Directions for Creating Cross-linked Courses

The University of Maine System (UMS) recognizes the critical need to both maintain and develop educational opportunities for our citizens and at the same time to be good stewards of our limited resources. Collaboration among our seven public Universities will create opportunities to strengthen existing programs and create innovative new programs within the limits of our existing resources. These collaborative programs also have great potential to help Maine Public Universities endure the challenging future of Higher Education; however, if implemented incorrectly, collaboration agreements could also create difficult, unclear, and unattractive pathways to success for Maine students.

What is the Difference between Cross-listing and Cross-linking?

Cross-listed courses are made available between two departments on the same university, whereas cross-linked courses appear at two different universities.

Collaborative agreements among institutions can include sharing an entire program, a collection of courses, or a single course section, all of which follow the same process. Universities may cross-link course sections that are shared. By cross-linking, one university (Host institution) provides instruction for another university (student’s Home institution). Cross-linking provides a seamless student experience for registration, financial aid, billing, and degree planning. Course sections should be cross-linked to:

  1. strengthen a student’s academic program by including a course or courses not taught by the Home institution;
  2. resolve course scheduling conflicts that delay timely program completion;
  3. allow institutions to create innovative new programs that the Home institution could not create individually; or
  4. utilize existing faculty, facilities, or resources more efficiently.

To implement a cross-linked course section, policy and procedure amendments must honor academic shared governance, including; academic processes, faculty management, course management, revenue sharing, Learning Management System (LMS, e.g. Brightspace) administration, student rights and discipline, and reporting definitions.


Host institution – The institution where the teaching occurs.

Home institution – The institution where the student has applied and matriculated (i.e., the student’s home).

Cross-linked CourseWhere one institution (Host) teaches a course and another institution (Home) has students who enroll in the course. The course is listed as an approved course in the registration system and course catalog of both Home and Host. 

Cross-listed Course – Where one department teaches a course and another department has students who enroll in the course at the same university.

Academic Program Component Leaders – Academic leaders who currently have a role to approve courses, generally work directly with the Registrars, and/or represent a group of faculty. Examples, but not limited to, Deans, Chairs, Directors, or Programs Coordinators.

Learning Management System (LMS) – The LMS used by UMS is named Brightspace. A LMS is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses or training programs or learning and development programs. 

Academic Process

The academic processes remain much the same as with traditional, single-university courses, however, curriculum approval must be coordinated amongst collaborating institutions. Sharing a single course section or collection of courses represents straightforward and easy-to-implement cross-listing. This kind of cross-listing would not be different from a program within an institution that relied on courses from other departments. However, when an entire program is delivered across multiple campuses, this model has to include special accommodations for academic governance. Agreements must be reviewed by all participating academic programs at the Host and Home institutions. Agreements should include guidelines for academic review of initial curriculum design and substantive changes. Cross-linked courses should be entered into the Home institution’s course catalog using the procedures of the Home institution. Cross-linked courses should be included in the regular schedule-building process of the Home institution. The schedule-building process requires data to be provided in spreadsheets for each course section; therefore, these data should be included in the collaborative agreement.

Academic Program Integrity

The Home institution is responsible for ensuring standards of quality, rigor, and assessment for all courses in the Home institution’s programs including all cross-linked courses. Before a cross-linked course can be added to a Home institution, the Academic Program Component Leaders must review the courses. The Home Academic Program Component Leaders will establish the same assessment practices for cross-linked courses, as Home delivered courses. The oversight, rigor, and assessment of cross-linked courses would be overseen by the Home institution just as a department would oversee a program of study that includes courses from other departments and ensures the overall quality and rigor of the individual course as it contributes to the department’s program of study.

Faculty Administration

When a course section is shared, the instructor(s) is also shared. When a course is cross-linked, the instructor(s) of record must be added to the Home institution’s instructor file first, and next added to the course section. These steps give the instructor administrative access to the course section for tasks such as grading, so students can determine the instructor of record during registration.

Course Management

Cross-linked course sections should adhere to the Board of Trustee (BOT) policy Section 304.1 Uniform Course Numbering. During the schedule-building process, registrars will receive spreadsheets from academic component leaders that include information listed in the Sample Setup, illustrated below. The schedule-building spreadsheets should include cross-linked courses. The spreadsheets should include a column that indicates the Host institution’s designation. All courses being hosted must have the correct academic group as part of their setup. Regardless, of how we determine courses will be created and set up it will be important that the academic groups above be used. Using this coding will allow Student Financials to direct revenue to the offering campus as charges are posted to student accounts. This would eliminate any manual movement of revenues at semester end.

The cross-linked course section will be entered into the student information system as with other native credit courses; however, the academic group field will be used to designate the relationship between Host or Home institutions.

Sample Setup

Key for Sample Setup:
  • FacilID1 = Facility Identification 1
  • FacilID2 = Facility Identification 2
  • LEC = Lecture
  • IUMA = University of Maine at Augusta course hosted at University of Maine at Presque Isle
  • Short Desc = Short Description
  • UMPI – University of Maine at Presque Isle
  • PULL215 = Pullen Hall, Room 215
  • MoWeFr = Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Instr1 = Instructor 1
  • Instr2 = Instructor 2
  • Teach% = Teaching Percentage
  • WkLd = Workload
  • OvLd = Overload
Subject Catalog Mode Section Title Cap Min Units Academic Group
PSY 100 LEC 0004 General Psychology 25 3 IUMA


Short Desc FacilID1 Days1 StartTime1 EndTime1 FacilID2 Days2 StartTime2 EndTime2
UMPI PULL215 MoWeFr 09:00 AM 09:50 AM


End Date Instr1 Name Instr1 Teach% instr1 WkLd instr1 OvLd Instr2 Name Instr2 Teach% instr2 WkLd instr2 OvLd
1/17/2017 5/11/2017 Allen L Salo 100 3 N


Books and Course Resources

Home institutions should prepare a cross-linked course as any other course in terms of the support resources needed. For example, the cross-linked course should be included in the course lists sent to the bookstore, the library should have coordinated resources, fieldwork, special equipment, lab software, and/or student tutoring should be available (if needed). Accommodations for resources should be a major consideration before a cross-linked course is approved.

Revenue Sharing

Collaborative agreements should clearly describe the revenue sharing model. In the standard revenue sharing model, the base tuition is distributed to the Host institution and all other tuition and fees should be distributed to the Home institution. When the academic group codes are established in the student information system, each code will be linked to the appropriate Host GL account. Linking to the GL account will allow the system to automatically post the tuition to the appropriate Host institution. 

Student Rights and Discipline

As stated in BOT policy Section 311 Intra-system Student Exchange, students who enroll in cross-listed courses are “afforded the same rights and privileges.” These rights and privileges include access to services, resources, and appeal processes from their Home institution. Similarly, students are required to uphold each institution’s policies and procedures, as outlined in the BOT policy Section 501 Student Conduct Code. Appeals and conduct issues should be handled by the Home institution. For example, if a student were to have a grade appeal from a cross-listed course, the student would submit their appeal to their Home institution. The academic administration at the Home institution would then coordinate with the Host institution on the behalf of the student. Another example would be if a faculty member needed to report behavioral issues of a student from a different institution, they would submit their report to the Home institution’s Student Conduct Officer.

Reporting Definitions

The Home institution that offers a cross-listed course that is Hosted by another institution must maintain the student’s official academic records. The Home institution would record student headcount/full-time enrollment (FTE) in all reports. The Host institution would count credit hours in all reports and count all faculty workload credit from courses taught at any institution.

Brightspace Linking

Click here for step by step instructions for linking courses in Brightspace.

Return to Cross-linking Home.