Time Saved with Streamlining of ‘Students with Disabilities’ Process

Aims Community College

Students

Faculty

Degree/Certificate Programs

Campuses

The Challenge

Aims Community College (Aims) was spending hundreds of hours every year on very labor intensive processes used to identify, track and assist students with disabilities on campus. These disabilities vary and include learning disabilities, mental illness and heath related issues such as low vision and mobility impairment. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, Aims would have to first identify the students requiring assistance. In all cases, the students must identify themselves as having a disability, with notification occurring during registration or as late as at the end of the first week of classes.

Counselors at Aims would meet with the students to determine their disability needs, writing detailed notes about each student and then copy all of their notes into an Excel spreadsheet. Counselors would then input the student’s information, appointment times, time spent at the counseling center, type of disability, class schedule information, etc. In addition, the information was then manually placed into a shadow database so reports could be run off of the data.

After the appropriate information was captured, the counselors would manually generate a letter to each of the student’s instructors for each class they were taking with their specific needs and accommodations. The amount of time a counselor spent on each student was about 4-5 hours each; including collecting information, putting information into an Excel Spreadsheet, updating the shadow database and generating each letter. Once the challenge was identified, counselors and the IT department worked together to come up with a wish list of what a better solution would look like.

“The amount of time a counselor spent on each student was about 4-5 hours each; including collecting information, putting information into an Excel Spreadsheet, updating the shadow database and generating each letter.”

The Solution

Aims spent some time searching for an off-the-shelf product with no luck. However, after some conversations with Evisions about the capabilities of Argos it was determined that a better interface for both inputting and reporting the disability information could be designed and implemented using Argos. Because of Argos’s unlimited enterprise license, Aims could work with Evisions to develop this capability without additional software costs. Also attractive to Aims was the ability of Argos to do both reporting and data entry.

Aims contacted Evisions Professional Services to help design the interface utilizing Argos for students with disabilities. With the project specifications in hand, the Evisions team spent 8 days building the interface and setting up an automated letter generation component. The interface allows counselors to input the student disability information and accommodations into the application during their meetings with students. This meant no more note writing or transferring information into an Excel spreadsheet, thus saving the counselor’s time.

Argos, which is tied directly to Aims’ Banner database, automatically pulls the student’s information and their class schedule. Counselors no longer need to look up that information on their own through multiple Banner screens or forms. Once the student’s disability and accommodation information is entered, Argos automatically updates the Banner database. This means Aims is able to run reports without having to use a shadow database, which saves time and uses fewer IT resources.

In addition, with one button, Argos automatically generates the letters for each of the student’s instructors. These letters are run every night as a batch run or the counselors can print the letters immediately while the student is still in the office. The Banner database is even updated to indicate that the letter was generated so Aims can track when the letter was printed.

In addition to disability accommodation letters, Aims is using Argos for generating most of their letters such as: acceptance letters, pin letters, president’s letters, certifications, notifications, financial aid reviews, scheduling, and more! Due to the implementation of Argos, Aims now offers a better level of service to their disabled students. Utilizing Argos’s ability to report and input data, Aims has been able to automate and simplify the entire process improving service and satisfaction with staff, students, counselors and faculty.

“…Aims is able to run reports without having to use a shadow database, which saves time and uses fewer IT resources.”

Kudos From the Client

“Before Argos, our counselors would spend a great deal of time writing notes, entering in the notes into a spreadsheet file and generating letters to our instructors related to our students with disabilities.”

Rob Easton

Programmer / Analyst, Aims Community College

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