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Say cheese: Most University of Alabama students avoid waiting in line at the Action Card office for an ID by submitting their application online. For anyone unable to access that system or who needs a replacement card, the office is ready to assist.

Regardless of the size of the staff or office, efficient campus card programs share several best practices: A focus on customer service, cutting-edge technology and collaboration with the campus community and beyond.

What aspects of customer service do campus card offices seem to do best with—and in what areas do they struggle the most? 

Effective card offices focus on bottom-line growth. “Two of the benefits we bring to our campus are cost reduction and revenue growth,” says John Beckwith, director of campus business services at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

For instance, before its single-card program launched in 1997, the campus had seven different cards for students to use, with separate ones for ID, library, transportation, event tickets, food services, laundry and room entry.

Here are some reasons to switch to a passive optical network. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Unlike wine or cheese, networks don’t tend to improve with age. That’s why some higher ed institutions are looking toward passive optical LAN—unlike copper cabling that’s been in place for decades, a fiber-based passive optical network offers faster, cheaper and more secure networks.

Thanks to a new VoIP-based phone system, Eastern Oregon University no longer needs outside consultants to work on system infrastructure.

Have you ever made a call with a soft phone? You have if you’ve ever Skyped or used FaceTime. It also means you’re on the cutting-edge of phone communications.

Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Students at California’s Santa Clara University are tapping their campus cards for various on-campus services instead of swiping, with the use of NFC technology. With convenience and efficiency as key drivers, the university plans to transition its NFC offerings to include mobile devices within the next couple of years.

Campus cards accomplish many tasks—from purchasing meals and vending machine snacks to unlocking dorm rooms and other campus facilities. A growing number of colleges and universities now offer even greater convenience, having replaced less-secure swipe cards with “contactless” cards and mobile devices that perform the same functions.

Fifteen fictitious people created by Hope College administrators have guided the web team in creating a site with easy, logical navigation. The personas represent prospective and current students and faculty, staff, parents, alumni and community members.

When making decisions about Hope College’s website redesign, project team members found themselves looking at a photo of Adam, an 18-year-old freshman, to gauge what he might think is the most logical place for a piece of content—or whether he thinks the content should be there at all.

Picture this: sticky notes on every screen. And if there are none on the monitor, lift up the keyboard. Nothing there? Try opening the pencil drawer.

In just three years, enrollment at Lone Star Community College grew by about 50 percent. The six-campus system, located in the north Houston metro area, now has more than 95,000 students and has experienced explosive data growth, as well—from 40 terabytes to 1.6 petabytes.

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