• Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Two ed-tech firms group up with hopes to boost transfer


Mar 24, 2023

Parchment, a best digital transcript sharing enterprise, expanded into new territory this week by acquiring Quottly, a enterprise that sells application for course and method sharing, managing dual enrollment, and automating and streamlining transfer agreements.

Leaders of the firms say combining their operations—transcript exchanging and credit transfer—can help institutions significantly far better deal with the many moving elements of the transfer process and make students’ transition from 1 institution to 1 additional further efficient. Some higher ed experts see the move as a response to demand for a further substantial transfer management platform when some universities are using many, disparate digital tools to shepherd students by signifies of an at the moment difficult process.

Transfer students, on common, drop 43 percent of their credits, the U.S. Government Accountability Workplace situated in a 2017 report. Meanwhile, fewer than a quarter of colleges and universities share transcripts with every and just about every other electronically, according to a 2021 report by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). Only about half of colleges and universities nationwide have automated articulation recommendations governing which course credits count and are automatically applied.

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“If you have attended many colleges and possibly took some dual-enrollment courses in greater college or AP courses, to get your records collectively to make them readily offered to the college to which you are transferring—and for them to be in a position to take the time to crucial punch all of the course information, all of the credits and grades, and run it by signifies of the evaluation system—is a significant point of friction,” stated Matthew Pittinsky, CEO of Parchment. “The other is the evaluation of courses and the management of equivalencies”—which classes at 1 institution count for credit toward a precise degree at 1 additional.

Pittinsky stated transferring credits is the most prevalent objective students request digital transcripts by signifies of Parchment. He sees the acquisition as a way to tap into an “underserved technologies market” at a time when college leaders are “looking to make transfer a bigger aspect of their enrollment strategy” in response to pandemic enrollment declines.

Every single platforms will nonetheless be readily offered separately, but “they’ll have significantly far better connections amongst them, and they’ll have added capabilities mostly due to the fact of the basic capabilities of the combined organization,” he added.

Alicia Policinski, CEO and co-founder at Quottly, stated the acquisition also brings a further “seamless student sensible expertise and a seamless administrator experience” to a wider network of college and university systems and their students. The platform automates the course evaluation and approval process for administrators, and students have a dashboard precisely exactly where they can search shared and transferable courses amongst institutions. She stated the wider the network of colleges using the platform becomes, the further valuable it is.

Parchment is a juggernaut in its niche of the ed-tech planet, serving about two,800 colleges and universities in the U.S. and further than 1 hundred higher ed institutions abroad, according to its net-internet site. Quottly is a significantly smaller sized sized but rising operation, functioning with additional than 220 colleges and universities, which contains the Montana University Approach, the University Approach of Maryland and California Virtual Campus.

Policinski stated she wishes the institutions she attended had access to this application when she was a transfer student.

“I ended up taking an added year of college mostly due to the fact I miscounted 1 course,” she stated. “Tuition wasn’t economical. It was a extremely very-priced error on my aspect.”

Sarah Zauner, executive director of the Ada Center, which advises higher ed institutions on selections about technologies, stated colleges badly have to have “viable technologies tools that comprehensively aid student transfer,” presented the maze of piecemeal selections at present readily offered to deal with several elements of the process.

“Right now, most colleges and universities use a mixture of a degree audit, degree planner, a separate transfer database, the world-wide-web sites of other institutions, often a digital credential service like Parchment, and possibly a transfer workflow tool to help students navigate pathways across institutions,” she stated in an e-mail. “Nearly everyone at an institution would inform you these disconnected application tools reinforce student confusion (and pricey errors) on the path to transfer.”

She believes the acquisition is a “signal that the private sector is realizing there is unmet have to have in the field for a further holistic tactic to assisting institutions (and students) with a significantly far better tactic to designing pathways across institutions.”

Even even though that is “good news,” she added that technologies can only do so significantly when institution-level transfer policies keep convoluted and decentralized. Commonly faculty members are evaluating courses, academic advisers are guiding students and administrators are producing the higher-level policy selections. Meanwhile, students, not getting conscious of precisely exactly where to go for information, turn to the net.

“The challenge ideal right here is you are dealing with a lot of messy policies and practices, and technologies can sort of ratify these and codify that messiness, but it can not repair it,” she stated.

John Fink, senior evaluation associate at the Neighborhood College Evaluation Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, agreed these tools are valuable, “but it essentially comes down to how they’re implemented.” They can present huge “efficiency gains,” but they’re not a panacea.

“What’s hard, and what I do not really feel there’s a technological repair for, is the process of colleges functioning with students early on, even as a aspect of recruitment, to really feel and system and uncover what they’re interested and know which courses greatest align to these ambitions so students are not just taking courses that will be accepted at a university, for instance, but they’re taking the correct courses,” he stated. “It requirements advising, method alignment, further human-process sorts of things.”

Policinski stated technologies can not replace enhancing institutional and state transfer policies, but it can help.

She noted that Quottly’s platform tends to make it significantly less tricky for academic advisers to properly and accurately guide students, and students can track how the courses they’ve taken, or will take, at 1 institution count toward a precise degree method at 1 additional.

“What we situated is that the technologies demands to carry out in aid of these policy improvements that states are enacting,” such as instituting statewide assured transfer pathways, she stated. “We’re in a position to essentially method the excellent policy carry out that is becoming performed into the application for the benefit of students, as effectively as administrators.”

Pittinsky stated transfer policy possibilities only carry out if universities have the technologies to implement them. Notably, colleges can not give “consistent” or “timely” answers to students about what course credits count devoid of a centralized database of which courses are equivalent to every and just about every other amongst institutions.

“We could stroll by signifies of every and just about every of the places precisely exactly where I really feel most persons would say transfer need to definitely just carry out significantly far better, and there is a technologies element,” he stated.

He sees the offerings of Parchment and Quottly as an instance.

Combining tools for transcript exchange and “taking the info that are inside of transcripts and assisting students further properly transfer and … get to their degree faster and at a lower value,” he stated, “we just really feel is a essentially thrilling mixture.”

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