via a robust curriculum map tool, eliminating the manual work of catalog updates—and opening the possibility of ed plan and advising integration. Our Catalog feature integrates with labor market data so students can make informed decisions on course selection; additional student engagement resources include badging, portfolios, and extended transcripts. For more information visit www.elumenconnect.com