AHEA

Case Study

CHALLENGES

  • Inefficiencies associated with using disparate SIS, CRM, and LMS systems
  • Lack of single, versatile platform to foster collaboration around the world
  • Discontinuation of student and faculty mobility due to COVID-19 pandemic

SOLUTIONS

InspirED_transparent
BlendED_transparent
CollaboratED_transparent
ConnectED_transparent

RESULTS

  • Provides students and faculty global perspective during pandemic and beyond
  • Delivers the world’s first professional engagement solution for higher education
  • Provides the only cloud-based platform with a fully integrated SIS, CRM, and LMS
CS-AHEA-Laptop

Meet The Client

American Higher Education Alliance (AHEA) is a nonprofit focused on the issues and opportunities facing higher education, including the globalization of education, virtual learning, collaboration, student success, and lifelong learning. Its mission is to support colleges and universities in institutional effectiveness and growth, promote the collaboration of faculty and curriculum development, facilitate programmatic internationalization, and implement best-practice student engagement strategies.

The organization’s goal is to lower the barriers to global education through content, connection, and leadership. AHEA supports institutions of higher education so they can expand their footprint and make a greater impact in their students’ academic and career success.

AHEA provides methodologies, services, and tools to enable teaching, learning, educational diversity, and equality. The result is a highly skilled, productive graduate and lifelong learner who impacts their field while earning a competitive wage.

CS-AHEA-Laptop

Meet The Client

American Higher Education Alliance (AHEA) is a nonprofit focused on the issues and opportunities facing higher education, including the globalization of education, virtual learning, collaboration, student success, and lifelong learning. Its mission is to support colleges and universities in institutional effectiveness and growth, promote the collaboration of faculty and curriculum development, facilitate programmatic internationalization, and implement best-practice student engagement strategies.

The organization’s goal is to lower the barriers to global education through content, connection, and leadership. AHEA supports institutions of higher education so they can expand their footprint and make a greater impact in their students’ academic and career success.

AHEA provides methodologies, services, and tools to enable teaching, learning, educational diversity, and equality. The result is a highly skilled, productive graduate and lifelong learner who impacts their field while earning a competitive wage.

Challenges

AHEA sought to build an international network of institutions to enhance students’ learning experiences and support faculty development through academic diversity, cross-cultural interaction, and critical thinking. Up to that time attempts to internationalize campuses across the United States had been met with varying degrees of success. Lack of infrastructure, budget, processes, and direction were partly to blame. However, the real challenge stemmed from the absence of a software platform that was intuitive and versatile enough to use at colleges and universities around the world.

From the onset, AHEA’s executive team realized they’d need to have custom software built to meet its vision of providing education for all. “We wanted a way for faculty to network and collaborate – and then parlay that into student learning, using a single, unified solution,” says Karli Grant, Interim President of AHEA.

Karli Grant

“Deciding to partner with Tower was easy. They understood how crucial it was to deliver one all-inclusive platform. Currently there’s a consortium of institutions toggling between 48 different technologies to engage in online learning. We knew there had to be better way.”

- Karli Grant, Interim CEO of AHEA
AHEA-Shield

In 2017, the nonprofit’s leadership began the search for a technology partner that would best fit the organization’s specific criteria. They wanted to partner with a team of technology experts who were nimble, entrepreneurial, and equally passionate about AHEA’s mission.

For AHEA to successfully build an international learning community, it needed a solid and flexible platform to help colleges and universities address their biggest challenges. This included facilitating internationalization, improving enrollment management and student success, and enabling faculty engagement – a need often left unaddressed. The solution also had to be intuitive enough to foster cross-collaboration with institutions around the world. Enter Tower Education Technologies.

“Partnering with AHEA was a natural fit. Their international network of academicians combined with our nimble technology and entrepreneurial spirit, allows both organizations to impact higher education institutions in a positive and powerful way.”

- Benjamin Shank, CEO of Tower Education Technologies
Ben-1

“We understood the steps AHEA wanted to take to eliminate the hurdles and present students with better academic opportunities regardless of their background, socio-economic status, or geographic location,” says Benjamin Shank, CEO of Tower Education Technologies. They responded with InspirED™, the only cloud-based platform with a fully integrated SIS/CRM (ConnectED™), LMS (BlendED™) and a professional engagement solution (CollaboratED™).

Insipred-Group-Clouds
Insipred-Group-Clouds

“We understood the steps AHEA wanted to take to eliminate the hurdles and present students with better academic opportunities regardless of their background, socio-economic status, or geographic location,” says Benjamin Shank, CEO of Tower Education Technologies. They responded with InspirED™, the only cloud-based platform with a fully integrated SIS/CRM (ConnectED™), LMS (BlendED™) and a professional engagement solution (CollaboratED™).

InspirED_Cloud-2

FACILITATING INTERNATIONALIZATION with InspirED

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, internationalization was becoming part of the postsecondary experience. Over 1.07M international students enrolled in courses at colleges outside of their home country. Beginning in March 2020, international education exchange came to a halt as the health crisis shook humanity to the core, and the higher ed industry right along with it.

Institutions were forced to reshuffle their priorities and resources to accommodate a curriculum that was hosted almost entirely online. Virtual courses became mandatory to protect the health of academic stakeholders and provide students a safe, enriching, and rewarding educational experience.

As a result, students who were once studying abroad now lost their exposure to diversity and intercultural communication. Equally difficult was the stress and fatigue faculty faced converting their resident courses to online format, leaving little time to bring a global perspective to their courses.

This disruptive environment is where AHEA and Tower flourished. The nonprofit knew internationalization was instrumental in broadening students’ views, bolstering their soft skills, and challenging their identities, cultural understanding, and assumptions. It also fortified the need for faculty to collaborate with their peers to meet current educational demands, transform students into global citizens, and support lifelong learning.

InspirED_Cloud-2

FACILITATING INTERNATIONALIZATION with InspirED

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, internationalization was becoming part of the postsecondary experience. Over 1.07M international students enrolled in courses at colleges outside of their home country. Beginning in March 2020, international education exchange came to a halt as the health crisis shook humanity to the core, and the higher ed industry right along with it.

Institutions were forced to reshuffle their priorities and resources to accommodate a curriculum that was hosted almost entirely online. Virtual courses became mandatory to protect the health of academic stakeholders and provide students a safe, enriching, and rewarding educational experience.

As a result, students who were once studying abroad now lost their exposure to diversity and intercultural communication. Equally difficult was the stress and fatigue faculty faced converting their resident courses to online format, leaving little time to bring a global perspective to their courses.

This disruptive environment is where AHEA and Tower flourished. The nonprofit knew internationalization was instrumental in broadening students’ views, bolstering their soft skills, and challenging their identities, cultural understanding, and assumptions. It also fortified the need for faculty to collaborate with their peers to meet current educational demands, transform students into global citizens, and support lifelong learning.

FOSTERING COLLABORATION with CollaboratED

AHEA sought to provide a solution that fostered academic networking, engagement, mentoring, and collaboration around the globe. Yet no technology existed to promote such professional interaction for faculty and academic administrators. That’s why Tower developed CollaboratED, the first professional engagement solution for higher education.

CollaboratED promotes professional growth and global engagement by providing the centralized venue, guides and standards so faculty can collaborate on research, peer review pedagogy and lessons, and co-author scholarly articles. “Our desire is to enable a professor in the United States to easily co-create a course on microeconomics with a partner faculty member in Malaysia, for example,” said Grant. “The CollaboratED solution has essentially removed geographical, time zone, and language barriers. It also provides a reliable tool to those institutions that lack resources, support, or the necessary infrastructure needed to engage in online collaboration, teaching and learning.”

ConnectED-Cloud-2

FOSTERING COLLABORATION with CollaboratED

AHEA sought to provide a solution that fostered academic networking, engagement, mentoring, and collaboration around the globe. Yet no technology existed to promote such professional interaction for faculty and academic administrators. That’s why Tower developed CollaboratED, the first professional engagement solution for higher education.

CollaboratED promotes professional growth and global engagement by providing the centralized venue, guides and standards so faculty can collaborate on research, peer review pedagogy and lessons, and co-author scholarly articles. “Our desire is to enable a professor in the United States to easily co-create a course on microeconomics with a partner faculty member in Malaysia, for example,” said Grant. “The CollaboratED solution has essentially removed geographical, time zone, and language barriers. It also provides a reliable tool to those institutions that lack resources, support, or the necessary infrastructure needed to engage in online collaboration, teaching and learning.”

INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT with BlendED

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 34.7% of college students were enrolled in at least one online course prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. That number nearly doubled (67%) as remote instruction became more mainstream as a result of the pandemic.

Although the location of their courses changed, students’ need to juggle multiple priorities, including work, family, and life hadn’t. Overnight instructors were required to transform their classroom lectures and courses to an online environment. This made it more difficult than ever to keep students on track, let alone engaged. To keep pace with learning styles and needs, faculty found out quickly that they must blend a variety of teaching methodologies, tools, and opportunities to support their online classes.

To meet this challenge, Tower developed BlendED, the modern learning management system that integrates pedagogy with technology. It also removes the technical challenges associated with disparate systems and eliminates geographical boundaries for students. The easy-to-use solution provides faculty the confidence to create engaging virtual courses. It also gives students the flexibility to access 24/7 learning. Best of all, by utilizing the chat, SMS, and video functionality, students can share their “a-ha!” moments in real time with classmates and teachers.

BlendED-Cloud

INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT with BlendED

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 34.7% of college students were enrolled in at least one online course prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. That number nearly doubled (67%) as remote instruction became more mainstream as a result of the pandemic.

Although the location of their courses changed, students’ need to juggle multiple priorities, including work, family, and life hadn’t. Overnight instructors were required to transform their classroom lectures and courses to an online environment. This made it more difficult than ever to keep students on track, let alone engaged. To keep pace with learning styles and needs, faculty found out quickly that they must blend a variety of teaching methodologies, tools, and opportunities to support their online classes.

To meet this challenge, Tower developed BlendED, the modern learning management system that integrates pedagogy with technology. It also removes the technical challenges associated with disparate systems and eliminates geographical boundaries for students. The easy-to-use solution provides faculty the confidence to create engaging virtual courses. It also gives students the flexibility to access 24/7 learning. Best of all, by utilizing the chat, SMS, and video functionality, students can share their “a-ha!” moments in real time with classmates and teachers.

IMPROVING ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT with ConnectED

ConnectED is the only lifecycle management solution that natively combines a student information system (SIS), constituent relationship management (CRM), and analytics into a higher education solution. The single sign-on technology provides an innovative solution to drive growth, efficiencies, and key metrics for institutions.  It also delivers an easy-to-use central hub where students can track courses, education finances, and extra- and co-curricular experiences.

The student management system combines data from marketing and recruitment, student engagement in campus activities, financial aid data, and academic records, with real-time communication pathways for staff to plan and share information and to reach out to students who are excelling or in need of support.

Using the solution, institutions can make data-driven decisions about investing scarce resources; whether to create new courses, invest in internationalization programs, pay for new third-party content services, or change student recruitment and retention efforts. Colleges and universities will benefit from an affordable, integrated platform that will empower their personnel to address major operations, as well as make data and information readily available for functional usage across the institution.

CollaboratED-Cloud-Stanley

IMPROVING ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT with ConnectED

ConnectED is the only lifecycle management solution that natively combines a student information system (SIS), constituent relationship management (CRM), and analytics into a higher education solution. The single sign-on technology provides an innovative solution to drive growth, efficiencies, and key metrics for institutions.  It also delivers an easy-to-use central hub where students can track courses, education finances, and extra- and co-curricular experiences.

The student management system combines data from marketing and recruitment, student engagement in campus activities, financial aid data, and academic records, with real-time communication pathways for staff to plan and share information and to reach out to students who are excelling or in need of support.

Using the solution, institutions can make data-driven decisions about investing scarce resources; whether to create new courses, invest in internationalization programs, pay for new third-party content services, or change student recruitment and retention efforts. Colleges and universities will benefit from an affordable, integrated platform that will empower their personnel to address major operations, as well as make data and information readily available for functional usage across the institution.

The Approach

Tower Education Technologies takes a unique approach to addressing higher education issues. They engage respected faculty and administrators, from AHEA’s academic network, to assist with the planning, development, and testing of their InspirED platform. This pilot program for the platform features faculty fellows from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Hear what faculty fellows have to say about InspirED…

" One of the exciting things for me…is that we are able to provide feedback on the platform, InspirED™…so end users have a better experience when it's fully developed. "

Celeste González-Bustamante

Associate Professor, Journalism
University of Arizona

" Something very positive about this virtual experience is that…now our Mexican students are going to be able to travel to the United States. "

Lenin Martell

Professor, Journalism
Universidad Autónoma Del Estado de México

" Being able to access data and analytics…can be a real tool to provide us…continued institutionalized support. "

Mary Fanelli Ayala

Dean, Professor of Spanish
Eastern New Mexico University

" Internationalization…is something that we want to transmit through AHEA and the wonderful platform that they have shared with us. "

Ana Luisa Desdier

Director of Internationalization
Universidad Anáhuac Puebla