The readers have spoken and for the first time ever, University Business magazine is honoring higher education products and services, in this first annual Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2012. Earlier this year, campus leaders and administrators from across the country had the unique opportunity to nominate what products they and their peers around the country are using, and voice how these products contribute to the success of their schools. Based on the quality and quantity of nominations, more than 70 products from a plethora of insightful testimonials were selected by our editorial team.
The inaugural list includes products and services that can help solve a variety of issues at any campus, large or small. Here, leaders in admissions, marketing, IT, facilities, public safety, academia, and other areas of the higher education community will find ideas for making operations run more smoothly and efficiently—as well as be more innovative.
University Business is proud to present its first Readers’ Choice Top Products in the following pages, in no specific order. We hope that they can help make a positive difference at your college or university. Congratulations to the winners!
Mediasite by Sonic Foundry is an enterprise webcasting, lecture capture, and hybrid event platform. The webcasting technology automates the recording, distribution, management, and analytics of high-quality video and multimedia presentations. A variety of distribution options allow students to access content from any device, and the media player can be individualized with a school’s own custom branding.
“Mediasite technology has greatly improved the pedagogy of online, hybrid, and even face-to-face classes. High-quality, user-friendly lecture capture means that students can tune in live or later to the actual teaching presence of our best professors. Face-to-face students can ‘attend’ when they’re sick without sharing the latest bug with the whole class, and everyone can review lectures and explanations before a test. We can now reach more students and achieve more consistent quality in teaching.” —Mary Ayala, dean, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Eastern New Mexico University
Follett Higher Education Group
CafeScribe is a digital textbook and study tool that allows students to highlight and share their ideas with other students or instructors from within the textbook. Instructors can customize course materials with video, primary research, or links to online content. CafeScribe links to most course management systems.
Strategic Enrollment Management Software
Colleges and universities can use Enrollment Rx to manage their marketing, recruitment, admissions, and enrollment management processes. The cloud-based CRM allows for enrollment to be measured through dashboards, reports, and analytics; for enrollment management workflow to be automated; and for inefficient practices to be eliminated.
“After deciding we needed a cloud-based solution to allow greater access while we traveled, we decided Enrollment Rx was the way to go. I’ve never regretted the decision. It wasn’t long before, for the first time, we were able to see a true picture of the effectiveness of our recruiting efforts and the impact it had on enrollment.” —Ben Schears, vice president for institutional advancement, Cowley County Community College (Kan.)
AccessNow, an HTML5 RDP client from Ericom, runs entirely inside the browser, does not require installation of anything on the client device, and eliminates the management of endpoint devices. The end result is the ability to deliver high-performance RDP access to applications and desktops from almost any device.
Developed with education in mind, the iPad has built-in apps, and with apps from the App Store such as iTunes U, students can engage, find information, and access an entire library wherever they go. Also available on the iPad is iBooks textbooks, which allows students to flip through pages by sliding their fingers, use an interactive dictionary, and flick through photo galleries with captions and 3D images.
NetSupport School is a training software solution that provides instructors with the ability to teach and visually and audibly monitor, as well as interact with students one-to-one, in groups, or as an entire class. The software features a customized testing suite, dedicated technician console, digital student revision aids, lesson tools, and the option for instructors to reward students for good effort.
“This product can be used not only for students, but also [for] building the image for the classroom. If you had a piece of software to add to a room, you could accomplish this task very easily through NetSupport School. Great product. It saves time, which means it saves money.” —Marty Arthur, coordinator, St. Louis Community College (Mo.)
Laserfiche Rio combines enterprise content management (ECM) functionality with business process management (BPM) and security and auditing tools to provide an infrastructure that manages content; integrates with an institution’s existing IT portfolio; supports intelligent, enterprisewide decision-making; grants the IT department central control over standards,security, and auditing; and gives individual departments flexibility to customize their filing structures, views, and workflows.
Campus Video Network
YOUniversity TV and its subsidiary College Video Network make it possible for prospective students, parents, and guidance counselors to get a free, first-hand glimpse into hundreds of two-and four-year institutions, either by visiting the company’s website, or by way of syndication of its content to dozens of college information and college reference websites.
The Reeher Platform
Reeher provides fundraising management for colleges and universities, including customized models that allow institutions to identify which prospects are most likely to give. With the Reeher Expected Value Index, new donors, major gift prospects and annual fund donors can be discovered and more confident decisions can be made about future strategies, appeals, and goals.
Starfish Retention Services
Starfish Early Alert is an early warning and student tracking system that makes it possible for an institution to take a more comprehensive approach to student success rather than concentrating solely on those students with classic at-risk characteristics at admission. Features include manual and automatic flag raising; a central student folder for organization; communication with students via email, Facebook, and text; and success reports.
“Starfish Early Alert and Connect have provided our faculty and academic support staff with real-time information on our students in time to outreach early enough to significantly improve student success. We have seen improved student retention, increasing numbers of students in good academic standing, and most importantly improved graduation rates since implementation of these Starfish programs.” —Virginia McAleese, Academic Success Center director, Paul Smith’s College (N.Y.)
The Jenzabar Recruitment Manager CRM helps improve efficiencies throughout the recruitment process, freeing up time normally spent on administrative recruitment duties to spend more time connecting with prospective students and their parents. Features include social media tracking, unlimited email broadcasts, event management, online chat hosting, document generation and reporting, integrated online forms, real-time reporting and dashboards, mobile access, and integrated online application.
This software helps streamline the admissions evaluation process by increasing applicant document completion, evaluation, decision, and distribution of acceptance letters, as well as increasing the likelihood of enrollment. It also has the ability to securely manage application packets and pre-application documents submitted via mail, email, fax, online portals, and any other medium in one central electronic repository.
“The implementation of Perceptive Software’s imaging solution, ImageNow, has allowed for greater efficiency in the admissions department. Within one year of implementation, a 3 to 4 month backlog was reduced to 3 to 4 weeks. The product has changed the way we process and allowed us to concentrate on other areas to increase enrollment.” —Charnelle Holmes, assistant coordinator of institutional research, assessment, accreditation, and planning, Erie Community College, State University of New York
Student Recruitment Manager
TargetX’s Student Recruitment Manager (SRM) is a CRM tool that helps colleges manage, integrate, and automate the process of student recruitment from the first point of contact through enrollment. The SRM allows for two-way data exchange with student information systems and combines CRM with an online application, a unique campus visit scheduler, and the leading email broadcasting and online chat tools in higher education.
“The majority of our woes have been eliminated. Most of our processes are now fully automated, requiring little manual intervention. Our web forms and online application are integrated into the system, allowing for a real-time stream of data and lightning fast follow-up. Users have quickly learned how to generate reports that are accessible in a few clicks, not to mention easily configured as dashboards to monitor key metrics and progress toward goals.”
—Bryan Lester, director of enrollment information and admission processing,
Chicago Metallic Corporation
The EuroStone sustainable acoustical ceiling panels from Chicago Metallic Corporation provide sound absorption and decades-long ceiling life in areas requiring resistance to moisture, mold, and bacteria. Finishing options include fine, medium, or heavy textured services, as well as a variety of molded pattern designs. The panels are available in 24-inch by 24-inch sizes for installation into industry standard 15/16-inch and 9/16-inch ceiling suspensions.
Open Source CMS
Drupal is an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications, including numerous colleges and universities. It is built, used, and supported by a community of people around the world, providing constantly updated features to be used and customized.
TechSmith’s Camtasia Relay, for enterprisewide screen recording, allows multiple people to record meetings, training sessions, and lectures with only three clicks. Once recorded, the files are automatically sent to the server and made available for viewing. Camtasia Relay benefits IT and system administrators by helping them work behind the scenes effortlessly.
Financial Literacy Platform
The iGrad Financial Literacy Platform helps students engage with personalized, interactive resources, while earning badges and improving their financial capability. This online platform includes optional federal entrance and exit counseling, and personalizes the student experience, by adapting the experience to each individual user. Articles, videos, games, and interactive modules help equip students with the necessary tools to make financially sound post-graduation decisions.
“iGrad exit counseling provides a robust alternative to other counseling sites, giving our students access not only to the details of loan exit counseling, but also to a rich body of information on financial literacy. The ‘value added’ service that iGrad provides is a crucial component of the financial education that students increasingly need in our complex world, but may not be getting from other sources.” —Greg Gearhart, director of financial aid, Messiah College (Pa.)
PRIZM fx-CG10, FX-9860GII, fx-115ES PLUS Calculators
Casio’s graphing calculators (PRIZM fx-CG10, fx-9860GII, fx-115ES PLUS) offer a variety of functions for advanced mathematics, including computer math, geometry, trigonometry, stats, calculus, programming, and finance. The most advanced calculators feature high-resolution LCD screens with full textbook-style display, Picture Plot technology to create graphs over photos of real-life scenes, and multiple functions that leverage color LCD. Auto power off improves battery life for up to 250 hours of computing.
“This calculator is much more intuitive for a student who has never touched a graphing calculator. The color screen does not seem to be a necessity until one realizes the power of coloring different curves. The menu feature is more user-friendly than other brands. The natural display is such a nice feature that I often tell students that ‘if the input looks like what you would write down on paper, then it is most-likely the correct input.’ Overall, a major improvement over other calculators.” —Jereme Munger, Advanced Math Lab assistant and teaching assistant,Central Texas College
The Polycom RealPresence Mobile app is a software application that allows students and instructors to securely extend the use of HD video collaboration beyond the classroom. The free-to-download app connects tablets and iOS and Android smartphones with other standards-based video systems and allows users to connect and collaborate face to face over HD audio and video.
Enova DVX-3155HD All-in-One Switcher
This all-in-one controller for medium to large conference rooms and classrooms is an AV matrix switcher, scaler, analog-to-digital signal converter, twisted pair transmitter, and amplifier with built-in, professional-grade audio processing. Designed to simplify system design and provide a future proof solution, the controller’s multiformat video inputs support analog and digital signals—all in the same connector. Built-in technology outputs video scaled specifically for each connected display so that integration challenges don’t occur when sources and displays have different optimal resolutions.
Core Facility Management
iLab Software Solutions
The web-based Core Facility Management tool helps reduce costs and increase utilization of shared resources. The functionality includes request management, equipment reservation and usage tracking, project tracking, inventory management, billing and invoicing, and reporting. iLab has developed the core facility software to include a full spectrum of features commonly required by major research institutions.
“This software solution has helped our core facilities manage the scheduling process for their specialized equipment, moving them from a paper scheduling process to a virtual scheduling process. iLab Solutions also integrated our financial systems so payments are in real time. It frees up the directors’ time to do the actual work of the facilities and insures prompt payment and avoids scheduling confusion.”
This HD PTZ type of camera comes with USB and Ethernet streaming built right into it, so users can plug a camera directly into a PC without the need for a separate capture device. The built-in Ethernet network interface allows for IP control and IP Streaming directly from the camera. The camera also features a 19x optical zoom lens with a 58.1-degree wide angle view—wide enough to view everyone at a standard conference table.
Steelcase’s media:scape with HD video conferencing integrates furniture and technology to create dynamic, multipurpose spaces for content sharing. Classrooms equipped with media:scape facilitate learning through small team co-creation, digital content sharing, and group sharing and discussion. The instructor can use a central switcher to control the display of each team’s content, and can share his or her own content with the class at every table or on a centrally-located display. It is also useful for meetings and distance learning.
The Exinda 8060 incorporates the Exinda 360 Dynamic Policy Engine, allowing network administrators to set policies and apply the right mix of acceleration, caching, and containment to ensure the right application is delivered to the right user with the right experience. The Exinda 8060 expands to support up to 10 Gbps worth of traffic and up to 100,000 users. This appliance has dual power supplies and RAID 10 support.
“The Exinda 8060 platform has allowed us to easily deploy and manage a solution for categorizing and, where needed, shaping network traffic going out of our main 1GB internet connection. One extremely valuable benefit we’ve gained from using this product is getting a better handle on identifying and dealing with P2P traffic within our institution. A key factor in us choosing Exinda over some of its competitors was ease of deployment and management and pricing.”
This education subscription offering provides managers, end users, and administrators/IT staff with anytime, anywhere access to education content and support tools. With KnowledgePass, users can set up, track, complete, and measure training activities. It can be used during implementation, when onboarding new hires, or when upgrading to the latest release of software.
V10L Thin Client
The Dell Wyse V10L comes with standard built-in support for Citrix Presentation Server and Microsoft Terminal Services, as well as desktop virtualization capabilities for Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware products. The Wyse V10L includes high-resolution dual monitor support, giving users the ability to connect two displays simultaneously. In addition, the V10L has three USB 2.0 expansion slots to provide flexible peripheral support including mass storage.
“We saw virtualization as the future of computing and began to virtualize the college’s math, nursing, and science labs, and to replace PCs with Dell Wyse V10L thin clients to expand the number of computers at a lower cost and dramatically reduce computer maintenance and IT staff time. An added bonus is that we have lowered our energy usage and therefore our energy costs because Dell Wyse thin clients use one-tenth the energy of a PC.” —Leigh Buchwald, network central computing and telecommunication systems supervisor, Citrus College (Calif.)
Financial Education Services and Management
Inceptia, a division of the National Student Loan Program, helps schools, students, and borrowers by providing financial education to students, working with schools toward the goal of 100 percent repayment by borrowers, and focusing on addressing schools’ need to improve financial aid management and financial education services. Inceptia provides tools and resources to help schools and their students (not just those who are borrowers) become more financially responsible.
VMware View enables desktop administrators to virtualize the operating system, applications, and user data and deliver modern desktops to end-users. It provides centralized automated management of these components for increased control and cost savings and delivers rich, personalized virtual desktops as managed services from a virtualization platform.
Unit4 Business Software
Agresso Education, a fully-integrated higher education software solution from Unit4 Business Software, can be used to manage the day-to-day activities of administrators, faculty, and students. The software helps attract desirable students and support them throughout their education, as well as maintain relationships during their alumni years.
For enrollment marketers in higher education, the Sparkroom platform was designed to allow schools to automate, manage, and optimize all student prospect inquiries from a single, integrated platform. Based on industry best practices, the Sparkroom platform offers transparency with web-based access to real-time data on marketing campaign performance; simplified vendor management; integration with CRM and SIS systems; and reporting and analytics.
“Sparkroom has streamlined our processes and reporting for our third-party affiliate lead management. We have found great value in using Sparkroom as a method for posting leads to our system, gathering intelligence on our leads, and engaging the vendors to utilize the platform to facilitate discussion and optimization.”
The A Game: Mutants on Campus
The A Game: Mutants on Campus from nliven systems delivers alcohol awareness educational materials in video-game format to appeal to the college-aged demographic. The content is broken into small, easy-to-retain pieces, and optional game play at the end of each module provides students with a break and incentive to come back and revisit material. Animated and engaging graphics are meant to hold students’ attention.
“This is the best preventative intervention protocol I have seen. Students respond very favorably to its delivery mechanism and appear to engage in the material presented. This is a huge advance over what we previously used, as students reported that the previous instrument was boring, too lengthy, and not relevant to them.” —Joe LaBrie, special assistant to the president and professor of psychology, Loyola Marymount University (Calif.)
Virtual Walking Tours by YouVisit feature rich media, video content, and 360-degree panoramas. The virtual tours stimulate engagement while helping schools drive physical campus visits, quality inquiries, applications, and enrollment. Other features include showcasing student life and clubs on the ability to implement the software on Facebook and through smartphone apps.
“With YouVisit, our prospective students and their families can explore our campus directly on our website through an online tour. They can see an interactive map, pictures, videos, and 360 panoramas. This tour is also available through Android or iPhone applications.” —Marcio Moreno, associate director of admissions,
Kramer Electronics’ VP-730 is a nine-input scaler/switcher with speaker outputs for analog video, digital video, balance stereo, and S/PDIF audio signals. It upscales or downscales composite, s-Video (Y/C), component video (YUV), HDMI, computer graphics video, and .jpeg files into selectable computer graphics video or HDTV output resolution on one HDMI and two 15-pin HD outputs. A power amplifier drives loudspeakers.
MS-9600LS Fire Alarm Control Panel
Fire-Lite by Honeywell
The Fire-Lite MS-9600UDLS is a compact fire alarm control panel with a capacity of 318 addressable Fire-Lite devices on one Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) or a total of 636 addressable points with an optional second loop (SLC-2LS). The control panel has an optional DACT-UD2 and MS-9600UDLS 636-Point Intelligent Control with DACT-UD2.
“The Fire-Lite MS9600UDLS fire alarm control panel has provided our campus with the most up-to-date fire alarm control panel and provided our staff and our students with peace of mind knowing that their Life Safety is being monitored 24/7 by our Firelite MS9600UDLS. Again, thanks to Fire-Lite for providing this great fire alarm control panel.” —Kim Harris, electronic systems technician, North Georgia College & State University
Video Conferencing Service
The Blue Jeans Network is built for video communication collaboration at work, at home, and on the road. Its video conferencing service uses cloud-based conferencing to connect users to each other from different devices, such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Each Blue Jeans customer gets a private “meeting room” in its cloud that they can use to schedule and host their meetings through a web interface.
“The traditional audio/web conferencing solutions did not provide the rich interactive collaboration that we were looking for. Only when we discovered Blue Jeans’ cloud-based video conferencing system were we able to bridge classroom video conferencing systems with the iPads. Now, study groups in the Philadelphia and San Francisco Executive MBA classes use Blue Jeans to meet with fellow students. Blue Jeans is helping us fulfill the vision we always had to extend classrooms beyond the four walls.” —Dan Alig, senior IT director, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
SALT Membership Program
American Student Assistance
SALT, a financial empowerment membership program, teaches students and alumni financial skills through a range of self-paced courses; simple, useful, and motivational information; planned communications to keep them on track; and a series of monthly reports that enable administrators to see and measure the results in real time. Webinars for staff members keep them up to speed on what students are learning, so they can serve as an additional resource.
Lenovo’s Power Manager allows IT administrators to control energy consumption remotely, reaching every device on campus with a single command. Users can specify the level of power saving by simply using the slider, without power plans. Advanced mode enables users to configure power plans and the full range of functions in Power Manager to meet specific power saving needs.
GoingOn provides colleges and universities with tools to extend learning and student engagement beyond the confines of “the course,” to more broadly encompass the academic life experience. It is an academic social network where students and faculty can create and participate in online communities, collaborate using live Facebook-like activity streams, and curate their academic network, while keeping it all separate from their personal social networks.
“The GoingOn social learning communities have increased student engagement, improved channels of communication, and created more opportunities for learning. Students feel more connected with one another and with the faculty. Faculty feel that the learning communities help them extend the boundaries of the classroom and enhance the learning experience.” —Andrew Feldstein, assistant professor of marketing, Virginia State University
McGraw-Hill Connect is a digital teaching and learning environment designed to connect students to their coursework and their instructors anytime, anywhere. A customizable suite of digital tools allows instructors to create custom assignments, share notes through eBook, harness McGraw-Hill Tegrity lecture capture, and take advantage of McGraw-Hill LearnSmart adaptive learning technology.
PT-DW730US Series 1-chip DLP projector
This series of projectors has six lens options and a dual-lamp system for exceptional picture quality. Eco Filter technology with a 12,000-hour replacement cycle and a liquid cooling system for varying temperatures are built in. Other features include RGB booster technology, a lamp modulation drive system, and a detail clarity processor.
CASHNet Payment Suite
With CASHNet, colleges and universities can leverage refund as well as payment services within one relationship. The suite includes several payment products, including eBill, ePayment, MyPaymentPlan, Cashiering, eMarket, and SmartPay. CASHNet is also mobile friendly, and the ePayment and eMarket systems now have international payment functions.
“CASHNet has enhanced our services, internal efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction immensely. Truly, this product has revolutionized the way we operate. We purchased the entire CASHNet suite and each individual function has had a positive impact on our organization and our customers. There is almost no paper storage in our offices any longer as so many processes were automated. We are able to maintain better cash control for all areas in our campus because of the functionality within CASHNet in departmental deposits, and the ability to build websites and accept payment online.” —Michelle Hancock, bursar, Colorado School of Mines
With Inigral, colleges and universities can create a private, unique social network site for the campus community. Students can make friends with fellow classmates, share their interests, and get involved with campus clubs and events. The Schools App also provides security and a turnkey solution to measure and maximize student engagement.
AT&T Campus Guide
The AT&T Campus Guide is a mobile campus platform consisting of a custom suite of mobile applications, including courses, directories, events, news, maps, my profile/student ID, friends, notifications, and other information. The app is available on multiple device platforms, including iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, and each application integration is customized by the client utilizing the institution’s data sources, content, branding, and relationships with the local community.
TouchNet’s U.Commerce is a comprehensive commerce management system tailored specifically for colleges and universities. It helps institutions achieve secure and efficient operations by providing a unified framework with which to administer electronic payments and related business transactions. TouchNet U.Commerce helps maintain control of transactions, costs, compliance, and relationships with campus constituents.
Team DynamixHE’s integrated project portfolio management and service desk and operations work management tools enable institutions to prioritize efforts, adapt to change, manage resources, and meet commitments on time and on budget. The suite of solutions makes it easy to intake projects, operational tickets, or service desk incidents and then route to the appropriate fulfillment workflow. Comprehensive reporting ties all tools in the suite together, allowing administrators to quickly receive information needed to make decisions.
—Clay Fulton, principal technology and portfolio management engineer, Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.)
Ultrathin Keyboard Cover
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad 2 and the 3rd generation iPad features a protective screen with a built-in Bluetooth wireless keyboard that frees up screen space and allows users to work faster by using keyboard shortcuts for the commands used most often, such as copy, paste, and undo. The cover has an up to six-month battery life on a full charge, and a magnetized clip allows for easy attachment.
“This case has been a game changer in the realms of iPad keyboard/cases. Unlike other keyboard cases, the Ultrathin utilizes the magnets on the iPad to attach itself during use and storage. It adds minimum thickness to compliment the thin design of the iPad.” —Mike Wang, computer service center manager/technology buyer, University of Arizona Bookstore
Huron Consulting Group Inc.
Huron Consulting’s Click Portal software platform is a suite of integrated solutions that provide users with full configurability, designed for streamlining workflow, facilitating compliance, and enhancing financial control. The software uses all major browsers and is Mac and PC compatible. It also allows institutions to use their own processes and forms, and is designed to integrate with existing business systems.
“Huron’s Click Portal has helped Boston Children’s Hospital researchers focus more on world-class research and less on paperwork by integrating multiple applications under one web interface and simplifying the process of creating and submitting research grants and protocols.” —Fabio Santana, applications team leader, Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School)
Mobile Campus Visit
The Mobile Campus Visit tool from ClearMetrics helps colleges and universities create a branded and custom mobile tour app without hiring a developer. The tool is designed to be as easy to use as sending an email, allowing users to drag and drop pins to mark tour destinations on a map of their campus and input information and photos. No knowledge of code is required. The result is an iOS- and Android-ready app that is delivered to the app stores in days and can be updated as often as desired.
“[Mobile Campus Visit is an] easy to use, incredibly responsive web application for the creation of a mobile campus app that has helped us reach and interact with prospective and current students and their families.”
Managed Mobile Solutions
As the number of mobile devices on campus continues to increase, Verizon can help address the challenges that come along with that increase. Solutions include monitoring cross-campus wireless, enabling cross-organizational reporting, defining mobile policies, securing several types of devices, delivering applications securely, and protecting data.
Building Management Solutions
Schneider Electric’s Building Business optimizes the energy efficiency, indoor climate, security, and safety of any size college campus. Integration of building systems can include energy efficiency products and management of all systems, from access control and fire safety to climate control and lighting.
OU Campus from OmniUpdate is a web content management system for higher education institutions that is being used by more than 550 colleges and universities around the world to manage their websites. The OU Campus platform provides broad configurability through comprehensive tools, as well as technologies including RSS, Facebook, and Twitter integration, as well as blog management.
“OmniUpdate’s OU Campus CMS makes it possible for both technical and non-technical employees across our organization to contribute to the management of content on our college’s various websites. It is an absolute life saver for our institution. Without their product, updates and feature-adds on our college’s sites would take significantly longer.” —Justin Gatewood, webmaster, Victor Valley College (Calif.)
Default Prevention Services
Higher ed institutions can choose the program that’s right for them through EdFinancial, as it offers default prevention solutions with the option to select individual services that meet specific institutional strategies. Counselors maintain contact throughout the grace period gathering updated demographics and establishing a positive relationship with the borrower as an advisor prior to the repayment start date.
Student Loan Calculator
NerdWallet’s Student Loan Calculator helps students make informed decisions about financing their higher education. The online calculator can help estimate future repayment plans on loans, determine if loan consolidation is right for them and can help students take advantage of all federal loan options. Institutions can customize the colors and add their logo to the calculator and embed it on their websites.
REALis SX6000 and REALisWX6000 projectors
These projectors integrate LCOS display panels with a pixel-spacing aperture ratio of 96 percent. The SX6000 and WX6000 deliver 6,000 lumens of brightness and an aspect ratio of 43, and 5,700 lumens of brightness with an aspect ratio of 1,610, respectively. Both projectors include a greater burn-in resistance than previous REALiS models, allowing them to be used for applications that require long periods of continuous projection.
Engineerica Systems, Inc.
Designed for managing academic centers, AccuTrack software’s benefits include tracking attendance, managing appointments, keeping notes on sessions, tracking loaned media, analyzing traffic, communicating with students and staff, checking who is in, and conducting surveys. Versatility allows for use in various centers, including tutoring centers, advising centers, writing labs, computer labs, financial aid offices, testing centers, gyms, student support services, and learning centers. AccuTrack offers various licensing options, from a single center installation to unlimited installations at all campuses.
“AccuTrack is our only tracking system for tutors and students at the college’s Academic Support Center and I can’t imagine life without it. The system tracks over 22,000 student visits that occur at the center annually. Reports are generated on student and tutor attendance, subjects tutored, and specialized groups. The data is often exported to study the relationship between tutoring and student retention initiatives. The system is user friendly and the technical support from the company is professional, courteous, and timely.” —Debra Weiner, director of tutoring services, Raritan Valley Community College (N.J.)
Undergraduate students living off campus or in a dorm, graduate students living off campus, and young adults out of school and living on their own can benefit from Sallie Mae’s Renters Insurance, which offers personal property coverage of up to $95,000 and personal liability coverage of up to $300,000 with a deductible as low as $100. Policies can be shared by roommates, and feature replacement cost coverage, so lost or stolen items will be covered for the cost to replace them, and worldwide coverage, so students are covered when traveling abroad.
“Many of our students cannot afford extremely high premiums to cover their computers, iPads, or bikes—or apartments for fire or vandalism coverage. We are a small, Catholic private college for medically-related degrees, and our students are pressed to the max with expenses. This renters insurance has been a godsend. They even give discounts to roommates who can divide the premium in half.”—Phyllis Simpson, dean of student services and director of counseling, Our Lady of the Lake College (La.)
SM 3 Speakers
These flush-mount speakers feature the Extron SpeedMount System, which is concealed and designed to speed up installation. The enclosure measures less than 4 inches (10.2 cm) deep, and the 8 ohm speaker features a 3-inch (7.6 cm) full-range driver and tuned bass port, a wide frequency response of 75 Hz to 18 kHz, and a power rating of 15 watts continuous pink noise, 30 watts continuous program capacity.
peerTransfer, an online tuition payment system, processes tuition payments for international students from around the world attending hundreds of colleges and universities. Aiming to offer the best currency exchange rates and a simple online experience, peerTransfer also provides customer service in multiple languages 24/7 via Skype, phone, email, or instant messenger.
“peerTransfer provides our students with a substantially less expensive vehicle for remitting international wire transfer payments of their tuition and fees. peerTransfer also substantially reduces the university’s processing time for identifying and processing these payments onto the student accounts.” —John Hockersmith, associate director, receivables, loans, and collections, University of Illinois
Turning Technologies’ ResponseCard clicker system ensures that responses from students are accurately transmitted to the instructor in a timely manner. All of the one-ounce keypads fit into a lightweight carrying case, and receivers are the size of a thumb drive. The clickers have tested in classroom environments and are ideal for encouraging active participation.
“The Turning Technologies clickers allow students to learn more effectively in a lecture environment. Rather than passively sit and listen, students can engage their brains and respond to questions. As an instructor, I receive immediate feedback from the students, and can modify the lesson to skip over material they understand and spend more time on concepts the students are struggling with.” —Matt Morgan, senior lecturer, Hamline University (Minn.)
Emergency Alert Systems
Campus Televideo’s cable TV comb and crawl emergency alert system (EAS) interrupts all television programming with text and audio messaging or displays text messages as an overlay to the channel picture along with audio. The platform can deliver radio and television broadcast alerts from federal, state, and local authorities, as well as campus-originated messages, with automatic text-to-speech conversion of custom messages. Integrating FEMA’s recently released Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard, the solution simplifies the alert procedures, speeds message delivery, and assures consistent messaging across all touchpoints.
“Campus Televideo’s CAP Integration tied their Cable TV EAS platform into Misericordia’s mass notification platform for a single point of message origination, eliminating the delays, complications, and potential inconsistencies associated with managing separate platforms and processes.” —Mark Reboli, network/telecom manager, Misericordia University (Pa.)
Benchmarking & Analysis
While partnering with a higher ed institution, Sightlines can help bridge the knowledge gap on campus from finance to facilities. Its benchmarking and analysis services can find untapped possibilities and looming needs; develop investment options; create a case for spending level targets and improvement plans; and envision the measurable on-campus impact of planned changes.
Rapid Insight Analytics
Using this data mining and predictive modeling solution, institutional research and admissions offices can better manage the enrollment process. The software allows administrators to understand and predict the probability of enrolling for each person who inquires or applies. It shows relatioships between enrollment likelihood and other variables such as SAT scores, high school GPA, gender, state, major, and distance of the person from the institution. The information can be used to keep costs down, with enrollment staff more aggressively pursuing those with high probabilies of enrolling and less aggressively pursuing those with very low enrollment probabilities.
Veera is a new class of technology from Rapid Insight called ETA (Extract, Transform, Analyze). The software technology is designed to make it easy to work with, organize, clean, analyze, and report on data. It enables users to create repeatable processes to use multiple times when creating reports or running analyses.
“We capture student information in multiple locations, all using different software or databases. Trying to link all of this information together was time consuming and frustrating. Cleaning the data up took days and weeks. Not anymore with Veera. Now information from our different systems can be linked and reports are run much quicker and more accurately. I am more productive and our decisions are more informed.” —Scott Alessandro, associate director, MIT Sloan School of Management
Talisma CRM Solution
Campus Management Corp.
This software helps institutions build and sustain relationships with constituents, strengthen their brands, and stay competitive. Talisma CRM delivers personalized information and services across marketing, sales, and service functions and provides tools for staging and measuring marketing campaigns, managing the sales pipeline, increasing revenue, and gaining insight into operational performance and customer needs.
Course Materials Network
The Rafter Course Materials Network supports the entire process of choosing, sourcing, obtaining and delivering course materials to students. The network builds on the technology formerly known as BookRenter Store Services and is comprised of supplier-and-content neutral tools that address three major areas of course materials management: discovery and adoption, supply and pricing, and commerce and loyalty.
Interfolio Dossier is a website that allows students to apply and manage letters of recommendation and receiving universities to collect and manage those applications and letters. Advisors can also submit letters through the service, and university administrators can refer students to Interfolio as their credentials, dossier, or placement service.
“When researching similar solutions, we could not match Interfolio’s top-notch service, specific capabilities or ease of use. Since using Interfolio Dossier, our career center staff has had more time to focus on valuable counseling and making career information available to students. The burden of inefficiently managing paperwork and letters of recommendation is gone.” —Patricia Rose, director of career services, University of Pennsylvania
A facilities capital planning and management software, VFA.facility enables organizations to manage condition and sustainability information about facility assets and leverage the information to create capital projects, plans, and budgets. The cloud-based solution allows users to build compelling capital budgets for facilities renewal and deferred maintenance, validate and justify budgets based on condition data, execute capital plans with integration to procurement and work order systems, and manage and reduce capital asset cost.
“This tool helps the university maximize our current investment in facilities and infrastructure while effectively planning for future needs. … In 2002, the majority of facility improvement dollars were going to renovation rather than renewal; today, the university dedicates 85 percent of funds to renewing building systems. With a long-term strategy to gather objective information about facility needs and successfully leverage that information to obtain needed funding, we proactively achieve success in maintaining our facilities.” —Ana Thiemer, manager of replacement and renewal, The University of Texas at Austin
INvent Retro XLT
Wausau Window and Wall Systems
Helping meet Model Energy Codes, INvent Retro XLT windows with double insulating glass can achieve a U-Factor (measuring heat loss) as low as 0.39 and a Condensation Resistance Factor (CRF) as high as 60 for the frame and 70 for the glass. Wausau’s windows are manufactured using a high percentage of recycled content. Low-profile fixed framing to maximize daylight openings also is available. A selection of renovation panning may be added to emphasize historic styling.
Tuition Refund Insurance
Tuition Refund insurance helps protect a student’s higher education investment if he or she is forced to withdraw from school for covered medical reasons, such as injuries, unexpected illness, or a mental health condition. Provided with the Student Protection Plan, the insurance covers the costs that may not be refunded by an institution, including: tuition, academic fees, room and board, books and other eligible education expenses.
“Sallie Mae Insurance Services provides the most comprehensive Tuition Insurance coverage available to students and families. The Student Protection Plan provides a number of benefits and services that are geared toward this generation of college students. The best aspect of the Tuition Insurance product is that families can choose the dollar amount of coverage they desire and control the amount of premium they are comfortable with paying.” —Doug Schantz, director of student accounts, Wittenberg University (Ohio)
Remote Support Software
Focusing on architecture, authentication, access controls, and audits, Bomgar’s Remote Support Software gives centralized control over all remote support activity. Data is routed and stored centrally over standard ports, enabling auditing. The software secures support of end users both over the internet and within secure closed networks. Bomgar administrators can apply permissions and password policies on the group or individual level, ensuring only authorized users have access to the systems.
Zinch matches students with college and scholarship opportunities. Each student creates a professional profile to be discovered by colleges and graduate schools and to find scholarships and internships. Zinch matches its 1.5 million students to over 725 institutions and $1.9 billion in scholarships. The program is also available to students through Facebook application.
“Zinch has improved our ability to communicate with our students and has helped us to find new students who could be an excellent match for our institution. Their format is easy for students to navigate and really encourages students to develop their profile into a strong representation of their skills, passions, and abilities. It’s great to have an additional way that students can reach out to us with questions; I love the fact that they can do a scholarship search on the same site, too. It’s been valuable to add new inquiries to reach out to that might not have heard of us otherwise.”—Nicole Lentine, senior assistant director of admission, Champlain College (Vt.)
Colleague Intelligent Learning Platform
The Colleague Intelligent Learning Platform from Ellucian provides advanced integration and interoperability between administrative and learning management systems (LMS), to make it easier for end users and institutions to access data and manage information in real time from within their administrative and academic systems. The platform increased LMS adoption among institutional users while decreasing time spent on administrative tasks.
-Edited by Lauren Williams and Kristen Domonell