Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lab Specific Student Profiles

How to Maximize this Feature for Your Program/Department
The student profile feature in AccuTrack/AccuSQL is one of the more beneficial features of the software and even more so now that the profiles will be lab specific. By this we mean that each program/department in the database can set themselves up as individual labs and the student profile items can be unique for each lab. This article looks at several profile set-ups that will meet the unique needs of common programs and departments in higher education.
First, let’s cover the reason behind the original development of the student profile and its intended use. Often, programs and departments are unable to access institutional data pertaining to a student’s demographics due to security protocols used for databases containing sensitive student data. Even so, certain demographics are important to understanding and improving the effectiveness of the services offered by student services. In response, Engineerica created the student profile in AccuTrack/AccuSQL and integrated the profile into many reports and other features. Most programs and departments store just the data they need and even though some of the data is duplicated in their institutional database, much of what the programs and departments collect in this feature is specific to their goals. Programs and departments then build specific reports based on the student profile and also gather additional profile data using the profile update feature. The profile can be collected the first time a student logs into the system, at designated times throughout the semester, and through imports.
As AccuTrack/AccuSQL matured into a more comprehensive tracking system for institutions where programs and departments could be uniquely identified within the database, users began to find it difficult to share one student profile. So, Engineerica reprogrammed this feature to be lab specific for the new 2015 version expected to release October 2014. This enhancement will revive the original power of the student profile in regards to tracking specific types of students. So let’s review how to make the most of the student profile using several different types of programs as examples.

Programs Open to All Students

For the general tutoring center that is available to all students and provide assistance with different subjects, the student profile will be most helpful if it contains a blend of the common demographics with some specifics on student needs. Here are 5 profile examples for this type of program:
1. This is my first semester in college level courses.
2. Major
3. Preferred tutoring hours/days
4. Referred by:
The first 2 items can be populated through an import from institutional data while the remaining 2 can be obtained from the student through a profile update. The profile is able to hold a total of 10 items. It is suggested to leave some of the items empty so items can be added later in the semester as other needs arise.
Another example of a program open to all students would be a student life program. The student profile can capture the interests of students so that communication and offered activities can be marketed specifically to students. This is an easier method than grouping the students within the database according to interest because the interests and activities may change often. An example student profile for a student life program may contain the following items:
1. I am most interested in this type of club:
2. I am somewhat interested in this type of club:
3. I am not interested in this type of club:
4. I am interested in intermural sports.
5. I am interested in movies and plays performed on campus.

Programs for Specific Students

Now let’s consider a program that is not open to all students. These programs include grant funded programs like Student Support Services where participation is contingent on qualifications and recruitment for this type of program is burdensome. In this example, the student profile in AccuTrack/AccuSQL can be used as pre-application to the program. This is set-up by simply allowing new students to sign into AccuTrack while the student profile questions are set as “required”. For a typical Student Support Program at a 2 year college, the profile questions could include:
1. Do you plan to obtain an associate’s in arts degree and then transfer into a bachelor program?
2. Have you applied for the FAFSA?
3. Have the parents/guardians who raised you earned a bachelor degree?
4. Do you feel you could use academic support like tutoring and career counseling?
5. Is this is the first time you have attended any college?
6. Do you plan to attend college at least half time?
7. Do you receive or expect to receive services from our students with disabilities department?
8. Did you receive a GED or a regular high school diploma?
9. Have you served in the US military?
10. Have you previously or currently participated in UB or AVID?
An honors program might ask:
1. Dual enrollment
2. Are you interested in study abroad programs?
3. What is your intended major?
4. Are you currently part of a co-curricular program?
5. Is this your first year at any college?
6. How many hours are you currently enrolled?

The Possibilities are Endless

Now that the student profile is lab specific, programs and departments can implement creative ways to better serve their student population. This feature will be in the AccuTrack/AccuSQL 2015 version which is planned to release this October. Start collecting profile question ideas now!


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