spring

There are gremlins in my software!

Let’s face it, we trust our SIS’. They are proven, old friends and the record of truth for our institutions. However, the real truth is: many of our SIS’ are slow, built on decades-old programming platforms (some from the 1970s and 80s) and feature-poor when it comes to efficiency. Blend this lack of efficiency with ill-fitting, bolt-on technology such as: not-so-modern, class scheduling software, you have a recipe for gremlins.

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You know these gremlins; they are the ones who prevent your data from moving from one system to the other. Gremlins, too, are old “friends.” (I always liked to picture my gremlin, looking and acting much like the Flintstone’s great Gazoo, holding his little hands up preventing the movement of data between my SIS and academic scheduling software.) 

 

How many times did I change a room assignment in the SIS and then wait an hour or two (or maybe a day) for my course scheduling software to reflect the change? How many times did the change never make it? How many times did my Vice President or Provost asked for a building or utilization report while I waited for these changes to present in one system or the other? “Sorry, Dr. So-and-So, it’s Gazoo’s day off.”

 

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Flash forward to 2019, when technology works a million times faster than our very own brains.   This is particularly true of saturated, Academic Scheduler and Registrar brains, swirling with different categories of numbers at all times: course numbers, section numbers, room numbers, credit hours, GPAs, student ID#s, FTEs, enrollment numbers. Waiting an hour or even a day for data to present is maddening, particularly during the first week of classes.

 

To further complicate matters, Registrars work with many different academic software platforms to our perform everyday work. We rely on these disparate systems to “speak” to one another through APIs and pray that all the systems jive in terms of outputs and do so quickly. Having a real-time integration, in many instances, is beyond our wildest dreams. And, somehow, we accept the delay in data movement as truth: the cost of doing business.

 

The real truth is, we don’t have to accept it.   There is class scheduling software that integrates in real time, Coursedog. For class and room scheduling, Coursedog serves as the record of truth and the live integration means that your SIS and your academic scheduling software are always in sync. “Thanks for your service, Gazoo. Why don’t you take the week off?”

 

Having correct data where you can view it is just the half of it. The other half and, probably, most important to your campus executives is reporting. When it comes to reporting on classroom utilization, which system do you derive your data from: your SIS or your Scheduling software?  Chances are your SIS has just a couple of very flat, PDF style reports that provide lists of classes and rooms. Flat, ain't where it's at in 2019. 

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When you have a dynamic, feature-rich platform like Coursedog, you have access to reports that provide enrollment and forecasting information, building and room utilization and the data is live (not stored in a data warehouse: days or months old).

 

 

 

 

Having access to live data in multiple systems may make it lonely in your office. Giving Gazoo the week (or maybe this academic calendar year) off will allow you to work in the Here-And-Now. You’ll get used to working more efficiently and having fewer mysteries to solve. Institutions require accuracy, efficiency, live data and happy, productive employees; mysteries are for the movies.

What might be your reward for live integration, aside from making your campus constituents happy? All this extra time will allow you time for an office pet. (Truth: most colleges and universities frown upon pets as officemates.)

 

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