Consumer & Personal Finance Course Management Guide

Higher Education Partners

This section of the knowledgebase provides an overview of managing the course for higher education partners, and, in particular, higher education personnel, who directly support the faculty teaching the course and enrolled students.

Course Materials

Prior to the start of a course offering, program staff revise the syllabus for teaching faculty, adjusting due dates in alignment with the academic calendar. Staff then provide the syllabus to the faculty for inclusion in their online course site.

CUNY SPS holds multiple sections of the course each semester, and recommends that course start dates, course end dates, and due dates for major assignments are consistent across all sections.

It has also been CUNY SPS’s policy to provide a coursepack, on loan, to every student enrolled in the course. CUNY SPS staff are responsible for securing copyright permissions for readings within the coursepacks and for ordering the coursepacks to distribute to students.

CUNY SPS recommends the services of the Copyright Clearance Center for copyright permissions.4 Please see Resources for a complete list of copyrighted readings that are a part of the coursepack.

Working with Course Stakeholders: Faculty

As part of their responsibilities in teaching the course, faculty report back to program staff on a weekly basis about students who are falling behind in the course. For the purposes of reporting and tracking students’ progress, faculty report if students do not submit the following assignments: lesson activity packs, midterm project, and/or the final.

With this information, program staff create reports that are emailed to designated high school personnel, who can follow up directly with students. Please see Resources for a sample Lesson Activity Tracking Report.

Working with Course Stakeholders: High School Personnel

CUNY SPS recommends educating the high school liaison on his/her role in the course, and on expectations for student learning.

Each semester, CUNY SPS issues a course expectations letter—please see Resources for an example of a Course Expectations Letter that outlines responsibilities of the high school liaison, responsibilities of the students, and benefits in taking the course.

If possible, program staff should set up a phone call or meeting with the high school liaison in order to review expectations for students who are taking the course.

Program staff can also establish a mid-semester check-in call with the high school liaison to report on student issues and identify students who may be struggling ahead of the withdraw deadline for the institution.

See the high school personnel section of this knowledgebase for our recommended model of student support.

Working with Course Stakeholders: Students

Program staff interact with students in a number of ways.

Student Orientation

Orientations are scheduled collaboratively with high school personnel. Program staff reach out about scheduling orientations at a mutually convenient time. Usually, orientations are held onsite at the students’ high schools.

CUNY SPS highly recommends an in-person orientation in order to familiarize students with the course, share best practices in online learning, and demonstrate access to the online course site. As the course is offered fully online, the orientation may be the only opportunity to get in front of students, and answer questions that they may have.

Students also receive information about troubleshooting technical issues they may have during the course; at CUNY SPS, for instance, there is a help desk where students are referred.

At the orientation session, students also receive their loaned coursepacks, a copy of the syllabus, and key academic policies of the institution.

See Resources for CUNY SPS’s orientation slides. 

Support throughout a Course

After a course has begun, program staff can expect that students will reach out to them for technical assistance and/or contact information for their instructor. Program staff can facilitate these conversations, and should encourage students to contact their faculty for more information.

Program staff can also support the course by employing the following student retention strategies:

  • Providing lesson activity reports, as described on the previous page
  • Scheduling a mid-semester check-in with faculty. The mid-semester check-in should ideally take place before the institution’s withdraw period.
  • Scheduling time to review students’ progress in the course with high school personnel
  • Acting proactively on student issues as they are identified.

Evaluation and Reporting

Program staff also play a critical role in monitoring course the quality of the course. Every faculty teaching the course receives a faculty observation by a peer faculty member. The peer faculty is enrolled in the teaching faculty’s online course site for one week, and observes his/her teaching.

In addition, student evaluations are distributed near the end of a course offering, with results compiled, and reviews conducted by program staff.

CUNY SPS and College Now collect data on student completion rates for every course offering, and compile reports each academic year, comparing student outcomes by course section and by school.

In addition, HESC has its own reporting requirements, and provides instructions to institutions offering the course.


4 Copyright Clearance Center: http://www.copyright.com/