Business Planning and Costing Model Streamlines Development and Implementation Process

Author Information
George Lorenzo,
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Michigan State University - Global
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Michigan State University's Office of MSU Global has created an effective Business Planning and Cost Model (BPCM) for the planning, development and implementation of online degree and certificate programs.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Michigan State University's Office of MSU Global is an institutional business unit charged with business development, creation and facilitation of new online credit and non-credit programs and institutes, partnerships and organizational capacity building. MSU Global has created a Business Planning and Costing Model (BPCM) that is used for the development and implementation of online degree and certificate programs. BPCM Overview The BPCM is comprised of five templates and a Program Costing Model (PCM) that have been developed since MSU Global was established in 2000. The templates have helped to streamline the entire online degree/certificate planning, development and implementation process. The five templates are: Phase One: Concept Development - Determine program concept and context - Identify program goals and objectives - Identify internal partners (deans, directors) - Market profile and target clients - Explore external funding sources - Identify potential external partners Phase Two: Proposal Formulation - Development of budget - Enrollment Forecast - Staffing requirements - Identify technology issues - Outline project timeline - Determine evaluation process Phase Three: Internal Approval - Submit new program proposal to MSU Global Phase Four: Implementation - Assist with development of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Content creation - Work with Libraries, Computing & Technology Department (LCT) to build courses - Input for marketing and communications plan - Teaching and instruction - Program coordination Phase Five: Evaluation - Review of goals and objectives - Measurement of student satisfaction - Measure learning effectiveness Program Costing Model The PCM is cost-planning model that uses an EXCEL spreadsheet format based on projections over four years that fall under the categories of gross revenues and fixed and variable costs. See Effective Practice titled "Program Costing Model Aims to Ensure Positive ROI." Support and Collaborations MSU Global in conjunction with MSU's Libraries, Computing & Technology Department (LCT), the Virtual University (VU), Graduate School, University Relations, Office of International Studies and Programs, MSU Extension, and Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations provide a host of services that help departments complete the BPCM. These services include: - Strategic consulting - Compatibility and viability assessment tools - Initial market research - Audience identification workshops - Budget workshops - LCT technology recommendations BPCM Checklist The composition of these five templates begins with a Development Checklist that helps deans and department chairs, for instance, prepare the early phase of the BPCM. MSU Global uses this checklist during the early consultation phase of program/certificate business planning. This checklist consists of the following: - Determine program concept and context. - Visit to learn about the latest online instruction methods. - Signoff from dean, chairperson and director. - Identify potential funding sources for program development. - Consult with LCT and VU. - Consult with MSU Global. The first consultation with MSU Global centers around the following key elements: Compatibility and Viability Assessment How does the program fit within MSU's brand? Is it something that is core to the university's mission and expertise? Does the program have the potential for longevity? Market Assessment Identify, size of market and market segments who would possibly enroll in this program. Audience Identification Mapping Describe and provide profiles of any groups within the prospective audience you are trying to reach. Internal and External Funding Sources of funding can include department and/or college annual budgets, internal research grants, institutional development money, and outside corporate or non-profit grant funding. Budgeting and Forecasting See Effective Practice titled "Program Costing Model Aims to Ensure Positive ROI."

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Both the templates and checklist are important tools that continue to streamline the entire process for planning and ultimately moving complete programs and certificates into the online modality, as well as for marketing these programs once they are launched. Since MSU Global has a small staff, the use of these forms can be considered a model that has been carefully developed over time (since 2000) that makes the entire consultation process highly efficient. Overall, the BPCM has reached a level of maturation whereby the templates and checklist no longer need to be edited or retrofitted.