Junior College Trades Manual Updates for Dynamic FACT Book
New Mexico Junior College
The Institutional Effectiveness department at New Mexico Junior College was looking to improve how statistics were presented to the public. In addition, the college’s board was asking for a general dashboard of facts they could use when answering questions or meeting with their constituents.
In the past, public information had been produced using different reporting software – and it wasn’t dynamic. Rather, it was in the form of several tables and graphs captured in a point in time. Those tables and graphs had to be exported to a PDF document and then published to the web site. To make this happen, a programmer/analyst initially needed to sit down with someone to gather the necessary information. Once the report was built, it would have to be run after each completed semester. In addition, the report could not be published as a PDF document until the tedious effort of manually adjusting the graph’s colors and its alignment to the text was accomplished.
Since the data changed each semester, there was always something to double-check. For example, if a new nation was introduced in the ‘Enrollment by Nation’ pie chart, it would be necessary to locate and properly color code the new pie slice (instead of using the default gray color). These modifications would involve moving data labels to make them fit properly on the dashboard. The dashboard that contained all the data and graphs could, at long last, be exported to a PDF document. Consequently, generating this report took two hours of monotonous effort every fall and spring semester.
NMJC began their journey with Evisions when they implemented Ellucian Banner® in 2004, as this was when they started using Evisions’ FormFusion and IntelleCheck products. They were pleased not only with the products themselves, but also with the excellent customer support they experienced. Any problem that required opening a support case was always addressed with professionalism and in a timely manner. When their previous reporting software was reaching its end of life, their attention turned to Argos. NMJC staff had attended the Ellucian Live conference over the years and sat in on multiple Argos demonstrations. They also checked with references to gain additional insight into Argos.
Having done their due diligence of reviewing various reporting products and vendors, NMJC moved forward with implementing Argos in 2013. The overall choice came down to price and capabilities. Argos became the primary reporting tool for the entire campus.
To address the challenges previously described, the Institutional Effectiveness department determined the Interactive Charting and Application Programming Interface (API) features of Argos would be of greatest use. The database administrator/programmer analyst attended some Evisions conferences prior to implementation and learned about these features, the Web Viewer, and more. He became involved in the process as soon as implementation of Argos and report conversion began. He was happy that the API and Web Viewer capabilities in Argos would allow him to avert the wearisome and boring adjustments of labels, fit, colors and alignment that he had endured before the conversion.
With information gained from those sessions, along with Argos documentation, it was easy to set up their newly created FACT Book. The FACT Book primarily serves the public – which was one of the college’s primary needs. A key benefit for both the public and NMJC is that data that was previously static is now dynamic. Users can view information that is always live and up to date. In addition, the FACT Book can be run at any given time for any semester, past or current.
Internally, several of the college’s departments are also seeing value in the NMJC FACT Book. For example, Admissions uses it to report on dual credit/early college counts, and the NMCJ Foundation references it when they want to review scholarship recipient totals and headcounts.