As colleges and universities look for new ways to drive innovation and improve student success, many are exploring course sharing initiatives as a way to help.

Course sharing is a strategy where two or more institutions collaborate to make their courses available to each other’s students to count for credit at their home institution. Course sharing can occur among public systems, consortia, and even individual schools that opt in to a network of shared courses. 

There are two models of course sharing in practice among higher education institutions, each supporting several variations. One version is an institutional agreement model where a home institution selects courses from a teaching institution and offers those courses to its students as though the courses were their own. 

The second approach is one that builds on existing transfer equivalencies, which simplifies the sharing agreement. This model of course sharing is also known as cross registration. Let’s take a closer look at what cross registration is and how it benefits both institutions and students.

What Is Cross Registration?

Two-year and four-year institutions alike have spent years developing and defining transfer equivalencies. Cross registration builds on these transfer equivalencies and, using technology, provides an automated enrollment, registration, and tuition experience that can even make use of a student’s financial aid.

At the core of the cross-registration model of course sharing is an up-to-date transfer articulation database for students. This searchable database of transfer equivalencies provides students with the information they need in order to determine if—and how—a course they want to take at another institution transfers to their home institution. This is important, because data shows that students who transfer courses lose up to 13 units or 43% of their credits.

Here’s how it works. Students search for a course to fulfill their degree requirement in their institution’s course exchange which includes shared courses from their home institution and other institutions in the network. They find a course and see clearly if it will count towards their degree. They select the course and register with one click. To the student, the process is seamless. They can even pay tuition, and if needed, initiate the financial aid process through the cross-registration interface.

Cross registration can work across systems and consortia through a course exchange that meets their unique needs. Even individual institutions can benefit by joining a network to build new course-sharing relationships.


What are the benefits of cross registration for the home institution?

Home institutions benefit from cross registration in a number of ways. First, they are able to offer more options for students who can’t find the course they need to stay on track. And they can do so in a way that ensures the course will transfer and count towards the student’s degree. Second, cross registration enables home institutions to provide access to courses they may not offer, such as highly-specialized courses that another institution in their network provides. And finally, by offering cross registration, they are helping students stay on track without the incremental costs associated with adding additional courses or sections to their schedule.


What are the benefits of cross registration for the teaching institution?

Teaching institutions benefit from the enrollment boost that cross registration provides. They are also able to fill empty seats and increase course utilization.


What are the benefits of cross registration for the students?

Cross registration helps students gain access to the courses they need to stay on track to on-time completion. It also helps to ensure that the course they take will count towards their degree. Or if it will not count, they know this upfront, and look for an alternative option before they put in the work. 

Finally, cross registration boosts student success. When students can take the courses they need—when they need them—they are more likely to persist and complete their degree, certificate, or program on time and on budget.


How can I get started with cross registration?

Getting started with cross registration is simple. Because the cross-registration model of course sharing builds upon existing transfer equivalencies, much of the foundational work is already complete. Implementing the right technology is important, too. It’s also important that you understand the differences between the two types of course sharing to determine which approach is right for your institution. This post outlines the institutional agreement model in more detail.  

Finally, you’ll want to understand the pitfalls that could derail your efforts. That way, you can take the appropriate steps to avoid them at all costs. 

 

Course sharing is an innovative way to address the student success challenges facing institutions today. And by understanding the different approaches, choosing the right technology, and avoiding pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to success.

About the Author

Quottly

Quottly is the largest and most comprehensive course and program sharing platform in higher education, helping institutions accelerate and boost student pathways toward degree completion.