Nicolet Area Technical College Takes Phased Approach

While every college takes a slightly unique approach to WIDS Web portal set up and institutional implementation, Nicolet Area Technical College (Nicolet), in Rhinelander, Wis., is on-board and cruising. WIDS is a Web-based curriculum design and management system allowing Nicolet to develop, edit and manage curriculum documents, including syllabi, course outcome summaries, learning plans, performance assessment tasks, assessment rubrics, and outcome assessment plans.

At Nicolet, WIDS implementation is taking a phased approach, according to Chuck Komp, Dean of Business and Institutional Effectiveness. “We elected to take five or six programs and roll them into WIDS on a pilot basis,” he says. “We used those programs to train a core group of implementers.”

After current curriculum files were uploaded to Nicolet’s WIDS Web portal, faculty were trained to link program outcomes and core abilities to the courses. When the curriculum for a set of programs was fully linked and complete, another set of programs was uploaded. “This incremental approach allows us the opportunity to verify the integrity of the curriculum data,” Komp says. “We are coming out of this process with consistent curriculum and really looking forward to the curriculum product when we are all through.”

Feedback is positive. Komp attests instructors appreciate the 24-hour accessibility offered by WIDS, as well as the levels of management control. “The problem of managing a database of files on personal computers goes away with WIDS,” says Komp. “Now users know where to locate the most current curriculum files. It’s a huge benefit.”

Ultimately, Nicolet will also revise its curriculum management processes. WIDS provides Nicolet with the ability to designate curriculum approval protocol. “We want to fully understand the levels of user permissions and flexibilities. Once we get a handle on that, we can rewrite our internal control procedures,” adds Komp.

“It used to require a lot of administrative attention and staff time to keep curriculum updated,” he says. “Nicolet will realize significant gains using the WIDS Web-based application. We will be more efficient and accurate.”