January 2021 | Issue #99
 
Current Releases:  SM 8.0.095 (1/11) | AW  3.5.061 (11/04)
Escrow Best Practices - 1/21/2021 New Time - 10 AM CST
 ACEware Software Update - 4/7 2:00 CST

ACEware Systems Newsletter - Information to Run Your Program
ACEware Cares!
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Happy New Year!

At the start of his final week of Jeopardy episodes, Alex Trebek, of blessed memory, shared the following message: "This is the season of giving...I'd like you to open up your hands, and open up your heart to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19, people who are suffering through no fault of their own. We're trying to build a gentler, kinder society. If we all pitch in just a little bit, we're gonna get there."

At ACEware, we pride ourselves in being a company that cares deeply not only about our customers, but about our local and extended communities as well. Here are just a few ways that ACEware staff have opened our hearts and hands during the pandemic:

 

  • Donating blood and plasma
  • Making cloth face masks for community nonprofits and hospitals
  • 3-D printing face shields for the Navajo Nation and rural hospitals
  • "Adopting" hospital ICU units and coordinating care packages for medical staff
  • Running errands for individuals who are most at risk
  • Ensuring the health and safety of those around us by wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings
And while the pandemic is obviously at the forefront of everyone's minds, we recognize that it's certainly not the only time to share our talents and resources. We're also committed to year-round service opportunities, including:
  • Year-round blood and plasma donations
  • Financial and in-kind contributions to local nonprofits
  • Leading or participating in the collection and distribution of meals through our churches and synagogues
  • Hosting fundraisers for national organizations whose missions are close to our hearts
  • Visiting and giving comfort to the sick
We'd love to hear how you've helped your community over the past year--and if you haven't yet found an opportunity that fits with your talents, maybe one of the examples above will be your spark!

Here's to the start of a new year, and with it, a chance for each of us to help bring about Alex's hope for, "a kindler, gentler society."

Contributed by Lindsey Lieberman with a little help from her friends at ACEware
ACEware Retreat

Earlier this month, the ACEware staff had their yearly retreat. Normally this takes place at company headquarters, affectionately referred to as The Cabin. But with the COVID Pandemic still in play this year, we chose to have our retreat virtually. We use this retreat as a time to review the previous year, and to plan for the year to come. Prepping for the Users' Conference, reviewing Wishlist items for both Student Manager and ACEweb, and working out kinks in our processes are all yearly items on the agenda.

We also use our retreat time as an opportunity to do some teambuilding and have a little fun. In 2020 before COVID sent us all home, we went axe-throwing. This year, with everyone in in different locations, teambuilding was different. We started each morning with a 'Wake-up" activity and ended the day with a team building game. The end of the day game was Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. We had a lot of fun (and a little bit of panic) helping each other defuse virtual bombs. There were a few explosions, but most of the time, we got the bomb defused.

For our morning activities, we played 2 Truths and a Lie (about our colleagues), had a trivia contest, and did some Mad Libs. We discovered interesting facts about each other during 2 Truths and a Lie, for example, Chuck almost met Richard Nixon, and he met his secret service agent. We learned during trivia that Sibilance is a type of hissing sound, and during Mad Libs things got a little silly. One of the Mad Libs that we did is a course description. I am challenging all you super sleuths to find it in our Student Manager demo. Once you do, send the catalog code to me (susan@aceware.com) and we will do a drawing for an Amazon Gift Card.

Contributed by Susan Kraft
2021 Development - Your Feedback is Needed
As Susan shared above, your ACEware team worked and played hard during our 2021 retreat. A full day was dedicated to reviewing and discussing your wish list items. Some ideas were automatically moved to development since knew that most of you would benefit from the new feature. 

For other entries, additional feedback is needed from you. We need to see how many programs would benefit from the suggestion, so we are asking you to provide feedback in these five areas - Course Prerequisites, Workshops, Payment Plans, Fee Dates and Standard Operating Procedures.

Completing this survey will give us the information we need, and three to five minutes of your time is all it will take. Need more incentive? Respond to the survey and leave your name, and you will be entered in a drawing for an Amazon gift card. We value your feedback, and this is our way to say thank you for your time.

We ask for your comments by January 27 so we can discuss at our January staff meeting. Thank you everyone!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Focusing on Hybrid Courses
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We watched, worked alongside, and applauded you every step of the way in 2020. The face of continuing education has changed and may never return to what it once was, but that's not terrible news--it just means that there are new possibilities! We have talked with customers who are excited to open their doors wider by using online platforms. Hybrid courses (face-to-face and online simultaneously) are not new, but they have certainly grown exponentially these last 10 months.

We are planning a February focus group to gather a few customers to talk specifically about hybrid courses. The goal of this session is to discover ways ACEware can help you with managing your Hybrid courses. We will talk about course set up, course organization, student and instructor communications, lessons learned, and other things on your mind as related to the topic. We'll use the input from this group to further enhance our software.

Send me an email if you want to be a part of this conversation. Once the group is identified, a date and time will be coordinated. We look forward to visiting with you!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
2021 Annual Users' Conference  
Your favorite event of the year is on the way! Our annual Users' Conference is slated for June 7-11. 

Join us online to celebrate the new face of Continuing Education. It will be a week of sharing success stories from the trenches, talking with your colleagues in a "round table" format, discussing how to leverage ACEware tools in this new normal, and sharing tips and tricks.

Monday, June 7, is reserved for simultaneous preconference workshops - one on Supplemental Data Capture and another on Report Writing Basics. These workshops will be fee-based ($75 per workshop) and limited in size.

The main conference (Tuesday - Friday, June 8-11) is FREE to customers with a current support agreement!

The acelist will be used to announce when registration is open. Watch monthly newsletters and aceware.com for new information. See you in June!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Tech Tip of the Month: ACEweb Site Activity
Have you checked out your ACEweb Site Activity report lately?  This report gives you a summary of activity for today, yesterday, the last 7 days, and since your last log cleanup.  
 
You can quickly see how many hits to the server, how many sessions/unique IPs, how many successful registrations, and if there were failed payment attempts. And new with ACEweb version .061, you can see how many courses were added to the Cart, so you can compare how many were added vs how many were successful registrations.
 
To run the report, open your ACEweb Administration page (awadmin.aspx) and click the Site Activity link in the System Reports section.  
 
Sample report:

Contributed by Cheryl Scott
Report of the Month: Report Wizard version 7.6
Last month, version 7.6 of the Report Wizard was released. It has a number of improvements, like showing the run time for the previous run of a report (so you know if you need to get a Snickers bar while you wait). One feature I thought would be handy for some of you is the utilization of additional data sources.

The additional data can be an Excel document or SQL Server database. While I don't foresee people needing to connect to a SQL Server database, I have seen some of you need information from an Excel document. Things like CIP codes or really any code where you don't have the description in Student Manager, but you'd like to show the description on a report. For this to work, you'd have the code in a field in Student Manager (like a UDF), then you'd add this new data source. When you go to create your report, the Report Wizard will ask how to link it properly (so select the column in the document and the proper column in Student Manager). The linking popup is another new feature. It is there to tell the Report Wizard what a relationship is between two tables if they aren't defined (prior, I had to define all links before you could do anything with the Wizard, but I'll keep maintaining that as new tables are added to the system).

To add or remove these data sources, go to Tools -> Maintain Other Data Sources. You'll get a dialog like:

More information is available here. Make sure you go to Help -> Check for Updates to get the latest version. Happy reporting!

Contributed by Matthew Olson
Schedule Announcement
Monday, January 18 - MLK Day - ACEware Closed

To your continued success,

- Chuck, Sharon, Cheryl, Jason, Joe, Lindsey, Matthew, Mike, Stein, and Susan

 ACEware Systems
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We appreciate hearing from you! If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about this newsletter, please contact sharon@aceware.com 

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