MapIT: Institutional Process Mapping Project

Project Overview

ONCAT is continuing this Learning Collaborative focused on understanding current transfer practices within postsecondary institutions in Ontario and the steps transfer students take while transferring into and out of an institution. ONCAT has worked very closely with transfer advisors and other transfer experts; their recommendations, based on an in-depth mapping of the student journey, can support institutional planning, capacity building, and communication within and across institutions. More specifically, documenting these ‘current state’ processes will help inform the development of tools, strategies, and frameworks to support process improvements and collaborative learning across the sector.
 
Over the next year, ONCAT will work with postsecondary institutions in Ontario to map current transfer student processes in order to identify the common and distinct practices of each institution (for more information, see Background, below).

 

ONCAT insitutional process mapping (MapIT)

 

Join the Third Cohort of the MapIT Learning Collaborative

Colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes that join the MapIT Learning Collaborative will receive:
 
  • training on process mapping;
  • an external facilitator/consultant to support the development of a transfer process map of their institution; and
  • funding to support participation in the project and project activities.
     

Eligibility

  • Colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes in Ontario are eligible to join.
  • ONCAT is especially interested in engaging a diverse cross-section of postsecondary institutions in this learning collaborative. In selecting participants, ONCAT will ensure there is diverse representation based on institution type; size; region; populations served; level of institutional involvement in transfer; volume of transfer; and so forth.
     

Participation

  • The deadline to submit an application for the third cohort of MapIT will determined shortly; for now, aim to be ready for a spring 2021 deadline.
  • To apply for funding, submit your proposal through ONCAT’s online application portal: www.grantinterface.com/Process/Apply?urlkey=oncat.
  • For additional information, please reach out to Carolyn Poplak, Manager, Sector Engagement, at cpoplak@oncat.ca or (416) 690.6951 x304
     


Background

At some point in a student’s academic career, they may decide to transfer out of their current postsecondary institution (PSI) to another. Students transfer for a variety of reasons, including geographic relocation, personal or financial challenges, change in career trajectory, and/or desired change in program or field of study. According to a recent study, led by eCampusOntario’s Student Mobility Design Lab (see Student Mobility Final Report) and supported by ONCAT, the student experience in transfer includes a number of stages categorized in three main areas: information seeking (realizing and researching), preparing (applying, transferring credits, accepting offer), and transferring (adapting).
 
ONCAT is interested in documenting the current state of transfer processes at publicly assisted colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes in Ontario from the student perspective.
 
ONCAT’s goal is to define the current state of the student journey in transferring in and out of a specific institution. This could include how prior courses and/or credentials are assessed by the institution a student is transferring to (the receiving institution), whether they receive advanced standing or course exemptions, and when students find out the outcomes of their transfer request.
 
Key questions that process mapping may help to identify include:
 
  • How/when does a student apply for transfer credit?
  • Who/what are the student’s first point of contact and what are their roles in the process?
  • How long is the process time for acceptance/non-acceptance?
  • What staff/departments are involved?
  • What information systems are involved?
  • What are the non-value added activities in this process that could be eliminated?
  • Where are the bottlenecks?
  • What fees, if any, do students pay?
  • What documents are students required to submit to institutions (e.g., course outline, etc.)
  • What are the baselines and metrics to measure improvement and success?
     

Project Outcomes

MapIT will support the development of a comprehensive resource with documented transfer processes for the selected PSIs that can be used to 1) share/disseminate best practices so that learnings can be replicated and implemented by other institutions across the sector; and 2) help inform future updates on ONTransfer.ca.
 
 

Recap of MapIT’s First Cohort

In 2019/2020, ONCAT selected 10 postsecondary institutions—Cambrian College, University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, Laurentian University, Brock University, Algonquin College, Université de Hearst, George Brown College, Queen’s University, and First Nations Technical Institute—to participate in the MapIT Project: our way to examine the known and the ‘behind the scenes’ workflow steps when institutions receive a transfer application, either directly or through OCAS/OUAC.
 
By working through a consortium approach, and with HESA as a consultant, ONCAT conducted a gap analysis to develop deeper understanding of the entire transfer process (including application, assessment, registration, and advisory practices). HESA provided us with an aggregate report of the ten participating institutions, which includes collated maps of the transfer journey from both a staff and student perspective. Furthermore, each institution received an individual report based on the results of their mapping activities. The project concluded with several knowledge-sharing sessions to distribute key learnings and opportunities for improvement based on their maps. 
 
Institutions also received funding support from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities through the Credit Transfer Institutional Grant.

 

MapIT’s Second Cohort

After gathering feedback from the first cohort, ONCAT confirmed the next group of PSIs in December 2020: Centennial College, La Cité collégiale, Lakehead University, Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology, Sault College, Sheridan College, Trent University, the University of Guelph, and the University of Windsor. In this round, scheduled for completion in Spring 2021, ONCAT is casting a greater focus on faculty decision-making (i.e., credit assessment) and is re-adjusting processes due to COVID-19. HESA—Higher Education Strategy Consultants—will return as a consultant.
 
This will bring the total number of PSIs to receive a custom MapIt report to 19. ONCAT’s goal, however, is to work with all publicly funded PSIs in the province to generate evidence-based process improvements. PSIs that have not yet participated will be able to submit their expression of interest for Spring 2021.