With technology now an integral part of higher education especially as campus services content and information go online the need for web accessibility has never been greater. Accessibility is essential if all students are to participate fully in higher education. Campus buildings may be more accessible now than they were in the 1980s but new technology barriers have cropped up over the years that didn t even exist a few decades ago. This according to eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY a digital accessibility solutions provider who recognized a widening gap between the physical and digital world for people with disabilities. With technology now an integral part of higher education especially as campus services content and information go online the need for web accessibility has never been greater. While some disabilities that interfere with using the web like blindness and deafness are obvious some are not color blindness low vision dyslexia repetitive stress injury seizures cognitive impairment the aging process and more. Thus accessibility is essential for ALL learners if they are to participate fully and successfully in their own educational journey. More than a policy or plan digital or web accessibility should be a system wide priority for higher education today. Here the University of Delaware and University of Michigan share their accessibility philosophies strategies and projects. And how rSmart has helped them facilitate accessibility on their campus portals. But First Some Research According to the National Center for Education Statistics 11 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. have disabilities 2011 2012 representing over 2 million learners. At the same time the Hechinger Report says that only a third of the students with disabilities who enroll in a four year college or university graduate within eight years. And for those that enroll in two year schools the outcomes aren t much better 41 percent according to federal data. CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY reported that a 2012 study by the Worldwide Institute for Research and Evaluation indicated just how unprepared higher education is. The study examined web pages from 100 2 year and 4 year colleges and universities selected at random. Only one third had a posted policy about web accessibility and only 17 percent of those had visible guidelines for faculty or instructional technologists. Only two institutions mentioned IT accessibility in their accreditation improvement plans. In a 2018 EDUCAUSE Review article author Sue Cullen said that accessibility is a shared campus responsibility best accomplished with executive support. While we await technologies that are 100 percent accessible we must proactively work to obtain the most accessible products for users and we must be ready to assist students with individualized accommodation services she explained. This means as technology is selected vendors need to be accountable for meeting the accessibility standards to which higher education programs and services are held. University of Delaware Campus wide Accessibility Initiative In fact web accessibility is such a growing concern in higher education that many schools are establishing committees or initiatives to address it like the University of Delaware. According to the initiative s project manager Sarah Meadows that s because all the university s stakeholders not just employees and students but anyone that has any sort of relationship with the University needs to be able to access its online content. Otherwise we are missing out on key audiences she explained. We re really focused on equal access for everyone. Auditing Accessibility Fortunately the University of Delaware strives to walk the talk. We hired a third party to perform a web accessibility audit to better understand where we stand as a university said Meadows. The audit evaluated several high traffic high profile websites from different areas of the university including their My UD campus portal to get a better understanding of the challenges. With different platforms different types of service providers various home grown applications and multiple vendors with digital platforms that s a tall order. We needed to understand what s within our control and what s within the control of a vendor and whether our vendors are willing to partner with us to make improvements to their product to make them more accessible revealed Meadows. The audit which began in early 2018 and ended in April 2018 identified typical things that are easy to fix elements that most people don t think about like the use of alternative text for images according to Meadows. The audit helped us to get a better understanding of what different accessibility issues our sites and platforms have she explained. It helped us prioritize our efforts and better understand the support and resources our stakeholders would need to be successful with improving digital accessibility. Partnering for Accessibility According to Meadows My UD the university s instance of OneCampus has become a one stop shop for the university community to find different resources on campus without having to know that the registrar owns that form or HR facilitates that process. The University of Delaware launched My UD in August 2015 and have increasingly heard positive feedback from users during events where IT promotes it. Users have even bookmarked the portal as their personal home page so it s the first page that comes up when they open their browsers said Meadows. Maria Mullin associate director of web development business systems explained that the accessibility audit identified several issues with My UD related to keyboard navigation dynamic content for screen readers and use of device dependent event handlers. I brought the audit results to the attention of rSmart in May and in less than a month the company issued their latest release which fixed the majority of the issues she explained. In general I feel rSmart is very responsive to our feedback and very timely in addressing issues reported to them. Building Awareness Web accessibility is an ongoing and evolving campus wide initiative according to Meadows. That means the university has done a lot of leg work over past few months to try and figure out what tools and resources are needed to support accessibility efforts on campus how to increase awareness training and ensure action is taken to improve accessibility in a distributed digital environment what training faculty and staff require based on the kinds of digital content they work with how to ensure the vendors we work with provide products and services that are accessible and the best way to get all that information out to different campus audiences. We will be launching an awareness campaign to the general campus community starting in the next months Meadows related. The initiative also involves working with the university s communications office HR and diversity and inclusion group as well as reaching out to colleges and departments to engage them in conversations about goals and helping them work toward improving accessibility. We will have a central accessibility website where people can find all the tools resources and information they are looking for Meadows shared. Increasing education and awareness ensures that colleges and departments have the skills they need to manage and improve their own digital assets. It s a real team effort that we plan to continually grow and improve upon as we progress with this initiative. Measuring Success Meadows explained that the team is now setting up conversations with colleges and business units to establish accessibility goals for 2018 19. We want to come up with something that s realistic and achievable so content owners can gain small wins as they begin learning more about digital accessibility and are motivated to pursue more aggressive goals and bigger wins as we scale the initiative she said. It s going to take time to reign in all of the content and websites that are out there since our faculty staff and students currently have a lot of freedom to create sites in our distributed environment. We ll start with our front facing websites because for key audiences like incoming students and employees that s their first exposure to the university said Meadows. We ll post the KPIs on the accessibility website to keep the campus community engaged and informed about the goals we are all working together to meet. Before the start of each semester we ll assess whether the goals from the previous semester were achieved and set a new goal aiming for bigger and bigger wins as we gain more experience with digital accessibility. Universal design concepts are general best practices for everybody because it improves the accessibility and usability of our sites and applications opening them up to a broader audience Meadows concluded. We don t want to limit or worse exclude anybody from accessing our content. Read UD case study University of Michigan Accessibility is Foundational Lindsay Miller user experience analyst on the University of Michigan s web team explains that For the ITS Web Team at the University of Michigan accessibility is not a separate box to check. Rather it s foundational to all digital work they do. Whether it s applications or websites employees are using or tools students are using to be successful academically accessibility is important throughout technologies on campus not simply an afterthought. That s why recently we brought on two new team members our digital accessibility analysts so we can really dedicate resources to ensure that s happening not just for our unit but across the University s web landscape Miller said. Accessibility is their jam. Evolving Web Strategy Because the web is now the hub of daily business for students faculty and staff at U of M their expectations are expanding. Thus the university s ITS web strategy provides a consistent approach to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Key priorities include device independence findability consumable information seamless experience usability and of course accessibility. Each of our six priorities focuses on usability and we can t talk about usability without talking about accessibility Miller explained. They really go hand in hand. Not only are we legally required to make our websites accessible but it really improves usability for everyone. Accessibility is the expectation. Like all things web the web strategy is a work in progress that evolves from year to year. It guides how they design and think about websites and web applications in particular those owned by ITS the central IT organization. According to Miller the goal is to expand this to include other IT units across the University. One of the team s new digital accessibility analysts Darrell Williams reported that while already unified at the ITS level they are striving to be even more unified so that accessibility is part of every process that goes toward developing products. We re working with team leaders and project managers to ensure that accessibility is part of the job as things are being discussed and as they are rolled out he said. Prioritizing Accessibility For Miller building bridges by tying in with broad university initiatives is another way to expand the impact of their web strategy. Campus partners like the UM library and Council for Disability Concerns are strong accessibility partners who are highly invested she said. According to Williams the council offers a forum for community members to speak about issues about accessibility and their personal experiences. These are things that we factor into how we approach accessibility in ITS. With two new digital accessibility analysts ITS now has enough internal capability now to assist people with vendor evaluations. We are training procurement to do product evaluations themselves explained Gonzalo Silverio the second new analyst. ITS plans to make it more part of the process for vendors. Accessibility and OneCampus U of M is piloting OneCampus and according to Silverio he diagnosed some accessibility issues and made recommendations to rSmart. I was gratified to see one of them addressed in next release which speaks of a good relationship with the company he reported. The application obviously has been crafted with a lot of care to provide a high level of interactivity for the user but that is a very hard thing to do accessibly. The OneCampus application has succeeded in doing that by and large. I recognize that rSmart has many customers and balancing the requests and needs of those customers is probably a challenge Miller reflected. The company does a good job of collecting feedback and input and evaluating it having customers weigh in and implementing changes that work for most. Which I think is a great way of improving the user experience broadly of the product not just our instance.
Let your OneCampus tenant be your orientation guideLet me start by saying that I have never been responsible for organizing or conducting student orientation efforts for a major institution with thousands of incoming students. I have however been responsible for teaching and communicating with my own three children although I would estimate that 90 percent of the information I share likely goes in one ear and out the other . My kids ages 22 21 and 13 are visual learners. If I tell them how to do something I need to show them how to do it as well. It s a fair guess that my kids aren 8217 t that different from the average group of incoming college freshmen. It s also safe to presume that they could probably use a little extra visual help as well. The volume of information they take in during orientation is like drinking from a fire hose It s no surprise that most students will be on their phones during orientation presentations anyway so why not meet them there What better way to visually show them about the many resources and services that are available on your campus than through your OneCampus tenant. Build Out Your Tenant to be THE Orientation Hub Create Task Centers in order to organize content specific to those students new to your campus. Utilize Pinned Sections to highlight tasks that are critical to their success. Connect your tenant with Canvas or Blackboard and allow a seamless user experience directly within your tenant. Create Global Announcements to communicate important dates and events. Enable the Favorites and Bookmark functionality to further allow for personalization. Enable the Near Me functionality to display tasks based on location and don t forget to add the latitudinal and longitudinal location data Market Your Tenant before Orientation Before students arrive on campus let them know where to find your OneCampus tenant. It s easiest to show up where they already are you know Instagram Snapchat Twitter. Brag about your tenant in official school social media channels. Encourage your admissions team to include your URL and some messaging in their outgoing communications. Talk to the student newspaper. You can even grab some chalk and write your URL on the parking lot and sidewalks on and around campus. Let Your OneCampus Tenant Be Your Orientation Guide As you begin orientation let your OneCampus tenant be your guide. Direct students to physically take out their phones and access your tenant to navigate through Orientation. Introduce OneCampus as their gateway to their Canvas or Blackboard courses. Highlight the search functionality by looking for laundry services parking services dining services or other critical campus services newcomers will need. Encourage them to leave ratings and reviews on services. Show them how to access task contacts like Student Services or Tech Support if they need additional assistance. Help them understand that accessing campus services as simple as Search Click Done Follow these three steps and you are sure to see adoption of your OneCampus tenant continue to grow. And once you re complete I m open to any new ideas to get my kids to listen to me
Today you have a choice when selecting your campus portal solution. The future is yours and your users by switching to the next gen OneCampus solution.Can your students find what they need on your aging dare we say archaic campus portal Is your school still struggling with the expense and inefficiencies of your legacy system including Luminis by Ellucian Then it s time to take a look at something different. A centralized next generation solution that delivers the modern experience your users expect. A platform that s mobile friendly search based and totally customizable. One that s easy to use quick to implement and pretty darn affordable. Now do we have your attention Today more than 85 campuses across the US and Canada are using OneCampus Fairfield University Northeast Iowa Community College Oberlin College St. Edward s University University of Delaware University of Notre Dame and University of Pittsburgh to name a few. In fact our customers can t stop talking about the satisfying and successful portal experience they get with OneCampus. And why they made the switch. Autonomy at Fairfield Fairfield University had ongoing issues with the functionality feature set and cost efficiency of their legacy campus portal. Simply put they wanted more. Previously with our old portal if a department wanted to post content they had to come to us explained Help Desk Manager Jason Victor. The results Today OneCampus allows content creators to manage their own content. Both ITS and the departments save time energy and money with this distributed publishing model. And the departments have a welcome sense of autonomy. New Student Experience in Northeast Iowa Northeast Iowa Community College NICC knew they needed a new campus portal solution to improve the student experience. After conducting a comprehensive portal review and replace process that included input from multiple departments NICC selected OneCampus for its ease of use for both users and administrators adaptability and best in class customer support. The college began implementation in late January 2017 and went live May 15 2017. rSmart was with us every step of the way revealed Craig Meirick director of Computer Information Systems. The implementation of OneCampus itself was very simple and intuitive. No More Headaches at Oberlin For students at Oberlin College accessing campus services before the new OberView portal was a headache. That s because their current portal required them to find and use link after link ad nauseum to reach the content they needed. In December 2017 Oberlin partnered with rSmart to deliver a branded OneCampus portal platform to help students discover campus services. The portal went live just a few months later in March and when students returned from spring break they loved the new look and feel. Take a look at the before and after screenshots of the campus portal. A MAZING Search is King at St. Edward 8217 s St. Edward s University was living in the past with an outdated campus portal that wasn t searchable or mobile friendly. Not surprisingly that affected student use. And because of its technical complexity the IT staff had to maintain ALL of the content. According to product owner Nicole Hill the OneCampus UI is intuitive and eminently searchable. Students loved the interface she reported. They just understood OneCampus without much instruction or guidance. Build a search bar and they will come. Streamlining Services in Delaware To take care of business University of Delaware students parents alumni faculty and staff had to hunt for specific forms among hundreds buried in various web applications. Once the university implemented a streamlined approach with OneCampus in 2015 users could quickly discover campus services find applications and access resources in a simple intuitive way. Now all business applications and forms are indexed and searchable in one centralized location. So activities like changing course sections locating a tutor or contacting facilities are quick and easy to accomplish. Mobile Matters at Notre Dame Back in 2015 the legacy portal solution at University of Notre Dame not only failed to meet their needs and but required significant management and upgrades. So Notre Dame began its quest for a new portal platform that was simple to use and mobile friendly. After evaluating three potential solutions the university selected OneCampus. In our initial proof of concept we learned how easy it is to publish tasks configure the look and feel and how we might set up categories metadata screenshots and the task icon creation process said Manager Scott Kirner Application Services. Personalization at Pittsburgh The University of Pittsburgh was looking for a one stop shop 8211 a centralized more scalable and mobile friendly service discovery solution for the content that students faculty and staff access most frequently. After evaluating all available options the university chose OneCampus for its powerful search capabilities customization and personalization features and low cost of ownership. Bottom line an enhanced portal experience for the entire campus community 8211 students faculty staff and administrators. Today you have a choice when selecting your campus portal solution. The future is yours and your users by switching from your outdated legacy portal to the next gen OneCampus platform. You ll be in good company nbsp
Is your campus portal still in the dark ages in terms of functionality Here are 9 key features to look for in your next and last portal.Is your campus portal still in the dark ages in terms of functionality Does it hinder rather than help students find the services and information they need to be successful It might be time for you to take advantage of the opportunities technology offers modernizing and simplifying your campus portal for accessibility findability and reliability to name just a few. Here are 9 key portal capabilities to look for. Search first Your students want a 21st Century experience with Google like service discovery that enables them to go online and search first 8211 the same way they find everything. Above all students must find the content they are looking for quickly and efficiently. Think of your portal as your digital concierge. Mobile friendly It s how your students live 8211 socially and academically. So mobility is a must have for your campus portal. Bring your portal into the next generation to make it accessible anywhere anytime and on any device including smartphones or tablets . Only then can you meet the expectations your students have for speed and convenience. Role and task based It s called ownership and that feeling of autonomy drives buy in and adoption across departments and individual users. Roles include groups or types of users that will access the campus portal students staff administrators faculty parents while tasks describe and provide direct links to available services and content related to activities like freshman orientation or accessing an LMS for example. Content focused Your students faculty and staff shouldn t have to hunt for specific documents or information in multiple web applications or systems to conduct their business. With outdated campus portals users are not able to bookmark or prioritize links to their favorite resources that help them complete tasks quickly. The answer is a one stop shop for the services and content that users go to most often. Intuitive design Campus portal navigation should never be a challenge and today s students demand a better way than what many existing older portals offer. Using an archaic portal is like looking for that proverbial needle in a haystack. An intuitive design enhances the student experience invites user feedback and increases student engagement and retention . Rapid implementation That means no heavy lifting for your IT staff. Your campus portal should be cloud based and easy to set up and deploy within just a few weeks to a few months. Your modernized portal should also be lightweight sitting on top of existing systems and making it easy to integrate with existing applications. Look for a solution that requires minimal administration oversight from IT with a quick response from vendor customer support if you have questions. Flexible and customizable Think of your campus portal as an extension of your institution s brand that helps to enhance your visibility and reputation. The ability to customize the design of your new portal with your logo colors style sheets and even name makes it uniquely yours. And your students want to be able to personalize how they view and experience service discovery as well. Affordable One of the goals of a modern portal should be to eliminate heavy expensive and locally managed software. While technology platforms can stretch even the largest university budget simplifying campus life shouldn t break the bank. Developing your own portal application requires a lot of time and money. Instead buying a solution based on an annual SaaS license saves both. Reporting and analytics Look for a campus portal solution that enables you to capture user data including what services are being used and which are not . Having access to a wide variety of user patterns and statistics can enlighten and inform IT teams and administrators enable data driven decision making and drive enhanced design and functionality. And as you might imagine rSmart can help you get it all done. Learn more about OneCampus in this 2 minute video. nbsp
June gloom No such thing at rSmart. Catch up on our recent summer release.The next OneCampus release is planned for the early morning on Thursday June 21 2018. No downtime is anticipated. This release will contain bug fixes accessibility improvements and the following key enhancements Rave Connector Task History Report Headings within Pinned Sections Option to make a Pinned Section visible only after login Announcement Copy Alternate URL for the Simple Main Page
Here are some of the best practices these campuses have used to provide what their stakeholders want and need.We ve always said our customers are the best. And that includes their approach to implementing their unique OneCampus solutions. Here are just some of the best practices these campuses have used to provide what their stakeholders want and need. Also included are links to their case studies blog posts and campus portals for more details. 1. Involve stakeholders early and often. Northeast Iowa Community College conducted a portal review and replace process that included representatives from Marketing Student Services and Online and Blended Learning who shared unique perspectives for design and requirements. At St. Edward s University results from usability studies across all users students faculty staff powered the design of the new system. The portal review process at Notre Dame University extended beyond the Office of Information Technologies and included individuals from the Registrar s Office Student Enrollment Human Resources Finance and First Year of Studies. And Citrus College led focus groups to discover what attracts and keeps their students attention. 2. Increase visibility of department services and information. The University of Pittsburgh campus portal not only enables students faculty and staff to quickly find the online services they need but also allows them to discover new services. During implementation the Pitt IT team worked with departments campus wide to increase their presence in the application. Once departments realized how the service discovery functionality increased their visibility adoption grew. 3. Give your departments more autonomy. Because of the OneCampus user friendly and versatile back end administration experience St Edward s University quickly moved to a distributed publishing model for myHilltop. This model enables functional areas to largely to control their own content with minimal administrative oversight from IT allowing them more autonomy over their business practices. According to product owner Nicole Hill some of these departments have become the biggest champions of myHilltop. 4. Make it easy for stakeholders to do business. According to Joy Lynam director of IT web development retired with the University of Delaware OneCampus works the way people work anytime anywhere and on any device. The university s My UD portal allows people to search using their role specific category or keyword eliminating the need to visit multiple websites and making it easy to locate forms and web applications. Just one month after going live My UD had over 51 000 unique visitors while in the two years since the launch more than 535 300 unique individuals have visited the portal. 5. Elevate the community experience. At Northeast Iowa Community College the inherent adaptability of OneCampus to trends and forward thinking provides all user segments with tools to assist them in virtually anything they want to do. NICC end users students alumni faculty staff and parents as well as administrators have easy access to what they need. Director of Computer Information Systems Craig Meirick says that the college has been able to give users more resources and better service providing access to several open resources that were otherwise locked with their previous portal product. 6. Get organized. Like most projects implementing your campus portal takes careful planning and a thoughtful implementation. Product owner Nicole Hill shared a three strategies used at St. Edward s University involving stakeholders at all stages to create allies and advocates documenting everything like requirements roles and responsibilities and what content to publish and not publish and getting the data right because the success of a search based portal depends on it . It s also key to set measurable goals. If you know your goals and set measurable KPIs key performance indicators you can track your success more easily. 7. Ease transition to new system. Instead of a hard cutover to the new system the University of Pittsburgh chose to integrate the OneCampus search bar into their existing portal. This approach eases the transition for individuals accustomed to visiting the portal and also provides time to upgrade any services that still rely on the previous portal framework. At St Edward s University they first created a preview site to work out any kinks six months before the hard switchover ensuring the new myHilltop portal launched as a fully functional site. 8. Promote campus wide to increase adoption. To engage users Northeast Iowa Community College promoted their MyCampus portal through various college communication channels including the digital signage across campus biweekly newsletters and email. Oberlin College sent a communication to all students faculty and staff with instructions for SSO and a link to OberView. Oberlin also set up tables in different areas of campus to speak with students over the course of two days. At the University of Indiana involving students who promote the One.IU portal at campus events and on social media helps drive adoption. At the same time the student volunteers get a lot of feedback they can share with the development team. 9. Provide an immediate feedback loop. At St. Edward s University students can rate and review tasks on MyHIlltop and tell you what they think about them. Are they easy to use Did they have any problems Does it make sense With immediate feedback the university can tell quicker than ever if something is working or if it s not. And Nicole Hill product owner says that the feedback they ve received has been uniformly appreciative.
What to expect the rest of 2018 from the rSmartiesWhere has the time gone We re already almost halfway through 2018 so now is a good time to touch base on our product roadmap looking ahead and reviewing previous months. You may have seen my video explaining how we at rSmart strive to set ourselves apart from the traditional tech company. To paraphrase vintage cartoon character Yogi we aim to be r Smarter than the average bear. Take our close comfortable and ongoing relationship with our customers. We ask for a lot of feedback and we really react quickly to what you tell us. So it s no coincidence that what s coming up product wise for the rest of the year happens to be just what you told us you wanted. More Connectors Yes Please. One area where we ve seen a lot of demand is integration. We have what we call connectors that allow for much simplified integration with external systems like ERP LMS and emergency messaging. So far we ve released connectors for Banner 8 Blackboard and Canvas. They ve been quite popular so as requested we re looking to add on connectors for other systems you have on campus. During the summer months and beyond we ll be working on connectors for Banner 9 PeopleSoft and Workday a cloud based alternative for HR and financial management. Another upcoming connector and specific request from Citrus College in California is for Rave an emergency alert system. On the LMS side we re looking to add support for Desire2Learn and Moodle. And in some cases we re looking for schools to partner with to help us test and provide feedback. So let us know if you re interested in participating. While connectors are the biggest thing now that everyone wants it s also about feature enhancements for OneCampus. We ve got literally dozens of smaller ideas from individual customers. However connectors and feature enhancements aren t the only things on our mind right now we re also cooking up new products as well. Ta da It s CampusConfirm and CampusClassifieds We re working very hard on CampusConfirm a centralized digital verification system that makes compliance a lot easier. The product version is in production at St. Edward s University and Indiana University. Based on their evaluation there are three key things we want to add to CampusConfirm reporting simpler integration with external systems and integration with OneCampus. And we re adding local storage as well to simplify accessing data for surveys and other basic verifications and compliance issues. Later in 2018 we will start to roll out CampusClassifieds. The best way to describe it is that the functionality is a lot like Craigslist with a fresh Instagram feel. In other words it s a basic online community marketing system that s simple to use with powerful functionality and a very modern interface. Because CampusClassifieds is limited to authenticated users on your campus it keeps buying and selling goods and services in the family so to speak. Seems Like Only Yesterday Let s reminisce a bit. Back in February we pushed out our first OneCampus release of the year. It included a number of key enhancements including accessibility improvements a simple main page option a maintenance module for clearing report data and the ability to add bookmarks to favorite collections. Get the details. Remember our recent spring release in May It included UI theming improved connector error messages and log active content for Task Centers and a downloadable users report. Refresh your memory. So keep those emails coming. At rSmart we re always up for hearing your ideas issues and concerns. It s not just what we do it s who we are.
While student success remains the main driving force of technological change it s hardly the only one.Universities are actively relying on various advancements in technology to reform the higher education experience as we know it. While student success remains the main driving force of technological change it s hardly the only one. Universities are using large amounts of data to improve decision making implementing new and advanced strategies to keep that data secure and leveraging the IT sector to help them attract just the right prospects and help prevent bullying. Here are five education technology trends every CIO should be focusing on in 2018. Data driven decisions Data analytics has become an integral part of the modern decision making process and universities are starting to realize that strategies for data management are no longer considered a luxury but rather a practical necessity. Making an effort to unify data standardization results in an improved educational system. Universities are starting to assess the way they collect sift through and store their data. Data storage and management is one thing but using that data to improve retention and drive student success is a different ball game. For example data can also be used to create better educational plans to determine and enhance campus space utilization and efficiently plan for any further changes in regards to campus construction. Digital assignments and course materials With a whopping billion hours of educational videos being watched on YouTube each day the platform is the primary source of information for modern day students. However the sheer amount of educational material has created some challenges for universities ranging from finding the appropriate content creating new ones and knowing what can be reused for practical and time saving purposes. Academic semesters can be pretty busy and faculty members rarely have the time or the energy needed to sift through all the videos find the perfect one and proceed to clip and curate it. As the need for instructional videos increase so do the issues regarding the accessibility of said videos especially for students whose range of needs widens as universities become increasingly diverse. Skimming over text materials is fast and easy but educators need similar tools to work with video content related to higher education. Textual content can be adapted paraphrased and quoted so it s only natural that we started using similar tools and practices with video content. Mobile oriented learning experience Higher education work is becoming geographically dispersed increasingly mobile and virtualized. This environment allows us to be readily available as well as far more collaborative and effective than ever before. Instant gratification provided by mobile technology might be present outside the classroom but it offers new and exciting opportunities to higher education experience. Relying on mobile devices to find out how when and where students consume and learn information can help universities learn more about them and help both students and their educators leverage their smartphones to improve the overall learning experience. Anti bullying tech Regrettably the world in which we live is where anyone can create an online profile and use it to promote their agenda regardless of how disruptive it may be for others. Online bullying has become increasingly widespread namely due to the highly prolific nature of various social media platforms and their intrinsic connection to mobile devices. While technology can be used to enable abusive behavior it can also be used to provide solutions to fight this issue in 2018. Educational technologies can provide teachers data such as browsing history and search term tracking apps for remote viewing of student devices or be used to monitor their voice tone and flag specific keywords providing insight into the moods and tribulations of the average student. Increase in IT The IT sector can and needs to play a more significant role in the higher education infrastructure and help the universities fulfill their mission plan and improve their strategies in doing so. IT can help the academic side by streamlining the process of recruitment and enrollment while at the same time help students graduate more smoothly and improve retention rates. Administration can also benefit from IT namely by relying on it to automate repetitive administrative tasks and improve workflow over various departments. Tech can be used to transform the dull old notion of a college classroom into a collaborative space capable of bringing the best out of the brightest minds by effortlessly providing them with just the information they need and allowing them to work on that information using the devices they already have at their disposal. Conclusion IT has the unique capability of becoming the university s digital circulatory system and in doing so attracts more students who are prone to universities who invest their time and resources into tech oriented solutions and use them innovatively across the student campus. It s only natural for higher education to become intertwined with technology and delegate the role of IT to help manage the necessary organizational change and reshape our institutions to provide their students staff and faculty with what they want when they want it.
Student portals have become one stop resources for a wide variety of student issues. Today our lives are increasingly transacted online. That s why our expectations about college offered services continue to grow. A student portal is necessary whether you re supporting your current students or enrolling new ones. Technology is extensively used to enhance the student experience with student portals representing the cornerstone technology for delivering services applications and content successfully. Student portals have become one stop resources for a wide variety of student issues. There students can download different forms that they would otherwise have to sit and fill out in a certain campus department. They can download bus schedules student handbooks or get informed about the latest news regarding their campus life. To put it simply students can get different resources via their student portal and avoid waiting for appointments or visiting a department to tackle their problems. Integration of Student Portals with Google There is also a way for students to use their Google account to authenticate with your institution s OneCampus student portal. Students can use their Google accounts to automatically log in to the portal once they are already signed into Google. Let s take a look at the overall steps for making it happen. Enable OneCampus GoogleAuth Enable Google SSO configuration for student portal Activate domain s you wish to be able to authenticate. In an increasingly digitized world there s no room for outdated student portals that are difficult to use. Students want to access reliable and accurate information as fast as possible. Therefore a student portal has to be designed to connect your administrators students teachers and parents from any device and location. Universities or colleges must realize that their student portal is an extension of their institution s brand and that it helps to enhance a positive reputation. Searchability and Intuitive Design If navigating a student portal stands as a challenge then it s definitely not designed properly. When designing a portal developers need to start with a consideration of what their users need to accomplish. They need to be able to navigate to the information they need and to do it quickly. Student portals should undergo usability testing and follow up with the current web standards. Of course it s not always easy to know which users will or will not find it intuitive but again watching users is the only way to make sure that your student portal works the way it should. A student portal needs to be searchable and allow students to find what they re looking for at any moment. Your student portal should have a separate search bar and search for content within the student portal. The mistake many student portals usually make is including too much content on one page. It can really be confusing even though it may seem convenient. There must be a hierarchy of information and all of it must be appropriately linked to make things far easier for your students. Make Your Student Portal Mobile Friendly Should you design for mobile or leave it for later This is no longer an option but an obligatory feature. According to Wearesocial.com more than half of the entire world s web traffic comes from mobile phones while certain statistics point out that people tend to spend up to 5 hours each day on mobile devices. The increase in usage and reliance on mobile phones requires universities to enable their students to access their student portal via smart mobile devices. Every functionality they can find on the portal s desktop version needs to be adapted for smaller screens as well. The decision whether to design a separate mobile app or just make your website mobile responsive depends on your needs. Having a mobile app comes with various benefits such as Faster loading. When using an app users have the majority of the content already pre downloaded on their devices. This makes it easier and faster to navigate from one page to another. Push notification alerts. These are important for presenting important information such as notices alerts and other news in a timely manner. As they are sent directly to mobile devices you ensure that students with an installed app will see them. Seamless access. With a single login you allow users to remain logged in for future visits. Mobile first design. Because mobile apps are designed to be viewed exclusively on mobile they often appear more professional and polished. They also follow requirements of a particular mobile phone operating system. With Google being the most used search engine in the world with a popular email client you can enable your students to sign in to your student portal through their Google accounts. When thought out properly made mobile friendly and searchable your student portal will lead to a broader and connected community of students administrators teachers and parents. Why Well to enable the easiest access to relevant information and make college life easier of course
Learn about all things OneCampus in just two minutesHelping your students find success on campus starts with OneCampus the service discovery tool.
Data compliance doesn t need to be a headache. Simply life with CampusConfirm.On every college campus across the U.S. today there is a need to verify student and staff information. In the event of an emergency on campus what emergency contacts should be notified For university administrators and staff mailing addresses need to be verified and updated annually for tax documents this list goes on and on But how are schools managing this process In addition separate departments on the same campus manage data compliance and verification differently. The time is right for a streamlined compliance and verification process to securely collect critical information. And because it s 2018 this process needs to be simple digital and r smart. There Has To Be An Easier Way Compliance officers financial aid administrators human resource execs and others are required to collect and update critical student and staff information on a regular basis. Chief Information Security Officers may have requirements by state law requiring the gathering of specific user data to ensure compliance. Different teams need to verify everything from citizenship immunization records military status tax forms mailing address health insurance and so much more. These verifications are often handled differently across departments. Some departments may handle digitally while others on the same campus manage on paper. Seriously paper Instead of multiple inconsistent processes for data verification across various campus departments why not implement a digital verification system to ensure a streamlined process across the entire campus A Digital Verification System Part of rSmart s modern campus platform CampusConfirm is a powerful data verification and compliance system built with higher ed administrators in mind. Through CampusConfirm users accessing a specific website task or program requiring authentication through the institution s SSO will be redirected to a verification page. Once on this page the user will need to confirm or update the required information. Institutions can also allow users to defer the completion for a set number of times. Once complete or deferred users can then move on to their original destination. Built in a partnership with Indiana University CampusConfirm is a modern solution to unreliable methods sometimes still used to gather required compliance data. Similar to OneCampus the next generation service discovery solution CampusConfirm leverages web based technology cloud architecture and an intuitive mobile first interface. nbsp Eric Westfall Enterprise Software Architect at Indiana University one of the minds behind CampusConfirm demonstrates in this webinar the simplicity of both the user and administrator experiences. We wanted to have a way that we could essentially review and update required data annually said Westfall. For example we need students faculty and staff to review and update their emergency contact information each year. But Does It Work At Indiana University a snapshot of verifications from the last six months details the number of completions deferrals and edits. Looking at the number of edits Westfall says We re getting value out of this immediately just look at the nearly 17 000 people that updated their emergency contact information. I d say it works
Schools just like yours love OneCampus watch how they are using your next fave service discovery tool.Some people might have to poke and prong their customers for rave reviews but our awesome customers just can 8217 t stop talking about our product OneCampus.
A comprehensive search solutionThe University of Pittsburgh s portal architecture delivers a seamless login experience to both authenticated and unauthenticated content. However the portal s previous search feature only returned results on documents stored within the portal environment leaving out a broader search of services accessed through the University s many websites. In addition users were not able to bookmark or prioritize links to their favorite services. From an administration perspective the application was also a challenge to update and maintain. The University needed a more scalable mobile friendly service discovery solution that would continue to function as a one stop location for the services that students faculty and staff access most frequently. After evaluating all available options the University of Pittsburgh chose OneCampus due to the low cost of ownership its powerful search and personalization features like the ability to favorite tasks. Instead of a hard cutover to the new system the University of Pittsburgh chose to integrate the OneCampus search bar into their existing portal. This approach eases the transition for individuals accustomed to visiting the portal and also provides time to upgrade any services that still rely on the previous portal framework. The result an enhanced service discovery experience for the University of Pittsburgh community. During implementation the Pitt Information Technology team worked with departments across campus to introduce the features of service discovery and increase their presence in the application. Departments move quickly towards adoption once they understand how service discovery can increase the visibility of their services and information. The ability to assign managers to individual tasks has also been well received and empowers departments to post announcements or disable tasks during maintenance windows without assistance from central IT. The utilization of OneCampus at Pitt continues to grow. More than 800 tasks have been added to date and new tasks continue to be added every term.
Hear from a few of the customers we heart and their experiences with the rSmarties.At rSmart we pride ourselves on delivering world class customer service. It 8217 s not just what we do it 8217 s who we are 8230 but don 8217 t just take it from us.
Watch the recording of Eric Westfall Software Architect from the Indiana University discuss CampusConfirm.Streamlining schools verification processes for essential student amp staff info has never been easier. CampusConfirm is a breakthrough a centralized digital verification system that requires users students faculty staff contractors anyone to verify outstanding information before they can continue on with an authenticated task. nbsp
VP of Operations Todd Yates from rSmart discusses what threats to look out for in Higher Ed.As any IT analyst will tell you phishing is a credible threat to private data everywhere. Along with malware and ransomware phishing is among the most common types of cybersecurity threat. Bad actors will go to great lengths to disguise their identity whether it 8217 s an embedded link in an email that asks for sensitive information or a fake deactivation scare. Sometimes these threats can be targeted to key individuals 8211 controllers bursar registrars 8211 and are based on research the phishers have done on your institution. As higher ed tech moves from single data storage centers to a hybrid cloud based infrastructure leaders in the field are grappling with just how to prevent incidents of phishing from becoming more prevalent affecting their students faculty and staff. What are the risks for phishing on a cloud based platform Phishing is a problem in the cloud for the following reasons 1. External data storage requires more scrutiny because of ease of access Both the primary benefit and the primary concern for cloud based data hosting is the ease of access. One of the primary goals for utilizing cloud services is broadening access to those off campus and to help make it easier to legitimately access campus services. Conversely anyone with privileged access to the cloud service has free reign to take whatever confidential data is present in the system. Cloud computing functions on a decentralized model managed by a third party data hosting company. A school hires the data hosting company which owns different servers across a variety of networks. User data from the school is then hosted across these servers and the school pays for enough storage space to ensure fast processing time. This is how many enterprise systems are built and managed. From a cybersecurity perspective issues arise when data is decentralized. Each network has to have its own set of security measures and not all systems are as secure as others. For the cloud hosting company charged with monitoring the data it can be hard to tell the difference between approved personnel and a bad actor posing as approved personnel. The bottom line is that third party monitoring is rife with challenges and as a result there are more opportunities for an intelligent cybercriminal to sneak in. As a result of these risks it is imperative CIOs hire a transparent cloud service company 8211 one that goes above and beyond in their communication efforts. 2. Software updates may not be done on time Third party negligence is also a factor when it comes to software updates. If the cloud company forgets to perform a software update or adequately fix a security malfunction data breaches are far more likely to occur. Once again CIOs must perform due diligence in the contract process. Transparency communication and thorough security infrastructure are important indicators of an excellent cloud based company. 3. Insufficient Identity Management Cloud based companies have a responsibility to ensure their platforms are safe from cyber threats. But the primary responsibility lies with the customer. Working with a secure cloud provider means very little if you as an institution do not have a comprehensive security policy in place. In common oversight made by educational IT departments is an insufficient identity management system. The goal of identity management is to ensure the right users get access to the appropriate assets at all times. All too often in the ed tech space IT managers have put three or four permission authorization walls between an authorized user a student and information pertinent to them their class information etc. . A fine balance must be struck between ensuring ease of use and prevent cyberattacks. What can Ed Tech leaders do to prevent phishing Proactive educational technology leaders have designed some different systems to prevent phishing from affecting their faculty and study body. While every institution poses its own set of challenges there are a few common strategies deployed by CIOs across the country to deal with cyber threats. These include 3a. Educate Employees and Students The primary target for bad actors is the end user. If your student body or faculty are unaware of the risks then cybercriminals will have a walk in the park. An informational campaign launched around campus detailing the signs of phishing is an efficient way to let end users know that they are the target and that constant vigilance is needed. A Cyber Mindfulness campaign at the University of Dayton is a good example of an educational approach that along with running consistent phishing tests can keep users up to date. 3b. Develop a Security Policy and Strategy Every school should update their security policy once a year as new technologies and cyber threats come into the equation. A well thought out security policy always starts by understanding your vulnerabilities. It could be slow system upgrades ensuring patches are in place or poor integration of legacy software with cloud computing. Whatever the issues are you need to focus on the weakest link before anything else. Once the weaknesses have been identified a cloud security strategy can be outlined for the entire IT team to follow. As Kasey Panetta describes a proper strategy should include Setting up appropriate visibility controls Better requirement analysis Sophisticated architecture Flexible risk acceptance A risk model that reflects the cloud model nbsp At rSmart we took the initiative in 2014 to become and remain compliant with the Cloud Controls Matrix of the Cloud Security Alliance one of the most comprehensive controls guidelines for cloud based services. 3c. Put up a SPAM Filter SPAM filters on every registered email are essential especially for faculty. A SPAM filter will detect viruses and identify black senders entering the network. It is very common for bad actors to target business officers and faculty because they have access to private or proprietary data. Conclusion There is no prescribed method for dealing with phishing. Any extensive network consisting of personal and proprietary data is at risk. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of a proactive CIO who must develop policies educate the end user and build security measures into the network to mitigate the threat 8211 however it may present itself. nbsp
Just in time for spring check out the latest features OneCampus has today.The next OneCampus release is planned for the late evening overnight on Tuesday May 1 2018. No downtime is anticipated. PLEASE NOTE During our three weeks of internal testing a few items rose to the surface that aren 8217 t the experiences we feel you deserve so we have made the decision to postpone the release from April 24 to May 1. This release will contain bug fixes and the following key enhancements UI theming The ability to create objects in line with task creation The ability to restrict connector access to certain ACL s Improved connector error messages and connector errors log Active dates for Pinned Sections Active content for Task Centers Browser Push Notifications for Alerts and Global Announcements Browser Push Notifications Report Global Announcements indicator badge Filter Task amp Task Center Activity Reports based on Publisher permissions Users Report
Tony Potts CEO of rSmart discusses history of rSmart and OneCampus.At rSmart we strive to set ourselves apart from the average tech company. rSmart CEO Tony Potts dives into what drives the rSmartians day to day.
Guest blogger Nicole Hill shares smart strategies learned at St. Edward s UniversityWhen we launch new technology at St. Edward s University there can be some wariness among faculty and staff. Then again this may be true on campuses everywhere. Fortunately hindsight can be 20 20. With each new implementation of a tool or service we document what we wish we d known or done before we began. Here s a peek under the hood of what we learned following our January 2017 launch of myHilltop our improved campus portal via OneCampus by rSmart. Engage with your stakeholders early and often In Spring 2015 we began usability studies on our previous portal to uncover what users liked and didn t like what worked and didn t work. For those studies we engaged students faculty and staff. The results were incredible showing us an almost universal desire for a better myHilltop experience. By engaging directly with users it became clear that a new tool was necessary to provide the flexibility and user experience we needed. As we all learned from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams if you build it they will come. In our case we learned build a search bar and they will come. And it wasn t just the front end experience that needed improvement. With our old portal the technical complexity all but ensured that IT staff would be required to maintain all of the content. All of it. We needed a simpler solution that would allow non techies to manage publishing their own content. It s worth noting here that even if you re planning a more centralized publishing structure it never hurts to speak with other functional areas on campus and create allies. They often turn into advocates Write everything down When I said that hindsight can be 20 20 it s really only true if you write it all down. Relying on memory hasn t proven to be the most effective method for review. As we were building out the new myHilltop we chose to move to a distributed publishing approach that allowed content owners like financial aid admissions and human resources to maintain tasks on their own. This decision empowered those teams and removed the burden from the shoulders of IT. Be sure not only to write down but to articulate early and often the role of these publishers and the types of content that are meant for publishing. It s also important to write down and share what is not meant for publishing. This will eliminate future headaches for everybody. Experimentation is great and we ve learned a lot as we ve moved from implementation to ongoing refinement but setting the boundaries early lessens confusion and angst on all sides. Get the meta data right Before launching any technology set some KPI. That s business speak for Key Performance Indicators. If you know your goals and set measurable KPI you can track your success more easily. To ensure we launched our new myHilltop as a fully functional site we first built myHilltop Preview. We wanted to ensure we could work out any and all kinks at least six months before we did a hard switchover from our old portal. This allowed us the freedom to make mistakes and to learn from them without all eyes on us. As you d expect the success of a search based portal is based entirely on its ability to turn up the right search results. Our myHilltop Preview days clued us in quickly to the fact that in several cases we didn t have the right metadata in place to surface the search results our users were expecting. Once we reviewed and refined our metadata titles and tags specifically user searches began producing the expected results. The overall experience and confidence in the platform improved as a result. Introducing new technology on campus can be a radical change. But with proper research planning and review implementation can be simpler than you imagine. Now after more than a year using OneCampus by rSmart to deliver myHilltop it s clear we made the right choice and the feedback we ve received from our community is uniformly appreciative. About the Author Nicole Hill is the OneCampus Product Owner at St. Edward s University in Austin TX and is also the recipient of the 2018 rSmart Modernizing Campus Technology Award.
There is no better place to observe the effects of contemporary digital innovation than on college campuses.Technology has had an incredible impact on education. Universal adoption of the internet in every walk of life has meant ground breaking changes to the way we learn. When it is all said and done the impact of the internet on how we learn process and share knowledge will rank among the most revolutionary inventions of our time. Perhaps there is no better place to observe the effects of contemporary digital innovation than on college campuses. It might seem ironic given the stereotype of the ivory tower often attached to institutions of higher learning that colleges are places of innovation but in the tech world they most certainly are. Consider that The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was where Jay Wright Forrester invented the magnetic core memory. It turned out to be the dominant form of computer memory used from 1955 to 1975. The first computer was put together and made to work in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania. Facebook itself came from the dormitory halls of Harvard in 2004. Given this laudable pedigree of innovation here are three ways in which technology has enhanced the student experience on campus in recent years Predictive Analytics Help Students Pick the Right Courses and Stay Engaged The most important intangible for a student to succeed in higher education is engagement. And in order to become engaged students need to be informed about things around campus. Enter OneCampus by rSmart. As the University of Notre Dame found out OneCampus is the perfect tool to meet the needs of its students. The IT department found it easy to install users have found it simple to navigate through and everyone enjoys its mobile optimization. Today more than 12 000 students at Notre Dame benefit from a mobile application that tracks their schedule sends reminder notes for due dates and monitors the overall path to graduation. The OneCampus app is a great example of how predictive analytics can improve student performance. The vast majority of students will benefit from having quick and easy access to their performance relative to their program requirements. That is only possible with predictive analytics. Going one step further a customer service oriented approach to answering student questions is a great way to Offer solutions to questions before they become problems Improve student appreciation for the administrative body of a college or university More Blended Learning and Testing Many schools are combining the traditional face to face lecture model with a new e learning component. Students are expected to watch and take notes on pre recorded lectures outside of the classroom and to come to class ready for a quiz or some additional learning experience. This new approach to education has been dubbed blended learning . Blended learning has implications for all levels of the education. In the context of higher education it allows the professor to break away from a text heavy curriculum and spend more time on interactive learning initiatives. New classrooms are equipped with the most high tech screens and audio equipment all designed for a more multi media approach to learning. Those students who never excelled at ready comprehension no longer at a disadvantage The data up until now indicates the effectiveness of blended learning. According to research from West Chester University in Pennsylvania blended learning proved to Increase the average score of students as compared with the non blended section and Improve engagement among students Perhaps most striking the researchers found that 90 of students liked the blended approach as compared to the conventional non blended style of lecturing. Social Media Breaks Down Boundaries A third major contribution can be found in social media. As it turns out social media is not a distraction for students living on campus for the first time. As research from Collin Ruud indicates there is a strong link between social media use mainly on Facebook and feeling a sense of belonging to a school. Whether it s reaching out to an online community for advice on where to do your laundry chatting away with high school friends about how much has been learned and experienced while living in a dormitory or posting a status update to see who s on campus the fact is that social media is an invaluable tool for undergraduates today. Clearly students want to integrate their educational experience into their overall digital existence. The challenge for IT departments remains solving how to structure their student portal in such a way that it operates more like an app rather than an academic database. Conclusion A shift towards efficiency and transparency in terms of access to information are the two forces underpinning the innovation of IT services on campus. As the above examples show students will always respond well to a new system that improves their ability to access important information in real time and learn in a way that makes most sense for them.
Oberlin College successfully launches OneCampus SSO and Banner 9 on the same day At Oberlin College students returned from spring break on March 26 to a series of new technologies on campus. It was going to be a big week for not only the students faculty and staff at Oberlin but also for the Oberlin College Center for Information Technology. The CIT at Oberlin launched Single Sign On SSO parts of Banner 9 and launch their service discovery portal OberView all in the same week. I was fortunate to receive an invite to Oberlin to help with the launch of their OneCampus instance with students or Obies as they are known on campus. Time for Change When it s time for changes in campus technology the Oberlin College Center for Information Technology has the blueprint for success. Oftentimes transformations can takes years. Not at Oberlin. In December 2017 Oberlin partnered with rSmart to deliver a branded OneCampus instance to help students find and discover campus services. And on March 26 they were live Not only were they live with OneCampus on March 26 they also launched SSO and limited access to Banner 9. ALL ON THE SAME DAY To best communicate with users the CIT sent a communication to all students faculty and staff with instructions for SSO and a link to OberView. They also set up tables in different areas of campus to speak with students over the course of two days. Before and After Accessing campus services before OberView was a headache. I heard directly from students about their frustrations with their prior portal PRESTO a list of links after links after links to reach simple campus services. Similar to dramatic weight loss images or home renovation images the before and after of the Oberlin portal are just as extraordinary. Students were frustrated that PRESTO wasn t mobile friendly it wasn t search based and they were generally tired of it. Fortunately for students the college was listening and introduced OberView. Students are in love I was thrilled to be on campus and have the opportunity to see and hear student s initial reactions to OberView myself This is a gigantic improvement 8211 much more efficient This is going to be a welcome and useful improvement to the way students access campus resources. I 8217 m in LOVE with the single sign on for this THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU The students at Oberlin reminded me once more why we here at rSmart are committed to modernizing campus technology and simplifying campus life. It really does have an impact. Thank you to the staff of the Oberlin CIT team for inviting me to share in your exciting launch https www.rsmart.com wp content uploads 2018 04 Oberview Reaction.mp4 nbsp
Learn how building an innovative web strategy at the University of Michigan provided solutions to general problems in the realms of universal design content management editorial and branding standards.We have two quick questions for you before you can access this super awesome webinar.
3 Reasons the cloud makes sense as a replacement for conventional web applications in higher ed tech.Cloud technology has swept across the business sector over the past couple of years. Based on the use of remote servers working in conjunction with local components to process information from a local browser the potential impact on data management and storage for institutions is quite immense. Google has been offering 15 30GB of storage on their cloud based Drive service for years but today there are third party cloud infrastructure providers who help companies manage their email file storage customer relationship management data collection and more on a much larger scale. As it happens cloud based application software is the ideal solution to problems experienced by IT departments in higher education. IT in higher education has always been hard pressed to manage reams of user data on a conventional web application which requires plenty of hardware to be stored on site. With shrinking budgets and increased scalability issues cloud computing offers a lot of benefits. Here are three key reasons why the cloud makes sense as a replacement for conventional web applications in the higher education technology market. Integration is Key According to Gordon Freedman the key value of the cloud platform is its integrational application. While Freedman applauds campuses for making use of cloud storage capabilities he stresses there is so much cross functional data processing potential in user end services that make sense for schools. What exactly is Freedman referring to The fact that a higher education institution could integrate all manner of student and faculty behavior as well as resource allocation performance as part of a cloud service integration strategy. Given the fact that institutions currently spend a lot of money and time on separate software solutions to provide services and monitor performance issues in isolation from each other integrating the entire IT ecosystem into one centrally integrated hub makes a lot of sense. For students integration means they will have easier access to a whole host of resources from discussions with a teacher to researching course material finding out about construction work on campus and so much more all from one source. Integration makes a user friendly experience for both faculty and students. Mobility Is Easy with the Cloud Research from Vion into the use of cloud computing in higher education produced some interesting results. For example one of the most popular benefits to using cloud technology was its mobility as many as 62 of respondents listed it as a benefit. As mobile use continues to replace desktop use an ability for schools to offer a cloud based mobile application to students and faculty is incredibly desirable. It can mean several different things depending on the budget of the school and the needs of their student body including Cloud Based Classroom Applications. This will allow students to literally take their homework with them wherever they go. It Keeps Up with the Times. Students born after 1990 will have a familiarity with tablets and mobile devices by a very early age. Schools that can appeal to this form and delivery of learning in as many ways as possible will be more appealing to students because it will offer them a chance to solve problems the way they know how by searching for it on the web. The University Experience is Broader. Distance learning is a market that has grown and strengthened in the last decade. It is now possible to live in Australia and get a Certificate in Higher Education from Oxford University. Those who still neglect the opportunity of mobile learning and the changing nature of education have likely missed the boat because the distance learning market has huge enrollment potential for schools. What does it take A robust IT infrastructure that is scalable and able to meet the educational demands of 21st century learners. As you can imagine cloud technology is the best technology available to underpin the global reach of education today. All a student needs is access to quality internet and they can enjoy the same educational access and opportunities as someone sitting in the classroom. The Cloud Offers a Number of Service Models As this informative research paper indicates the cloud offers a number of effective service models for IT departments to consider. Rather than managing every level of the IT infrastructure as is the case with traditional IT a school could decide to purchase Infrastructure as a Service IaaS . The school purchases everything but the operating system and hardware. Platform as a Service PaaS . The school purchases just the platform application. Software as a Service SaaS . The school purchases only the service end the application. This is the most affordable because there is no hardware onsite. Conclusion As you can see the benefits to a cloud system are far reaching and impactful. Any IT department struggling with service delivery of even a marginally dysfunctional web application would benefit from upgrading to the cloud. The unique value of cloud technology is that it improves the end user experience the students while cutting down immensely on maintenance issues of scale and monitoring work for the IT department.
Check out these 3 particularly exciting ways in which newer forms of learning technology are changing higher education for the betterLearning technology plays an important role in helping students navigate through their university or college experience successfully. Whether in the form of an e book with practical modules an engaging video lecture from an expert living across the country or a portal with information to help students find what they need on campus the opportunities for technological innovation in the educational sphere appear to be endless. However when it comes to student portals it appears that many colleges and universities have yet to replace outdated platforms with more current solutions. It goes without saying that choosing the right kind of portal infrastructure takes plenty of research. In the interest of giving you an idea where the educational learning industry is at in 2018 here are three particularly exciting ways in which newer forms of learning technology are changing higher education for the better Harnessing Big Data to Make Even Bigger Changes Learning technology has an incredible emancipatory effect. Consider the Times Higher Education story about Georgia State University as an example. It began with Mark Becker the incoming President in 2009 who decided to re brand the university to become a national model for undergraduate education by demonstrating that students from all backgrounds can achieve academic and career success at high rates. And what was his tool in this emancipatory project Big data and predictive analytics. Becker and his team went about collecting data about all the students at the university not just the high performing ones who succeed without much impediment. The IT department found that lower income students were often taking non credit classes by mistake thus lengthening their university stay and forcing them to drop. Having made this discovery the university went on to install software throughout the school that now tracks the decisions of all 30 000 undergraduates. The intuitive software tracks risk factors that may lead to dropping out and warns the student of this potential before it becomes acute. The software has proven to be a great success and points to the remarkable impact technology can have upon a student s educational trajectory. Digital Courses Virtual Assignments YouTube has become such a popular hub for educational videos during the past couple of years. Is this really surprising No because people have always wanted first hand access to educational resources on a variety of topics. Universities are taking a cue from the popularity of YouTube and offering more and better digital courses to their students. While some of the bigger schools like Harvard offer incredible free resources for educational videos and courses other schools have sprung up that are purely digital. This is another emancipatory effect of technology on education. Everyone is now able to share in the wealth of knowledge previously held hostage in the cloistered halls of academia. What it means for existing college and university campuses is quite simple innovate in the digital space or be left behind. Mobile Application is Already Here All the data from Google and other search analytics companies indicate that mobile phone usage has outstripped desktop usage. What does that mean for students on campus It means students want the ability to look up where their next course is from their phone as they walk over to get a coffee in the cafeteria. It means they want the convenience of doing homework on their phone as they walk to work. Mobile application has already happened in some schools but many schools have yet to invest in the software. In offering a mobile optimized user experience the main challenges for an IT department are as follows Scale. One of the big problems with scalability is ensuring that faculty students and administration have the same level of user experience. This includes financial integration scheduling integration enterprise planning integration and so much more. However with cloud technology backing all of the leading technology software products today the means of scalability have finally met the demands of the job. Layout. An interactive layout that models popular sites that students use regularly is going to win the day in the long run. Students need to be able to interact with a software that understands their unique demands and can offer equally unique solutions. In order to captivate students in 2018 the layout of the portal should mirror a web page as much as possible. A common problem area listed on the home page is a good start while a search bar listed on the homepage is another important feature to improve usability. Conclusion Higher education is no longer isolated from the rest of the world. Technology has helped to democratize the university experience for everyone regardless of actual physical location. Universities know they need to adapt with the times or be left with a dwindling student body. Education was one of the first sectors to adopt predictive analytics and the emancipatory impact has been immense
Learn how Bob Hughes from Citrus College revolutionized campus communicationIn less than one year at Citrus College Bob Hughes reimagined the digital communication landscape. From website redesign to the launch of My.CitrusCollege.edu Bob and his team led focus groups to get to the root of what catches and keeps student s attention. Last week we had the pleasure to sit in on Bob 8217 s webinar where he shared his secrets to success when communicating to students across campus. However these truly are no secrets but accessible resources every college has that can help to increase awareness. So what did Bob do differently He merely engaged students and familiarized himself with trends that they would respond to. P.S. never underestimate the value of free pizza when asking favors of students. Bob also addressed the issue of making predictions on campus and why you should never assume. Sharing information about new technology coming to your campus may seem like you 8217 re talking a different language than your students but it doesn 8217 t have to feel like that. The iPhone was released more than ten years ago and it is still a millennials best friend. After a decade of constant connectivity college students have competing interests for their attention making it nearly impossible to break through the communication chaos to reach them. While Bob faced some obstacles in the beginning he was able to overcome them after receiving feedback from the students. We like to think of Bob as a thriving millennial since he is so trendy amongst his students now. Watch out world Bob is here and bringing IT communication back. Watch a recording of the webinar How CIO 8217 s Can Break Through the Communication Chaos to Reach Students in 2018 or just ask Bob.
Back to the FutureSt. Edward s University was living in the past. They had an outdated campus portal that was neither searchable nor mobile friendly. You can guess what effect that had on student usage. Add in the technical complexity of the ancient portal and it all but ensured IT staff would be required to maintain all of the content. Powered by results from usability studies across all users it was time for a change. Users demanded a better experience. Some redesigns and overhauls of the existing portal wouldn t cut it. It was clear that a new solution was required. In researching the best solution OneCampus by rSmart rose to the top. During a four month pilot of OneCampus students faculty and staff were all exposed to the improved MyHilltop experience. We learned a number of things during our pilot said Nicole Hill Product Owner. Students loved the interface. They just understood it without much instruction or guidance. Build a search bar and they will come. Different lexicons across campus were also discovered during the pilot. What one individual would call a 8220 maintenance request 8221 another would call a 8220 work order. 8221 These types of discoveries were key to refining task titles descriptions and tags to ensure the site was truly searchable. St. Edward s was looking primarily for three features in a new portal searchability responsive design and a customizable user experience. OneCampus had all three in spades said Hill. The interface is intuitive particularly for students and features like 8216 favorites 8217 worked well for allowing users particularly staff and faculty to build more or less their own dashboard. Similar to launching any new technology there was some wariness among faculty and staff at St. Edward s University. Now with more than a year with OneCampus it s clear we made the right choice and the feedback we ve received is almost uniformly appreciative said Hill. Because the back end admin experience is user friendly and versatile St. Edward s University quickly moved to a distributed publishing model. This model allows functional areas largely to control their own content with minimal administrative oversight from IT. We were able to give departments more autonomy over their business processes with minimal involvement from OIT. For our part we re thrilled to be out of the role of middleman and in many cases these departments have turned into the biggest champions of myHilltop. 8221
College students have competing interests for their attention making it nearly impossible to break through the communication chaos to reach them. We have two quick questions for you before you can access this super awesome webinar.
Upcoming OneCampus release Bug fixes accessibility improvements and key enhancementsSix different schools requested feature enhancements in this February release will your school be next The next OneCampus release is scheduled for the late evening overnight on Tuesday February 27. No downtime is anticipated. This release will contain bug fixes accessibility improvements and the following key enhancements Simple Main Page Maintenance module for clearing report data Ability to filter mobile friendly tasks Target task level announcements to individual roles Ability to add bookmarks to favorite collections Ability to sort announcements by date filter Ability to link Canvas tasks to different areas within Canvas Ability to link Blackboard tasks to different areas within BlackBoard
2018 rSmart Users Conference Highlights Award WinnersEach year OneCampus administrators from across the country are invited to Scottsdale Arizona for the annual rSmart Users Conference. Last week 25 representatives from 15 colleges attended the 2018 rSmart Users Conference to learn how each school uses OneCampus the next generation portal or service discovery tool as we learned some schools prefer to call it . And The Award Goes To At the conclusion of each Users Conference rSmart celebrates partner schools that have demonstrated leadership using OneCampus in the prior 12 month period. The 2018 Modernizing Campus Technology Award was presented to Nicole Hill of St. Edward s University. In 2017 Nicole demonstrated an ongoing commitment to sharing product feature ideas with therSmart team that directly benefited the OneCampus community at large. For more than two years Nicole has been an ambassador for their OneCampus instance MyHilltop across the St. Edward s University campus leading to increased adoption across all users. The 2018 Simplifying Campus Life Award was presented to Bob Hughes of Citrus College. Last year Bob led the charge to purchase and launch OneCampus in only five months. During development Bob and his team led focus groups to gain intel direct from students in order to develop My.CitrusCollege to meet their needs. Bob also took a proactive approach in promoting My.CitrusCollege across campus owned social media channels building enthusiasm and creating momentum prior to launch. Who Said What In one and a half days together users conference attendees learned a variety of best practices including but not limited to how schools leverage cross campus stakeholders the benefits of distributed publishing and the most effective ways to recommend product feature enhancements to rSmart Customer Support. They also expanded their professional network and offered suggestions to keep the dialogue going beyond the annual conference hint Slack channel . the conference is a great networking opportunity to share experiences with schools with similar needs overheard in a group conversation during the lunch break. As a conference designed for users presented by users the annual rSmart Users Conference agenda is driven by member requests specifically product features and functionality they are looking to master. Special thanks to Citrus College Fairfield University Indiana University Northeast Iowa Community College St. Edward s University University of Delaware University of Michigan Villanova University and Washington University in St. Louis for their presentations that each offered insight into their experiences with OneCampus. I appreciated being able to hear how the product was being used at other institutions and I will be taking an active role this year to refresh our initiatives overheard by one user as the conference was coming to a close. Are you a OneCampus user that has not yet joined the community on Slack Email us at info rsmart.com and let us know we ll happily send you directions to join.
Delivering an Improved Student Service Experience with OneCampusLed by Craig Meirick Director of Computer Information Systems Department the portal review and replace process also included representatives from Marketing Student Services and Online and Blended Learning. This expanded group shared unique perspectives for visual appeal and requirements for student and faculty. NICC began their OneCampus implementation in late January 2017 and went live May 15 2017. A bit nervous with their own accelerated timeline rSmart Customer Support aided in the implementation. rSmart was with us every step of the way and the implementation of OneCampus itself was very simple and intuitive said Meirick. nbsp To engage users NICC promoted their OneCampus instance Mycampus.nicc.edu through various college communication channels including the digital signage across campus biweekly newsletter and email. Through OneCampus NICC has been able to provide end users including alumni faculty parents staff and students with more resources and better service through OneCampus. OneCampus provides us with the ability to allow users to use certain open resources that were otherwise locked within our previous product said Meirick. He also praises the rSmart Customer Support Team as excellent. The quick responses personability and status updates on issues and new feature releases have been much appreciated. 8221 Thanks to OneCampus the College is enjoying improved ease of use for both the end users students and staff as well as the administrator side of the equation. The solution 8217 s inherent adaptability to trends and forward thinking provide NICC 8217 s user segments with tools to assist them in virtually anything they want to do. OneCampus also met the following needs for NICC Easy to use both for end users and admins Best in class in customer service Budget friendly Adaptable to trends Forward thinking
Your campus IT office can now be cupid all year long when students faculty admin and staff fall in love with the simplicity of OneCampus.As Valentine s Day approaches you may be inclined to think of flowers candles chocolates or romance. But don t be fooled 8211 campus technology can be just as sexy Creating easier access to information. Simplifying the user experience. Modernizing portal technology. Ooh la la Your campus IT office can now be cupid all year long when students faculty admin and staff fall in love with the simplicity of OneCampus the next gen portal solution by rSmart. Part of rSmart s modern campus platform OneCampus has revolutionized the portal experiences on campuses from Ohio State University to Citrus College and from Notre Dame to Northeast Iowa Community College. Today s students have never lived without Google and OneCampus is designed around a Google like search discovery bringing all campus resources to their fingertips. Search. Click. Done. Nothing is easier. Simple is Sexy When it Comes to Search Developed with search as the starting point OneCampus exists as a service discovery tool delivering all campus services in one location. Because of the increased use of smartphones and tablets by our students faculty and employees UD was in search of an affordable way to aggregate applications so they could be found anytime anywhere from any device said Joy Lynam retired Director of IT Web Development at the University of Delaware. OneCampus is the right fit for UD because it s Search. Click. Done. design matches how people find information today. In January 2018 CampusTechnology.com published 7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2018 and highlighted Mobile Tech and the Internet of Things as the 5 trend to watch this year. Brian Fodrey Assistant Dean for Facilities amp Information Technology and Chief Information Officer School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offered We must capitalize on the strengths of portability and the BYOD nature of mobile tech and accept that as a result our faculty staff and students are going to command new and different support from our IT divisions. 18 Years of Portal Dating It s Time to Commit. Educause the nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology began talking about the importance of campus portals 18 years ago. The oldest portal story in the Educause library It s a Bird It s a Plane. It s a . . . Portal is dated January 1 2000. Defined nearly two decades ago by the author Richard N. Katz The portal is perhaps a unifying principle that may enable organizations including colleges and universities to leverage their investments in enterprise systems in data warehouses in reengineered institutional processes and in staff talent. Katz went on to define the challenges of a developing a portal strategy and what the expected results would look like. The challenge of a portal strategy is no less than the challenge of bringing higher education fully into the new wave of technology. This challenge like so many we have encountered and overcome seems to depend less on technology per se as on our ability to create a compelling vision for our institution and to galvanize the institutional will to think about how to personalize the institution for everyone in the community said Katz. It is clear in this instance that IT professionals acting alone will likely achieve only imperfect results. You ve got a smart team. You could build your own portal technology and achieve Katz s imperfect results. Or you could take the Bob Hughes approach. Bob Hughes Chief Information Services Officer at Citrus College in Glendora CA made the decision to implement OneCampus by rSmart in 2017. Since it is a hosted system we can take advantage of the new features if desired as soon as they are released. It s nice not having to tie up my staff with painful upgrades that would normally take months to implement locally. An Engaged Audience is a Retained Audience Retention isn t just a buzzword it s top of mind on campuses across the US. Even in the office of the CIO. But how exactly can the CIO s office directly impact student retention Otmar Zewald Global Head of Product Management at Unit4 believes that an integrated approach to technology systems along with mobile and self service experiences should be high on the list for 2018. In his piece 12 Higher Education Trends to Empower Student Success in 2018 Zewald believes There will be more focus on student portals self service and mobile app development to improve student experiences in 2018. Making all of your student facing technology available in a single location will lead to a more enjoyable student experience. Going to one site for Blackboard another site for Gmail and yet another for Financial Aid can be simplified in a single location. Whether you call it a service discovery tool a replacement portal or simply a portal doesn t matter. And don t just deliver in a single web location allow students to access in the app store. Meet them where they are. They are more likely to engage and remain engaged when you show up where they are. Falling in love with OneCampus is easy but we should probably take it slow and start with a first date. Bring some friends on our first date too. Your CIO your Director of Web Applications your VP of Marketing. Don t be nervous we won t bring candles and flowers. But we will help you see just how fun campus technology can be Request a first date now.
Why modern solutions are putting antiquated systems out of businessIt s often said that when your ears are burning it means someone is talking about you. Might it be the same with higher education technology Is tech burning Because everybody s talking. Conversations about how to improve access to campus services are happening in the dark corners of campus. In secret. What does everyone know but are afraid to say Many technologies that were built on campus or purchased more than a decade ago just aren t working anymore. The world is changing. How we consume information is changing. It s time to take a serious look at your campus portal. Does it meet the needs of your users Modern Portal Greater Access Like other technology leaders Brad Wheeler Vice President for Information Technology and CIO at Indiana University found himself in the late 1990 s and early 2000 s faced with the challenge of how students faculty staff and admins could find things with the advent of the world wide web. The hot idea back then was to create a portal so Indiana University created OneStart and it was supposed to be the way to find services. But over time it got a little junked up just like a closet because everybody moved in and by the time we got to 2010 2013 we knew we had a problem said Wheeler. I knew after a dozen years of our portal we needed a new approach. Wheeler and his team at Indiana developed One.IU an app store or service discovery tool a modern portal replacement that allowed users to simply search click and be done. After refining the software Brad and his team began working with rSmart to take the portal replacement solution to market. Upon learning how a next gen portal can unlock opportunities for users across all campuses Villanova University s interest was piqued. In looking to launch a modern portal they were faced with a handful of challenges to overcome from their legacy portal. From authentication obstacles to increasing the quantity of content available Villanova found their answer in OneCampus. They launched the latest version of MyNova in November 2017 turning off their legacy portal. The modern OneCampus interface combined with the ability to publish unlimited content to users resulted in a dramatic reduction of support calls for both IT and business areas because everything was streamlined in a single location. Your Users Demand 24 7 Access A few years back Wayne Smutz dean of continuing education and Extension at UCLA was asked a series of questions related to higher education institutions being under immense pressure to improve their level of service for students but needing to meet this demand with significantly fewer resources available. Focusing on high touch high tech Smutz explained how introducing new technologies and tools that allow staff to focus on high touch tasks allows institutions to improve their overall customer service while also reducing operating costs. Instead of investing additional resources into a legacy portal look for solutions that are low maintenance and upgrades and enhancements are standard and FREE. No More University of Notre LAME Over time the University of Notre Dame recognized how their legacy portal solution wasn t able to scale and meet the needs of the tech savvy generation that doesn t know life before Google. They saw first hand how an outdated portal required significant management and updates. Read investments in human capital and financial capital. Because the Fighting Irish don t find comfort in stagnation they began their search for a replacement portal solution. The review process didn t just sit within the confines of the Office of Information and Technologies. It extended across campus to include individuals from the Registrar s Office Student Enrollment Human Resources Finance and First Year of Studies. This wasn t going to be a technology solution this was going to be a campus wide service discovery solution. Getting all areas of campus involved in the review of your technology solutions can have an immediate impact in culture across your campus es . Published in EdTech Magazine s IT Teams Can Influence Culture Across Campus David Hutchins explains Each of these areas is touched in some fashion by the tech solutions that IT delivers. Such influence goes beyond specific software or mobile apps to encompass the way that people engage with technology the capabilities it makes possible or not the way tech initiatives are communicated and the way decisions around tech are made. All of this means that IT departments have a direct bearing on campus culture through the day to day experiences of staff faculty and students. At Notre Dame Scott Kirner Manager of Application Services was also focused on ease of use with OneCampus. In our initial proof of concept with OneCampus we learned how easy it is to publish tasks configure the look and feel and how we might set up categories metadata screenshots and task icon creation process he said. The ability to apply custom branding manage via a distributed publishing model and the simplicity of the user interface were each factors leading to Notre Dame s selection of OneCampus the next gen campus portal offered by rSmart. OneCampus has been easy for us to manage and maintain said Kirner. Students faculty and staff are always able to access what they need. No more whispering about your technology shortcomings. It s time to listen to your trusted peers about how they left their legacy portals in the past. Request a demo with OneCampus and see what the next generation has in store for your campus.
Ryan Vallow Business Analyst Enterprise Systems Integration at Indiana University interviews IU student about her experience with the campus modern service discovery portal One. We have two quick questions for you before you can access this super awesome webinar. nbsp
rSmart response to vulnerabilities referred to as Meltdown and Spectre In response to the recently disclosed Processor Speculative Execution vulnerabilities in CVE 2017 5715 CVE 2017 5753 CVE 2017 5754 8211 collectively referred to as 8220 Meltdown 8221 and 8220 Spectre 8221 as of 01 04 2018 all rSmart cloud platforms have been patched and are protected from these threat vectors. rSmart will continue to stay involved in the discussion and will provide updates as needed on future developments regarding these CVEs. rSmart SecOps policy has always been and will continue to be to deploy critical security updates immediately upon release regardless of maintenance cycle schedules. Here are the Amazon Web Services AWS details https aws.amazon.com security security bulletins AWS 2018 013. If you would like additional information on these exploits and how they might effect your users please don 8217 t hesitate to ask but know that the OneCampus servers have been secured. For information on how to help protect your users with general use check out this piece from Fortune magazine.
Check out the secret sauce to staying successful within OneCampus.The ingredients to functionality within OneCampus the next gen portal are no secret. rSmart gives access to quick guides in our Customer Care Center for those who need help with specific functionality within their schools instance. With everything OneCampus has to offer it 8217 s easy to forget what rSmart 8217 s provides outside of the portal experience. From articles about Getting Started Best Practices and FAQ 8217 s we share all things OneCampus to make navigating the portal that much easier. We give you all the tools and steps to create your own customizable campus portal software so you 8217 re not playing a guessing game. 8220 At rSmart we are committed to open communication and transparency. Our Customer Care Center is updated in advance of every product release with the most current OneCampus quick guides. We are focused on helping you achieve success 8221 said Jennifer Martinez Customer Support Coordinator We love simplifying campus life and also yours Check out some of our secret ingredients to creating the perfect OneCampus portal and become an expert yourself. 8221 Prefer to talk to a Customer Success Expert You can also submit questions and ideas to support rsmart.com and we will listen to your feedback.
What to expect in 2018 at rSmart....From new products to new customers 2018 will be the year of rSmart. While there are hundreds of reasons to be pumped for 2018 here is our list of the 18 things we are most excited for you to know in the coming year. CampusConfirm 8211 The second product to join the rSmart family CampusConfirm helps to streamline schools 8217 verification process for essential student and staff information. Think digital. We 8217 re making simplifycampuslife a thing. CampusClassifieds 8211 Rolling out mid 2018 CampusClassifieds will be an online community marketplace for students staff and faculty to buy and sell items to one another. OneCampus App 8211 Your favorite campus portal software is now available in the IOS app store and the Android Market. Let 8217 s get h appy of Campuses 8211 OneCampus is now available on more than 80 campuses. Is your campus next of Users 8211 rSmart reaches more than one million end users and continues growing. You might think you can wait but can your students Customer Feedback 8211 Customer service isn t just something we say. It s who we are. Since 2014 more than 75 percent of OneCampus feature enhancements have been direct customer recommendations. Keep the feedback coming 2nd Annual rSmart Users Conference 8211 You 8217 re Invited Not only will the rSmart team be attending conferences across the US we will also be hosting our second Users Conference in our hometown Scottsdale AZ. Come soak up the sun and learn about OneCampus best practices from our super r smart customers. Affordability 8211 With so many updates and enhancements coming to rSmart in 2018 we remain committed to helping you modernize campus technology in a way that doesn 8217 t break your budget. New UI Design 8211 Watch out world OneCampus is getting a facelift. Stay tuned in early 2018 for a new user interface for OneCampus instances. International Status 8211 Grab your passports OneCampus is now available internationally thanks to our first Canadian customer Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Pinned Sections 8211 According to rSmart Senior Software Engineer Allan Sonkin the best new functionality within OneCampus released in 2017 is the ability to pin sections on your front page and we couldn 8217 t agree more Shoutout to The Ohio State University for requesting this new functionality. Permission Groups 8211 You now have 8220 permission 8221 to group different departments within OneCampus based on the access you wish to grant them. Handing you more control one release at a time New Connectors 8211 The next gen campus portal software OneCampus offers Banner and Canvas connectors to make connecting and linking campus services even easier. Be on the lookout for EVEN MORE connectors in 2018. New Conferences 8211 In 2018 rSmart is exploring some new ed tech conferences like the Chief Information Systems Officers Association of the California Community Colleges and the C.I.T.O Vendor Show in Iowa. You can also catch us at some of our favorites Educause and UBTech 2018. rSmart.com 8211 With new products and some slight re branding think new colors we are making the new rSmart.com our priority to showcase our awesomeness a little more. Stay tuned for new look in Q2. Sweet 16 8211 It 8217 s our birthday and we can cry if we want to. rSmart turns 16 in 2018. Ask the Experts 8211 We won 8217 t stop rolling out new functionality but it can be hard to know what 8217 s in every product release. rSmart experts now provide an open platform called 8220 Ask the Experts 8221 webinar for your team to ask questions about the current and past releases. Shared Experiences 8211 Want to hear from current OneCampus users about how the next gen campus portal software solved their challenges Let us know and we will put you in touch to get the story direct.
Ending 2018 with a bang.The next OneCampus release is scheduled for the late evening overnight on Tuesday December 19. Following multiple weeks of internal testing combined with beta testing by specific schools in their test instances no downtime is anticipated with this release. The December 19 2017 release contains bug fixes stability improvements and the following enhancements Ability for Administrators to rearrange sections on the main OneCampus page Bulk Editor enhancements Task Center permissions added to Permission Groups module Ability to change the task store count on mobile Ability to rearrange category order Ability to change icon colors for categories Ability to suggest a campus based on location data Task search based on location data What s near me HTML markup on the logout page Option for double height tiles on tasks that contain active content Favicon images pulled through onto bookmark tiles Bookmarks report
OneCampus rises to the head of the classWhen shopping for an improved portal solution University of Notre Dame reviewed three options before selecting OneCampus. The portal review process extended beyond the Office of Information Technologies and included individuals from the Registrar s Office Student Enrollment Human Resources Finance and First Year of Studies. nbsp In our initial proof of concept we learned how easy it is to publish tasks configure the look and feel and how we might set up categories metadata screenshots and the task icon creation process said Scott Kirner Manager of Application Services. University of Notre Dame purchased OneCampus by rSmart directly through their membership with Internet2. The process to purchase OneCampus was easy and straightforward said Kirner. University of Notre Dame implemented OneCampus in six months as expected based on competing technology priorities. One Campus has been easy for us to manage and maintain. Students faculty and staff are always able to access what they need said Kirner. Simple Mobile friendly SaaS Configurable Distributed publishing Low maintenance
Just how much can you save when you buy vs. build campus technology Assumptions You are in Higher Education looking to replace your outdated campus portal software OR You are in Higher Education looking to create a one stop solution for your students admin and faculty to locate and discover campus services AND OR You are interested in the Build vs. Buy discussion and want to know more about it. What is the Build vs. Buy consideration All Universities face this question when evaluating new technologies. When a University has established the need for a campus wide solution to connect all user services in one location and believes they have the team and the dollars to build it. When a University has established the need for a campus wide solution to connect all user services in one location and understands that the scope of work and the financial investment exceeds their available resources. To Build Campus Portal Software To go with a Build solution and develop your own homegrown school portal software you would need a reeeeaaaally long runway. Oftentimes a software as a service Saas model sells software and charges a fee for an annual license. In reality the cost of operating your own built platform significantly exceeds the cost of an annual SaaS license. For example Indiana University the initial developers of OneCampus estimate that it took nearly 500 000 just for initial development With continued investments and refinements in the solution over a ten year period the total cost of ownership would total 5 000 000 To Buy Campus Portal Software To go with a Buy solution is to identify that there is value in economies of scale. Today more than 80 colleges and university campuses in the United States and Canada use OneCampus by rSmart to bring services to their students. From Ohio State University to the University of Hawaii and from the University of Delaware to Northeast Iowa Community College the scale of institutions relying on OneCampus today affirms the value of the solution. Beyond the 5 million ten year investment in the Build scenario buying allows access to a total solution vs. building piece by piece. Creating a multi tenancy solution is not an easy task for a campus IT department to wrestle. The OneCampus standard is a multi tenant solution. Who uses the rSmart campus portal software and what are they saying University of Hawaii Systems We recognized the need to retire our legacy portal and looked for alternative solutions that would meet the dynamic and changing needs of our community colleges and universities. OneCampus will provide our users a simple intuitive and mobile friendly way to navigate the services and applications they need to be successful on any UH campus. University of Pittsburgh After completing the Internet2 NET service validation process we recognized that OneCampus provided Pitt with a powerful alternative to our traditional legacy portal that will better serve our user needs going forward. I m ready to learn more about OneCampus. What should I do Let us know If you re ready to learn more about rSmart s campus portal software that doesn t break the bank we recommend the OneCampus Experience a demo of our next gen portal solution. Click here and register today.
One Stop Shop Where can a student staff member faculty member or parent go to do business The answer was found by implementing a single solution in which all business applications and forms are indexed and searchable in one location My UD 8211 the University of Delaware branded instance of OneCampus by rSmart. Implemented at UD in August 2015 OneCampus is a cloud based platform that allows users to quickly find and discover campus services applications and resources in a simple intuitive way. When students need to book a room for an activity or professors need to renew a book at the library they can visit My UD and call up what they need instantly without needing to know the name of the form or which department manages it. nbsp The implementation process was quick and simple and required few support requests. The team at rSmart offered initial setup and training as well as quick guides FAQs and quarterly webinars. People can search using their role a specific category or even a keyword says Joy Lynam Director of IT Web Development retired with the University of Delaware. OneCampus works the way people work and it works on any device anytime anywhere. OneCampus in our instance My UD takes away the burden of going to different websites and simply makes locating forms and web applications easy. One month after going live My UD had over 51 000 unique visitors. In two years since the launch more than 535 300 unique individuals have visited My UD.
Find out why size is so important for rSmart.So does size really matter This long lasting debate may never be settled. Some people will say size doesn t matter others will disagree. However at rSmart the bigger the better. Still confused Well as the comedian Kevin Hart would say you gone learn today . Over the last eight months rSmart has seen a surge in users and customers engaging with OneCampus the next gen portal solution. With the recent feature enhancements to OneCampus including the Banner and Canvas connectors and the availability of an App OneCampus has gone from the new kid on the block to an overnight celebrity. This is huge for OneCampus. Pun intended. You may be asking why is size so important for rSmart At rSmart our promise is to modernize campus technology and simplify campus life. We do this today by helping students find success through their school specific OneCampus portal. The more universities and colleges that use OneCampus the more students we can reach. Simple math right Today OneCampus has more than 3 000 concurrent users spanning more than 80 college campuses in the U.S. and Canada. Talk about packing weight am I right Since January 2017 schools that have joined the OneCampus community include Northeast Iowa Community College Fort Lewis College Villanova University Kennesaw State University Hobart amp William Smith Colleges Citrus College Goucher College University of Sciences 8211 Philadelphia Unlike archaic campus portals OneCampus is a next gen portal solution providing a Google like search allowing students faculty and staff to quickly locate and access campus services including grades calendars email events curriculum tutoring services and so much more. Craig Meirick Director of Computer Information Systems at Northeast Iowa Community College explained Our previous portal was very limiting. It had several applications built into it and it wouldn t allow us to bring in new resources like a different email system or learning management system. With OneCampus we now have the flexibility to choose whichever resource we think will be best for our students and we can make it accessible to them anytime anywhere. We also appreciate the responsive design the mobile friendly interface and the simplicity of the system. With OneCampus we can point students to one location where they can search click and go. It s that easy. We realize size matters for you too and that technology platforms can stretch even the largest university budget. You won t find that with rSmart. We build smart solutions at affordable prices. Simplifying campus life shouldn t break the bank. Don t just take it from us experience OneCampus for yourself and see how you too can simplify campus life and make our community of OneCampus users even bigger. Learn more about OneCampus today in our quick two minute video.
Summers hottest update.Overnight on June 5 rSmart will deploy the latest OneCampus release. No downtime is anticipated. The release contains bug fixes as well as the following key enhancements Page Not Found Report Campus communications standards policy link Social media links on the Task Details Page Memo area when creating or editing a task Favorite Collections Auto suggest of Unique Key Global Announcement recurrence Ratings enabled Reviews optional Alert Access Added to Permission Groups Also please make note as of this release OneCampus will no longer be tested on Windows Mobile OS devices Windows 10 and 8.1 still supported of course .
Reason 2874 why we love our customers. I thought this was a really good way to meet and network not only with rSmart people who were all wonderful but also with my counterparts at other universities. rSmart held it 8217 s very first Users Conference a few weeks ago and more than two thirds of rSmart customers participated in two days of learning at ASU 8217 s SkySong Innovation Center in Scottsdale AZ. All attendees are users of OneCampus next generation portal and all of the sessions were hosted by OneCampus users. Session topics were varied and included managing authentication integration during implementation student outreach programs student ambassadors using real time conversations to stay relevant using APIs for batch processing and integrations engaging students globally using OneCampus to reduce IT support and maintenance. Many of the presenters summed up their OneCampus implementation results by citing the key benefits to the university including a mobile friendly solution ease of use in depth analytics and increased student engagement. The rSmart product management team also presented the OneCampus product roadmap for 2017 2018 and beyond. The roadmap preview was especially helpful with conversations in our department about our own roadmap for the year. Additionally I found value in learning how other schools have performed outreach to campus about the tool and its features. All 2017 rSmart User Conference presentations can be found on YouTube in the rSmart 2017 Users Conference Presentation playlist. Customers also provided their comments on the success of the event in the OneCampus Users Talk About the 2017 rSmart Users Conference video. rSmart is already planning the 2018 Users Conference Stay tuned.
A Conversation with Help Desk Manager Jason Victor on the occasion of Fairfield s launch and full rollout of rSmart s OneCampus as my.Fairfield.edu January 30 2017What was the initial reason your institution was looking at updating its portal services Before our move to OneCampus Fairfield had a campus portal something we had worked with but it wasn t loved . While in one sense our old legacy portal served its purpose we had several ongoing issues in terms of its functionality and its feature set. We wanted more. We had been looking for our portal replacement though there was no particular pressure and we could take the time we needed to make sure our next step would be the right one. We finally did step up our search about two years ago. Our CIO during that time was keen to make a change and we in ITS got a lot of encouragement from our EVP as well. So making a change was an expectation that we were all looking forward to. What were some of the most important features you were looking for There were many things to consider but four main goals stood out 1 Mobile accessibility was a critical feature not available with the old portal 2 an intuitive user interface was another goal especially for our help desk people 3 cost efficiency was necessarily a real consideration understood by everyone but felt more strongly at the executive levels and 4 search for the first time This would offer the level of convenience students expect. After running a legacy portal that wasn t really loved was there a sense that it was time for an update Oh yes We were careful about making our choices but there was a real sense that it was time to move on . When did Fairfield select rSmart s OneCampus In March 2016. It met those four big goals I mentioned and the story goes on from there. There s a lot of functionality built into that product and you truly get the idea that you are giving your campus a real update OneCampus is more than a replacement portal it s like taking a step into the future. While in one sense our old legacy portal served its purpose we had several ongoing issues in terms of its functionality and its feature set. We wanted more. OneCampus is more than a replacement portal it s like taking a step into the future. Jason Victor Did you shut down and replace the old portal with OneCampus right away No we chose to run the old portal in parallel with our implementation work on OneCampus as we wanted to make a thoughtful transition. We purposely took some time building out the implementation because we wanted to take full advantage of the features of OneCampus. Yes it s true that you can get the system going in a compressed timeframe if you want to. Technically it s not a difficult implementation. But we wanted to be as careful with the implementation as we were with the product selection. This also gave us the opportunity to test out the new system thoroughly during the transition phase. What s an example of taking full advantage of OneCampus OneCampus allows content creators to manage their own content. Previously with our old portal if a department wanted to post content they had to come to us and have a discussion about what they wanted and so forth. Now with OneCampus we have the ability to shift all the content maintenance over to the departments. Long term both the departments and ITS will save time and energy with this distributed strategy. And the departments will have a sense of autonomy. But for our campus that did involve taking some time initially educating the departments on what to do. So it s possible for IT departments at other institutions to choose to take on more of the initial work in terms of uploading data for the departments thereby taking less time to a launch date Yes. We ve seen examples of other schools that started out by having IT upload all the data for the departments some of these institutions were live with OneCampus in only a few weeks But for us implementation wasn t just a matter of setting up the initial infrastructure and then quickly uploading all the data for the departments. We consciously made an investment in time almost a year to get everyone in the departments up to speed feeling used to the new system and very comfortable with it. This investment in giving departments the ability to take charge of their own content right from the start will be a long term value for us. Are all the departments ready now Are there any stragglers We ve reached out to everyone. There is just a small handful who haven t addressed the transition yet but the great majority of departments can be deemed all set . It is still possible for any stragglers to come on board any time after our launch date January 30 2017 of course. And the system will continue to be dynamic into the future. But helping everyone make the transition was one reason we planned to run the old portal alongside the new OneCampus implementation until the campus seemed ready to do without the old portal. From your experience are there any departments that are the most important ones to have ready when an institution goes live with OneCampus Registration is one. Certainly the IT department is another. At Fairfield we have an ERP system and since a lot of the information there is self service access to that system is critical. Payroll grades all the administrative services should be among the initial group of tasks if a campus is going to use a staged strategy for getting the departments up live with their content. An institution might also want to be sure to have the LMS e mail the library and other basic services represented in the initial launch. For this think in terms of anything most students and faculty would use on a daily basis. What s an example of something that could be added on later Well just as one example we have an institutional research department and if for some reason they needed to be added on after our launch it wouldn t be a big deal. How easily does OneCampus integrate with other campus systems Which was the most challenging I d say the most complex was the ERP system but frankly even that wasn t really difficult. On the whole it was fairly simple to integrate OneCampus with other systems on campus. As for the biggest challenge I d say it was the fact that we had to replace our authentication system. We have a single sign on for all campus services. Once that was configured for OneCampus everything else was to be fairly straight foreword from a technical point of view. But in our case and this may not be the same for many other institutions there was a special circumstance Our original authentication system was tied to our portal. The company that made the portal was also the company that made the old authentication system So when we decided to leave the portal we knew we d be needing a new authentication system. Not only were we transitioning the portal we were also going to have to transition the authentication system. You are now live with OneCampus on schedule with your January 30 2017 rollout. Does that mean the transition period is over now Has your old legacy portal been taken down Yes. we have finally made our official rollout of OneCampus and the default page for my.Fairfield.edu now goes to the OneCampus implementation rather than the old portal home page. Are you expecting an easy transition for your users Yes one of the nice things with OneCampus is that when you as a user log in through the main page my.Fairfield.edu for the first time you get an overlay with instructions that explain how to use it. In addition to that we created a task that is permanently at the top simple instructions on how to use this site . And we have a link to the video about search click and done . But of course students these days just intuitively know what to do with a search window My guess is that once the students see a search box and when they realize that they can use the service from their mobile phones they are going to think Finally Exactly For more information about my.Fairfield.edu watch this video nbsp
Help your students find what they are looking for again.Too many institutions are still too complacent with their digital campus. Students are inundated with internal spam which is a product of stale content via a lack of higher education technology higher ed tech . For colleges and universities as well as the K 12 community multiple logins buried content and redundant content stemming from too many different links are examples of blunders via many institutions campus services. Jump Start your Campus Services What should college campuses and K 12 schools do to update their lackluster digital presence The first step in any problem is to admit there is a problem. Campuses and K 12 schools need to realize the days of simply having a web presence is far from enough as we near the end of the second decade of the new millennium. Students are demanding more from their technology than ever. It s time to begin giving the students what they want. So now that we can establish there s a problem what s next Most campuses and K 12 schools haven t had difficulty establishing there s a problem but they ve been paralyzed with the overwhelming idea of what to do about it. The idea of needing an overhaul on these large websites driving their web presence is daunting. However after exposure to solutions like OneCampus by rSmart a cloud based solution relief will set in. Campus Services are only as good as the campus portal university portal K 12 school portal. By adopting OneCampus by rSmart campuses and K 12 schools will not only avert the ground up overhaul they ve been avoiding but they ll jump start their campus services as well. OneCampus by rSmart is implemented seamlessly with existing systems allowing for it to essentially lay on top of the existing portal system. Cloud Based Campus Portal According to a Campus Technology article by David Rash titled Rethinking the Campus Web Portal one of the main complaints of students was how poorly their campus services support mobile devices. An application that performs well on a laptop or desktop computer doesn t necessarily perform well on a mobile device. More often than not applications perform much differently on a mobile device than traditional devices. It s imperative an institution s campus portal university portal K 12 portal is mobile friendly. Further if an application could only be one of the two alluding to either mobile friendly or desktop friendly the wiser choice would be to choose mobile friendly. Few would argue we re not speeding more in the direction of mobile friendly than the alternative. However many institutions have campus services operating off a campus portal that s outdated and or not mobile friendly and this is equally true in K 12 education if not worse . OneCampus by rSmart is cloud based therefore it s not only mobile friendly but it s responsive. The ability to operate campus services from a consistent platform from desktop to a mobile device is one of many areas where OneCampus shines. The OneCampus university portal K 12 portal focuses on the tasks at hand through its cloud based technology. In a Campus Technology article titled Moving Campus Services from the Portal to the Cloud by Mary Grush co founder of rSmart John Robinson speaks to how OneCampus allow s users looking for campus information to access it from whatever device they have available to them whether it s a desktop laptop cell phone or whatever it might be. This applies to K 12 education as well. OneCampus by rSmart Campus Portal The ability to go from an outdated campus portal K 12 portal to a mobile friendly robust and modern platform is easier than ever. No stress is needed because rSmart s cloud based portal is ready to lay on top of the existing system providing a seamless transition for your campus services whether at a major university or a K 12 school. To quote co founder John Robinson again rSmart want s to replicate the common communication capabilities users are accustomed to with Google Amazon the Apple store and similar services. OneCampus does all of the above and is only a click away.
A look into the future...It s easy to glaze over campus services when assessing the health of an institution. Whether focusing on the attractiveness of an institution in the eyes of its future students clients or the ability to achieve successful student retention campus services is likely to take a back seat. Often the crucial elements of an operation do the heavy lifting in the background similar to a stellar defense in football and the less influential elements take the glory. Consider campus services the equivalent of a stellar defense in the higher education industry. Campus services are essentially the switchboard of all that occurs within a higher education institution. Campus services are the umbrella under which students navigate their class schedule faculty navigate their curriculum research projects access their work and prospective students check out the digital side of their future campus. Additionally the campus portal is the interface through which campus services is able to perform or under perform. In other words it s safe to say campus services rely on the robustness mobility and ease of use via the campus portal. To underestimate the importance of campus services is to leave the future success of the entire campus incredibly vulnerable if not destined for failure. Campus Services Go Further than the Students Charles Vest is president emeritus of MIT and he has expressed the continued belief that a meta university is fast approaching. EDUCASE Review published a 2009 article in which Charles Vest was quoted expressing his beliefs all the way back in 2006. Charles commented the following We are seeing the early emergence of a meta university a transcendent accessible empowering dynamic communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced. The 2009 EDUCASE Review article emphasized the importance of campus services going in a more digital cloud based direction with a 2009 article by Brad Wheeler and Shelton Waggener titled Above Campus Services Shaping the Promise of Cloud Computing for Higher Education. According the 2009 article f or research intensive institutions the need to collaborate nationally and globally is both a research imperative and an economic necessity particularly in the sciences where large scale instrumentation is now the norm. Also from the 2009 article s cientists from multiple institutions share super computers librarians share digital humanities repositories astronomers share galactic images network engineers share strands of fiber in the same physical cable and treasurers share check disbursement services. These excerpts demonstrate the importance of campus services going in a much more modern direction from the standpoint of internal operations via campus portals university portals relative to outdated legacy portals. Campus Portals Drive Campus Services Campus portals drive campus services not the other way around. Suppose a higher education institution has stellar campus services but a terrible campus portal the ability to drive a successful student experience and or faculty experience is probably doomed. Conversely if the same institution were to have an amazing campus portal with questionable campus services the overall digital experience still has promise. The importance of a campus portal allowing campus services to truly shine or create the perception of shining is impossible to overstate. Campus Technology a trusted resource in the higher education technology space ed tech has continually followed the importance of technology via campus services. In a late 2015 article titled Changing the Way Users Discover and Access Campus Services by Meg Lloyd rSmart is continually referred to as a leader in higher ed tech. Focusing on Indiana University s experience IU partnered with rSmart to offer the technology behind One.IU as a cloud based solution that can replace or run in parallel to the legacy campus portal. The product from rSmart is called OneCampus. Referring again to the 2015 article o ver the past year rSmart has worked with more than 14 institutions to deploy OneCampus as a cost effective cloud based solution. Campus adopters range from small private institutions including Oberlin College and Lynn University to large multi campus institutions such as the University of Hawaii. Further emphasizing the power of the user experience through OneCampus by rSmart t he user s inquiry is met with a responsive search and discovery tool that is as easy to use on a smartphone or tablet as it is a laptop or desktop computer a quality you won t find in most legacy campus portals.
Have you joined the Cloud yet The time has come not only to surrender to technology but the time has come to welcome the transition. Why Because technology is no longer a gimmick it s a tool it makes life easier not more complicated and expensive. Many higher education institutions have delayed technology and many have delayed because the transition seemed to be more work than investment. The why for the delay is irrelevant. Cloud based campus services are the way to go the why for this is worth our time. Be a Leader Not a Follower If the movement of an industry in general is the impetus to transition existing systems it s safe to say it s reactionary rather than revolutionary. Campuses would be wise to jump to be the leaders in their students experience rather than the followers. More specifically giving the students a digital experience is a concise way to express the direction campus services must go. Campus portals need to be updated. If campus services aren t providing mobile friendly access cloud based solutions for the staff and students and a Google like search capability the need to update was long ago. The Campus Computing Project released findings that revealed the need to begin transitioning to the could in 2011. In their study titled Campus Computing 2011 Big Gains in Going Mobile they expressed how new survey data reveal that campuses have been slow to move key operational and research functions to Cloud Computing. Additionally Kenneth C. Green founding director of The Campus Computing Project commented that t he campus Learning Management Services market remains a textbook example of a mature market with immature or evolving technologies and that s a prescription for a volatile market. The aforementioned volatility alludes to the turbulent reality that could befall institutions not quick to update their campus services via campus portals. Transitioning to cloud based solutions and mobile friendly solutions is imperative in order to provide the digital experience referenced earlier which is the student experience required to remain competitive. Cloud Campus Services The first step is admitting there s a problem. Before there can be a solution there must be an acceptance of a problem. In an article called Legacy Technologies and Processes Holding Back Your Student Experience by Tracy Skochil she writes When it comes to students navigating campus services today s traditional outdated cluttered campus portals are anything but intuitive or searchable. Clearly the above excerpt illustrates an industry wide problem and problems in our information technology era are exponentially increased with time. An industry relying on the favor of a single audience aka graduating students must remain cutting edge to earn the respect of their hopeful clients. To simply hang onto existing campus portals as sufficient in our digital era would be a bold gamble. Campus services can be transitioned seamlessly by implementing cloud based solutions. Not only does the cloud facilitate the transition of an institution s existing system but the cloud also enhances the students experience a two for one benefit via the cloud. Now how to implement the solution specifically Update University Portals with OneCampus by rSmart Campus Technology featured an article by Mary Grush titled Moving Campus Services from the Portal to the Cloud. The format of the article was driven by a Q amp A with John Robinson co founder of rSmart. The Q amp A delves into the various things impacting the Higher Education Technology industry or Higher Ed Tech as it s commonly referred to. In addition John Robinson provides insight into how rSmart s OneCampus revitalizes outdated university portals and gets institutions in harmony with the digital experience students demand. In regard to the functionality of OneCampus John describes how existing systems don t have to be overhauled but simply integrated with OneCampus. John describes how t he search system goes into the existing data spaces allowing users to have a much simpler experience finding the information they need. This will replace the more complex process of using portals. Portals have done a nice job but over the years they ve gotten quite heavy with OneCampus it doesn t have to be that way. Further p art of its simplicity is that it is cloud based and we think that s where the nature of providing services is heading in general. We think that OneCampus is right in its construction and architecture a departure at last for institutions from the complex and heavy IT oriented systems of the past. As far as the departure from heavy IT oriented systems John reveals OneCampus is designed so that data owners can make these changes themselves without going back to the vendor or even involving the IT department.
Guest Blog is by James Davis COO and Co founder of GoEdison.There s a line many say which goes something like this the more things change the more they stay the same. There may be some truth to this statement in the right context but with respect to academic college institutions staying the same albeit not changing is not a recipe for success. Colleges used to dictate the student experience but this assumption is proving to be less and less true. Colleges and industry experts have been researching recent relationships between students success and the retention of undergraduates alluding to students completing their respective programs and graduating. The findings suggest the old way is backwards. In other words the student experience should come first assuming colleges want to retain their students. Follow the Data Trail U.S. News amp World Report is the only organization ranking schools for over thirty years according to their chief data strategist Robert Morse. Each year U.S. News amp World Report releases a comprehensive report of the nation s top schools in various categories. For the first time in 2016 the report had a category dedicated to the Most Innovative Schools which focuses on several dynamics integral to the student experience. The Most Innovative Schools list is comprised of institutions that enhance curriculum campus life faculty etc. However the driving factor is arguably improvements to technology. According to Brian Kelly editor and chief content officer at U.S. News 8220 Taking into account how well a school supports its students from freshman year through graduation is important . The key words in the above quote are supports its students because it s the difference between an institution that s going up vs. going down. The Millennial Generation Research Review by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation stated the following about its general findings Most consistent is that the millennial generation is technically savvy almost as if it has a digital sixth sense. A wired connected world is all that Millennials have ever known. Naturally the above alludes to the inevitability that students of the current day expect a college experience that s developed digitally as much as the campus has been developed physically. The students want a digital experience and it has to be modern not to mention intuitive aka fast. Attention Toward Retention Another section of the report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation states m illennials have and will continue to influence education. First as students these digital natives have forced learning institutions to communicate and educate in new ways. This statement infers institutions industry wide need to adjust to the desires of the digital generation which requires changes to existing systems. For far too long colleges have satisfied their need to improve the digital experience by building on top of old cumbersome and unforgiving systems. The extent to which colleges are still clinging to these old systems is surprising given the advancements that have been happening around them but many have been somewhat complacent with their results until now. Institutions live and die by student retention. Student retention is a buzz phrase because institutions by federal and state laws and or regulations send data to regional state and federal agencies tying student success to funding. Students lack of success and or disengagement results in negative retention and this obviously doesn t bode well for funding. In a published piece by Frank Shushok and Eileen Hulme via Campus Life they reveal that much of the theory in student retention today has evolved from psychological models developed in the 1970s that addressed life work coping problems. These theories likely need some updating and they shouldn t be theoretical updates but actionable changes in the form of enhancing the student s digital experience. Further alluding to the need of schools to improve their connection to the students experience Vincent Tinto and Brian Pusser from their published work via Moving From Theory to Action Building a Model of Institutional Action for Student Success stated this failure to achieve adequate retention rates indicates that we must rethink our focus on student attributes and examine how the whole organization can better engage in promoting student success. Rosemary Hayes director of External Relations for Starfish Retention Solutions in her article titled Digital Engagement Driving Student Success stated the following The key is to use technology in ways that make information accessible decision making and communication about students more comprehensive and interactions among the faculty staff and administration easier. If You Build It They Will Stay There are many reasons to establish a new digital experience at our campuses schools and institutions. Aside from the primary motivator which should be the students how about critical and limited resources via the human resources In Proceedings of the 7th National Symposium on Student Retention Virginia McAleese and Loralyn Taylor wrote Successful Implementation of a Campus wide Comprehensive Student Support System. In their report they state a fragmented approach to student success initiatives results in duplicated effort more levels of complexity and more time spent on information management. What if these wasted funds were dedicated instead to the start of a new system one that was fast and one that felt up to date with our mobile high school graduates and up coming freshman What if this system didn t have to supplant an existing system but could be built on top of it Would there be a reason to not start OneCampus by rSmart IT management nightmares as the result of outdated portals ineffective searches and buried content don t have to continue. There is a way to improve the digital experience with a portal that can give a digital make over to an institution s zeroes and ones without reinventing the wheel. Additionally aside from removing problems bogging down essential personnel the engagement of the staff itself improves and does so in harmony with the student experience. So the tangible benefits compound the intangible benefits internally and externally thus providing a cohesive digital experience. The time to begin such changes was yesterday and the extent to which technology is changing makes the metaphor of one being caught on their heels a giant understatement. A more accurate metaphor would be one caught on their heels wearing concrete pants. It s quite possible the quagmire of IT congestion via old legacy portals removed through a mobile cloud based solution like OneCampus pays for itself. The real question is how much is it costing institutions each day they don t enhance their students digital experience Anxious to see a preview about OneCampus Schedule a demo today Guest Blogger James Davis is COO and Co founder of GoEdison with experience as a Financial Analyst with S amp P Global. James has 15 years experience analyzing public companies via domestic and international stock exchanges ADRs specializing in the Banking sector for almost 10 years.
Todd Yates from rSmart relates OneCampus to an everyday system.While my full time job is vice president of operations for rSmart I volunteer in my off time as a firefighter and EMT. I live in a remote part of Central Texas in a geographic area called The Hill Country which as you might imagine has a somewhat vertical terrain. Unlike many parts of the country all fire and emergency medical services in Texas are provided by volunteers outside the large metro areas. This means that volunteer firefighters and first responders are called upon to assist when there is a fire motor vehicle accident emergency medical call or some other incident. Recently our fire department was dispatched to one of the most remote areas of the county to locate and treat a woman that had fallen and severely broken her leg while hiking alone. We arrived at the staging area with rescue gear in hand and everything ready to go from large off road fire trucks to rescue ATVs loaded with chainsaws. An air ambulance was also on standby ready to transport her to the hospital but we were immediately confounded by a problem while knew the general vicinity we were unable to locate her exact position as it was a large area surrounded by thick brush and heavy cedar forest. We headed out and started by calling her name but the mountainous terrain blocked or reflected most sounds. We then started a tentative search spreading out in a classic search and rescue pattern but given the size and nature of the area we knew this would be a lengthy process. We also recognized the longer our patient was exposed to the elements and incapacitated with a major fracture the chances she would develop life threatening issues increased so we were aggressively looking for ways to focus our search. Myself and another firefighter were struck by an idea. We knew our 911 dispatcher had been in brief but unreliable phone contact with the patient several times. We asked the dispatcher if she could send a text to the woman that contained concise instructions on how to text her GPS coordinates from her phone. We then waited anxiously. Minutes later the dispatcher called us 8211 success The woman was able to text her exact GPS location and our all hands on deck exhaustive search turned into a targeted rescue. With a single ATV cutting its way directly to the patient she was treated and flown out to the hospital in a very timely fashion. I was struck today how closely this is analogous to our OneCampus service. Every day students are challenged with finding resources or completing tasks with campus enterprise systems. They are tasked with navigating their own heavy forest of links pages help centers knowledge bases etc. While the information and services are valuable they are often not able to find it in a timely fashion despite knowing what they need or want to do. OneCampus can be that GPS allowing students to quickly narrow down and find exactly what they 8217 re looking for with minimal frustration and more positive outcomes.
A Q A with Katelin Corbin UITS Student Outreach Indiana UniversityIn 2013 Indiana University developed One.IU one.iu.edu as a way for students staff and faculty to quickly find and access university services such as grades class schedules and email in a marketplace format. It was designed with a modern user experience core search functionality similar to Google and other popular search engines and user rating features similar to an app store. Since its deployment at IU access to more than 200 apps has been dramatically streamlined for 130 000 users across eight campuses. In July 2014 rSmart partnered with Indiana University to make this innovative cloud based solution available to all higher education institutions as OneCampus. As our new customers prepare to deploy OneCampus many have asked for tips and best practices on how to drive a successful adoption and involve students in the process. We sat down with Katelin Corbin a junior at Indiana University to learn how students are driving adoption and educating their peers on the benefits of OneCampus. Q How did you get involved with OneCampus What role do students play in the promotion of IT resources and technology on campus I first got involved with University Information Technology Services UITS IU s central IT organization as a Student IT Ambassador. We were a volunteer student leadership club that helped promote campus IT resources technology and tools and provides feedback to UITS on outreach efforts. In August 2013 I joined a team focused specifically on One.IU that was made up of three students from the university s two major campuses and one student from each of its six regional campuses. Our role is to test the application share feedback i.e. what we like or what we miss from the old portal and help get the word out at campus events. Our committee meets regularly by video or conference call and we use a listserv to bounce ideas off each other. Q How do you help get the word out about OneCampus to students We attend events on each campus and conduct tabling inside academic buildings and in high traffic areas such as the library and business school. We use a branded tablecloth computers mobile devices and free swag such as t shirts mini staplers candy or smartphone wallets to draw students to the table. We then talk with them about its ease of use search functionality demonstrate how it is mobile friendly. We also show how they can find what they need within just one click verses as many as ten clicks with our old portal. We also use social media Facebook and Twitter online bulletin boards and visual advertising such as campus buses wrapped with logo and website bus stop signs and digital billboards inside the libraries. Q How do students provide feedback At tabling events we are able to gather a lot of informal feedback that we can share with our committee and the development team. We also encourage students to send feedback through the application or use the comment and rating functions. Many of the tasks that have been added since it was first released at IU including the career center and direct deposit tasks were added based on student or user feedback. Q What do students like most about OneCampus Students like it because it is mobile friendly easy to use and the search works similar to Google so it makes finding information much easier and faster than our old legacy portal. The My Favorites section is also very popular and students like being able to submit feedback and suggestions. Q Are there any blockers preventing adoption Some of the students that have been using OneStart IU s legacy student portal for a number of years are a bit resistant to change. Other times they are just not aware that there is a better way to find campus services. When our old portal is turned off students will be forced to recognize the benefits and it will be an easy transition. Also as new students come to campus they will be introduced to OneCampus as part of their orientation process and they won t be forced to break old habits. Q What would you share with administrators at another college or university preparing the deploy OneCampus It is essential to get students on board and involved in the promotion from the start. Students don t want to listen to faculty staff and would rather hear from students. It is also important to find a way to pitch OneCampus as the better way and include testimonials about the benefits. Students also love free stuff 8212 promotional items that are branded with the website have been very effective at IU.
In today s ultra competitive educational landscape attracting and retaining top talent is critical to the success of any institution.Each year colleges and universities across the country compete to attract and retain students through tuition rates academic programs technology housing extracurricular activities campus amenities and much much more. According to US News amp World Report Admissions officials in the nation s top colleges are beginning to court not just high school seniors to fill their next class but also juniors sophomores and freshmen 8212 even reaching out to some middle school students. A tremendous amount of time energy and money is spent on the recruitment process but getting those students to enroll is only the beginning of the battle. How will you keep them engaged What can be done to ensure they are successful Are there factors or variables that will positively or negatively impact their experience on campus The expectations of today s students are higher than ever 8212 especially when it comes to technology. They want to access campus information services and applications quickly and easily in one location from any device. Unfortunately this isn 8217 t always easy as universities typically have a variety of different systems for even the easiest of tasks. Whether it s signing up for classes pulling up an academic calendar finding a tutor seeing what jobs are available or finding the closest laundry facility students are forced to hunt and navigate throughout various websites and often don t even know where to begin. This not only wastes time and energy but can give them a negative overall experience. Accessing campus services should be easy. It should be clear where to find things and students should be able to pull items up quickly on their phone. It should be at their fingertips and not a drawn out process or a struggle. One way that this can be accomplished is with OneCampus from rSmart. Students can not only find what they are looking for with just one click they can access campus services from any location or device. By simply giving your students access to the tools they need to be successful can generate a substantial ROI 8212 from increased engagement to higher student retention. More importantly it will help you continue to compete for new students by meeting their expectations and showcasing all that your university has to offer which in the end is ultimately the goal.
From an administrative role to a OneCampus expert hear how Jennifer from rSmart easily built out her tenant.Some of my favorite movie characters are serious dummies. Carl from Caddyshack Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber Brick from Anchorman. I love them because they re funny but also because I can kind of relate to their struggle. I mean to be fair I m not actually THAT dumb. I don 8217 t eat candles or love lamps but let 8217 s just say that in an office full of smart people nobody is asking me to code or develop anything. Pipelines and proposals are where I spend most of my days. So recently when I was asked to build out a OneCampus site I was pretty sure I was being pranked. Either that or they asked me to do it as some sort of social experiment to see what happens when you ask an administrative person to do something technical. Nevertheless with enthusiasm in my heart I accepted this new project and considered it an opportunity to become 8230 less dumb. Recognizing that OneCampus was designed to require very little IT lift I knew there was hope for me right from the start But the big question was how was I going to get there Having seen several schools go live over the past several months I decided to look at the project as if I was a customer. First I did a bit of brainstorming and identified the key components of OneCampus including Roles The groups or types of users that will access OneCampus e.g. student staff faculty parent . Markets Campuses A way of organizing tasks that relate to specific campus sites or departments. Categories Allow you to bucket tasks for easy browsing if desired. Contacts The person or department responsible for questions concerns about a specific task. Tasks The descriptive tiles that provide info and direct links to the various services available on campus. Task Centers A collection of related tasks. For example all items related to Freshman Orientation. Tags Additional keywords or commonly used terms that will aid with search. After some careful consideration here is what I ended up doing in 3 easy steps I started by mapping out which roles markets categories and contacts made sense. Then I created those as a first step. Next I used a Google Spreadsheet to organize my tasks by category wrote a description for each and filled in the key fields such as tags and contacts. I also considered what icons I might use for each and determined which tasks could be bundled into groups task centers . Finally I used the content in the spreadsheet to build out the individual tasks in about 3 minutes each. In the end I created 68 tasks that I bundled into 9 task centers. OneCampus is very intuitive so the process was incredibly easy. When I had questions I was able to find answers in the quick guides. The project took me about three weeks to complete from start to finish. Not too shabby for a non technical person who was working on a variety of other things at the same time View the rSmart demo instance If your institution is considering an implementation of OneCampus you might be asking yourself questions like How many people will need to manage this or How long is the setup going to take Let me just say that if someone like me can do it by myself in a matter of weeks just imagine what you will be able to do To learn more about how easy it is to get started with rSmart OneCampus visit our website at www.rsmart.com or call us at 866.874.4338 to schedule a demo today About the Author When Jennifer Martinez isn 8217 t managing rSmart 8217 s sales support activities she enjoys spending time with her husband two children and rescue dog named Diesel.
It s all in the numbers.The importance of solid data driven decisions in the development expansion and deployment of an ever expanding service portfolio in higher education cannot be overstated. For many years as a technology executive on campus I struggled with how to best determine where my limited resources needed to be applied. There was always a large pool of potential projects critical business demands and a changing landscape of new software and devices. The tools we used to gather data were varied and complex. Many even came with their own embedded technology resource burden or skillsets to maintain. We distributed surveys on a frequent schedule with consistently low response rates and scattered data points. We mined large troves of information for inclusion into a data warehouse and reports. Anecdotally I would also hear from student or faculty focus groups about their dissatisfaction with a service or a desire to obtain the latest cutting edge tool and how critical it was for them. My job at the beginning of every budget planning cycle was to become Kreskin. I would take the varied sources of disparate information about the thousands of service contact points we maintained with faculty staff and students and assemble them into my very own crystal ball. I would peer into the future and try to determine the best way to spend our limited time and money. I would then submit my plan and budget with carefully assembled data points and hope we made an informed decision. Today we work and live in an environment of distributed personal devices and systems that make this decision cycle more difficult. In some cases cloud hosted solutions may not provide access to good data or I may not be able to tell what my pass through rate is for a mobile responsive page. Alternatively I may never obtain the data point or trigger at all because people are using Google to search then going directly to an external service without ever traversing through my tech stack at all. Enter OneCampus the cloud based service discovery platform that organizes these disparate campus services into tasks and provides real time visibility and insight into user behaviors and trends. For example its deep integration with Google Analytics helps administrators pinpoint the end user devices or browsers peak usage times and the most accessed services. Even when students use Siri or Google to search for campus services the OneCampus task portfolio will be returned in their search results because the platform leverages natural language metadata and SEO. This increases the likelihood that administrators will get an accurate gauge of how a service is being used. The innate yet simple design captures user feedback ratings and dynamically repositions tasks i.e. Most Popular or Highest Rated to improve communication and expose users to relevant services. Direct and indirect user data from OneCampus also lets administrators know when they made the right or wrong decision about a service change helps pinpoint with laser focus where the next project cycle effort needs to be applied and may even help them decide what services may be pruned from the portfolio. As the higher education landscape continues to expand there is an increasing need to make services simpler and more accessible for all of our users. The same can be said for data and analytics 8212 the way in which decisions are based for these front facing services. With OneCampus we strive to maintain that ideal balance in our service discovery platform simple accessible and comprehensive.
A Q A with Alex Martinez and Jamiee Janiga Graphic Designers Indiana UniversityUnlike traditional software that is often managed and maintained by a central IT department OneCampus was designed to be a collaborative campus solution. It also provides institutions the ability to make it their own with custom headers footers and icons that match a college or university s branding colors and style. At Indiana University IU students play a key role in the design of icons for various tasks or services offered across their eight campuses. We recently talked with two student graphic designers Alex Martinez and Jaimee Janiga about their experience working with the One.IU team and how it is preparing them for their future careers. How did you hear about the One.IU project Can you describe your role Our graphic design professor was approached by one of the One.IU administrators to see if they had any qualified students that would be interested in designing custom icons for various tasks. The university was getting ready to launch the One.IU platform in fall 2014 and they needed additional icons built during the summer break. During the interview process we were given a task icon to design to make sure it met their needs and matched the style of existing icons. As graphic designers for the One.IU project we are part time hourly employees that typically work from home. On average we work a few hours each day and submit our timecard electronically. The ability to work remotely from home or when traveling to see family is a huge benefit and it provides us the flexibility to have another part time job and handle a full course load. Because we are students they also understand during finals and at the end of semester that school comes first. This motivates us to work harder because they are understanding of our time and are great supervisors. How do you know what to create How long does each icon take to complete IU uses a collaboration tool called Trello to communicate what tasks icons need to be created. When a new task is assigned the first step is to think about the task and learn what it involves. Then we decide how to best represent the task from a student perspective. For some tasks we are given specific requests or instructions regarding the design or color. For others we are provided the opportunity to be more creative. The amount of time it takes to design an icon varies but on average each one takes about 2 3 hours to complete. What program do you use to design the icons How do you maintain a consistent style The icons are designed using Adobe Illustrator in a specific size 153 pixels x 153 pixels . We occasionally design rotating banners as well. The completed files are saved for the web and as an .AI file so they can make edits to the original files in the future. Although we were taught by the same professor and design in a similar way no two people have the exact same style. We work closely together to adapt and change our icons to look similar. Our supervisor also provides feedback and will occasionally suggest minor edits or color changes. The collaborative process is providing us with valuable job skills and experience working as a team. How will this experience prepare you for a future career Alex Prior to this job I didn t have a lot of illustration experience so it has been fun to see the progression of my design skills and find my style. As a graphic designer it is a huge plus to be able to illustrate and add iconography to your resume. With the experience I have gained from my classes and this position I have landed a number of freelance projects including working with a marketing firm in Chicago and doing technical illustrations for a medical device company. Jaimee Working as a graphic designer on the One.IU project has expanded my skills as a graphic designer taught me how to focus on a client s needs and helped me learn how to do things more efficiently. I have also gained valuable job skills and experience such as working with other people learning how to communicate virtually Skype email text and managing my time effectively. The experience is mutually beneficial for the university and students. What advice would you give other schools looking to involve student graphic designers Alex It is important to find honest students that have a track record of being on time and efficient. Since this job is done independently you also need students who can prioritize and manage their own time. From a design perspective it is important to maintain a consistent look and feel so student graphic designers should have a similar style or be able to adapt to pre defined style guides i.e. not too vibrant of colors simple but engaging limited text . Jaimee To find the best candidates talk with graphic design professors and ask them to identify students that are mature stay on track and get stuff done on time. They should have a good amount of design experience and ideally have worked on an outside class project that required them to collaborate with other people. Student graphic designers also need to be willing to listen to feedback critique and respond in a timely manner. Alex Martinez and Jamiee Janiga are seniors at Indiana University Northwest in Gary Indiana. Alex will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Jamiee will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and Computer Systems.
College students own an average of seven tech devices. Does your tech meet their needs According to a recent study college students today own an average of seven tech devices. Laptops held the top position with smartphones a close second and rising. At Indiana University nearly two thirds of the hits on their OneCampus online portal are from mobile devices. With mobile use continuing to increase each year institutions need a way to meet these modern technology needs. Yet despite the data showing just how important mobile is to students and increasingly to all users many traditional software vendors and university IT shops are falling further and further behind the curve. Users especially students can find this frustrating and schools who aren t aggressive with their mobile strategy are at risk for being seen as outdated or out of touch with today s students. A Top Priority with a Long Way to Go According to Campus Computing 70 percent of institutions identify implementing supporting mobile computing as a top institutional IT priority over the next three years but less than a fifth 17 percent rate mobile services at their institution as excellent. It is almost criminal that our higher education institutions are so behind with mobile friendly applications. What are the roadblocks to making this happen One of the roadblocks commonly encountered by colleges and universities involves large software vendors in key spaces like ERP and Learning Management. With little competition and a larger focus on industries outside of higher ed many vendors have been slow to make their software and or platforms responsive or mobile friendly. With a hefty price tag and lengthy implementation timeline it is often difficult for schools to to motivate the vendor to change after adoption or switch products . Sure there are some vendors doing amazing things with the cloud and multi tenant but these are not as plentiful as they should be and often quite expensive. And are these savings being passed on to schools A second roadblock involves institutionally developed legacy systems or software such as campus portals. While they were built specifically to meet the needs of that particular campus from a desktop computer IT departments are finding it difficult to drive a change toward mobile from within because of budget cuts staffing reductions and rising maintenance software costs. An Innovative Path toward Mobile Computing As stated in the article by Green Colleges and universities are clearly playing catch up with the consumer experience. Students come to campus with their smartphones and tablets expecting to use mobile apps to navigate campus resources and use campus services. This is one of the primary factors that has driven rSmart to focus exclusively on bringing OneCampus to colleges and universities of all types and sizes. We want to help schools not just play catch up but to be true leaders by taking strides toward becoming mobile friendly in their portal and service discovery tools at a very affordable price. And that overburdened IT department doesn t need to worry about the amount of time it will take to maintain because OneCampus is cloud based and designed to be maintained by functional staff across campus or within a centralized area such as student services or campus administration.