Blog

Higher Education Innovation In Action

  • Creating an Elevated User Experience

    by | Jul 22, 2019

      
    We are thrilled to announce that over the past couple of months, Credentials has enhanced both its institution and student-facing User Interfaces (UIs). User experience is important to us, as it has a very powerful effect on end-user efficiency. That is why the changes we made were designed with your experience – and that of your students and alumni – in mind.  

    Registrar Support Services 

    Registrar Support Services (RSS) is our application that institutions use to view and manage the transcript ordering and fulfillment process. Through RSS, registrar staff can search and find any order by order number student name, Social Security number or student ID. From there, staff can manage attachments, view problem orders, pull a complete audit trail, and complete many other tasks associated with the transcript process.  

    RSS also houses our reporting dashboards, which provide institutions with a comprehensive visual data reporting tool that includes charts on revenue, orders completed, delivery trends, reasons for ordering, authorization form method, and call reports.  

    The new User Interface, which went live to all our client institutions in April, features a clear and consistent layout, intuitive behaviors and responses, and an elegant design – all centered around increased productivity. We are proud to say that we have heard very positive feedback from our client institutions and have continued to make enhancements based on user’s suggestions. Credentials is committed to providing the best possible experience within our services and we hope this new User Interface has displayed our commitment to customer focus.   

    Self-ServicePlus 

    Self-ServicePlus™, our application that provides students and alumni the ability to check the status of their order and complete necessary order processing steps, also went live with a new User Interface in April. By inputting their order number and additional order-related information, requesters can upload a scanned authorization form, review attached documents, or update an invalid email address.  

    The Self-ServicePlus new UI features a sleek new design, clear-cut information and instructions, and an optimized mobile experience. Information relevant to the order is presented in a concise manner with simplified navigation and tooltips, which proactively address our most frequently asked questions. This has improved the requestor’s experience and made our applications as easy-to-use as possible. 

    We have heard very positive feedback regarding the enhancements we’ve made, and we are thrilled to make our processes more valuable and efficient. Collaboration is a very important to us, as it helps keep up with changing trends and technology. Please reach out to us with feedback that would improve your business processes and we will take those suggestions into consideration as we build our update and enhancement list.  

  • Reporting Dashboards: Now See the Where, Why, and When of your Institution's Transcript Orders

    by | Jul 17, 2019

     
    In today’s world, data is key. No longer is it an added benefit, it is a necessity in running a business, organization, or office. Data helps with understanding trends, patterns, and existing oddities and in turn, assists with business decisions. 

    At Credentials, we use reports to track and analyze numbers, ratios and trends that are collectively indicative of the progress and direction of the company. For example, the year-over-year volume trends are predictive and help us ensure that our Customer Service Department is properly staffed during peak volume periods.  Hiring, training and even vacation policies are all managed in order to ensure we have optimal resources on hand when volumes rise. 

    We are also aware that it is important for institutions to see the numbers behind the transcript process. Our automation services take the transcript related work out of your offices, but out of sight is not out of mind. That is why we created reporting dashboards for our client institutions. Our intelligent visual data reporting tool tracks relevant information and displays it in charts that are simple to view and understand.  

    Six different data visualization categories exist within Registrar Support Services (RSS) and can be viewed at any time. The categories include reports on: Revenue, Orders Completed, Delivery Trends, Reasons for Ordering, Authorization Form Method, and Call Reports.

    The reporting feature offers different filtering options for data by monthly and yearly ranges and users are also able to download reports as an image, CSV, or Excel file for easy viewing and sharing.  

  • Credentials Solutions Moves to a New Office

    by | Jul 02, 2019

      

    Credentials is proud to announce we have moved into a new headquarters! All our Chicagoland team members are now under one roof, after merging our two Northfield offices into a single, state-of-the-art facility in Deerfield, IL. This new office enables us to recognize ongoing enhancements through collaboration as well as world-class technology and tools. We now house expanded printing capabilities across multiple shifts, guaranteeing the continued level of service our customers have always depended on. 

     

    In conjunction with this move, we have recently launched fully reimagined interfaces for Registrars, Students and Alumni. Feedback we have received from our client institutions speaks volumes as to how meaningful these changes have been and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  

    Soon we will be finalizing a complete redesign of our entire infrastructure and platform. This will enhance our best-in-class dependability, superior performance, security and service. It will also enable us to more rapidly build and deliver new capabilities and services that continue to empower our users. Our mission is to meet the changing needs of the Registrar’s office, other related areas in the academic market, and the evolving expectations of past and present students. 

    The move to this new environment enhances our internal processes and is another step forward in showing that there is so much more in store for all our clients, end users, and employees going forward. 

  • The Future of the Academic Transcript – Do Certificates Cheapen the Brand?

    by J. James Wager, Education Strategist and Industry Guru | | Jun 25, 2019

      
    The traditional standard bearer demonstrating academic success has been the good old “sheep skin”; the diploma representing completion of a degree program.  New opportunities and demands in today’s results-driven environment are introducing other measures of success.

    A few years ago, I had the privilege of leading an external evaluation for a moderate size state college that was located near several national universities.  The college’s Provost shared with me his competitive advantage vision that was both dramatic and insightful.  He recognized the college could not directly compete with these national universities because of their size, reputation, resources, and facilities.  But his school could do something that these national universities could not accomplish.  As part of the curricular process, each graduate of the college completed BOTH a baccalaureate degree and a professional certificate related to their major.  This dual approach of degree and certificate provided their graduates with a strong competitive advantage.  Clever!

    The Lumina Foundation states, “Too many Americans are failing to graduate college. Why?  In part, because our assumptions about them are wrong.  Most of us envision college students as 18- to 21-year-olds fresh out of high school. That's no longer the reality.”  According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the enrollment rate of students over the age of 25 is growing faster than for students under the age of 25.  Over 30 schools included in the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings had enrollments greater than 50% of students over the age of 25, with many exceeding 75%.  Clearly the age demographic in the U.S, higher education sector is changing, as are the graduation expectations of the students.

    Certificate programs from colleges and universities are not new, in fact, some programs were introduced over a century ago though correspondence study.  In today’s environment, and especially with adult students, the growth and impact of certificate programs have been significant.  As contrasted to traditional baccalaureate degree programs, certificate programs require less time and credits to complete, focus on a specific topic eliminating “general education” type courses, are designed to master or refresh a skill, are available at both undergraduate and graduate levels, are offered both on-ground and on-line, and earned credits can be transferred to a degree program. 

    This flexibility and application has created high demand for quality certificate programs at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate levels.  Hundreds of schools, including big names such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, George Washington, and Stanford, have intentionally focused on the creation and delivery of new certificate programs.  Areas of study are very diverse and include curriculums such as cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, computer forensics, health information management, and many more. 

    At the associate degree level, certificates are providing work force opportunities in areas such as property management, paralegal, real estate, digital photography, human services, bookkeeping/payroll, and hundreds of applied life skills that enhance current employment or prepare the student for a career change.

    At all levels, it is common for professionals to extend their professional licensing or certification through the completion of certificate programs.  In fact, the awarding of certificates has become the fastest growing academic credential.  

    Despite the growing need of the workforce and the availability of certificate programs by the academy, some view certificates as underrepresenting student success:

    • There remains a stigma that the awarding of a certificate is at best a step-child to the awarding of a degree.
    • The proliferation of certificates issued by diploma mills and non-accredited schools adds to the negative perceptions of certificates in general.
    • In too many cases, certificates are issued by a department office and cannot be verified by the school’s registrar.
    • Transcripts typically do not adequately describe the certificate program.
    • Printed certificates may more resemble a document prepared on the student’s desktop and local printer and not a school issued document.

    A recent study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce made several interesting conclusions regarding certificate programs, including:

    • Certificates represent 22 percent of all college awards, up from only 6 percent three decades ago.
    • For 10 percent of American workers, a certificate is the highest form of post-high school education.
    • Collegiate certificates are time-in-classroom based, while industry based certifications are awarded based on proficiency.
    • More than a third of certificate holders also have an earned (associate, baccalaureate, or graduate) degree.
    • Certificate/diploma holders earn more than their counterparts with only a diploma.

    So, are certificate programs lessening the brand?  There is growing evidence that indicates just the opposite.  But there is also a growing demand on schools and registrars to adequately and completely present the important value of certificate programs with the same rigor and authentication techniques that are applied to the academic transcript.

  • A Day in the Life of a Transcript Order - Infographic

    by Rose Addison, Manager - Documentation & Training | Jun 11, 2018
     
    A Day in the Life of a Transcript Order