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January 2018 | Issue #63
 
Current Releases: SM 8.0.059 (1/8) | AW 3.5.047 (12/06)
 
ACEware Software Update  -  2/7 1:30 CDT
ACEware Systems Newsletter - Information to Run Your Program
ACEware's 30th Year
The ACEware team gathered in Kansas the first week of January  to celebrate 2017 accomplishments and plan development, service, and training opportunities for 2018.  We will celebrate 30 years of supporting continuing education, and during this anniversary year you will see some exciting new things in the works!

Development:
Several  hours were spent reviewing and discussing the customer wishlist. A significant number of new features and enhancements were selected for development, so expect to see a big new release of Student Manager at our users' conference this June.  As Stein shares in this issue, we are increasing student self-service options in ACEweb. We are also discussing ways to enhance staff web access.  Our developers are completing research in several development areas, including  single sign-on (SSO).

Training: 
We are planning two public training opportunities this year. Watch our event page for more information on these events. If you are interested in hosting a public training event, drop me a note and perhaps we can work together!

Services: 
Remember the executive overview service we offer new administrators. If you have a new dean or director in your organization, notify your tech. We want to follow-up with her/him to provide an introduction to Student Manager/ACEweb and the tools that support the work you do together.

In development is a new service option for database review and clean up. Keep an eye out for this new support service.

We're excited about the opportunities 2018 will bring for us to work with you.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Reporting in ACEweb
analytics_computer.jpg
Most of our customers would agree that Student Manager's reporting capability is one of its most valuable features. The ability to retrieve and organize information about all aspects of your programs can be critical to making informed management decisions. Along with staples like balance sheets and class rosters, the report engine is also behind some less obvious outputs such as certificates, catalog copy, nametags and contracts.

On the ACEweb side things have been much more limited. Students can print their registration confirmations and instructors can generate rosters, but beyond that users are reduced to grabbing screenshots or cutting and pasting stuff into Word docs.

We are happy to report that this situation is about to improve. Our developers have been working on ways to move some of Manager's reporting features to the online module. To get around the restrictions of working through a web browser (which preclude sending output directly to the printer), they've configured the system to generate reports in PDF format. Those files can then be download to your personal devices to be handled in whatever way you want.

While reports are not crucial to most web operations, having that capability will enable us to offer features that would have otherwise been very difficult to implement. Initially, we are focusing on a couple of operations that have been fairly high on the request list:  allowing online users to print certificates they've earned as well as transcripts of completed courses. We're also looking at giving instructors more options when generating rosters and attendance sheets, so they can get customized formats without having to export to Excel first. We're hoping that some of these features will make it into ACEweb versions 3.5/4.0.049, due for release next month.

Further down the road, we're considering ways to integrate online reporting with our new Staff Web Access feature. Potentially, Manager staffers would be able to run many of their favorite reports from any remote location via their browser. Stay tuned for further developments on this front.

Contributed by Stein Goering
Notice of Broken Mapping Feature (Status: Replaced)
Last month, I reported on the mapping feature being broken in Student Manager. I am happy to report that with 8.0.059, the feature has been replaced with a newer/even better feature. You will have to go through Bing to acquire a site key and put that in your preferences to begin using it. Best of all, you can print the generated map!

Contributed by Matthew Olson
What's Your Database Resolution for 2018?
Are you part of the 1/3 of Americans who resolved to make healthier life choices this year? I am. To be successful with this resolution, I made a plan with specific goals and action items for the year. Having friends who have made the same decision provides the encouragement and support I'll need along the way.
 
I encourage you to make a resolution to make healthy database maintenance choices in 2018--choices that will protect your data and keep your system healthy. ACEware will help by providing direction and support along the way. We have plenty of resources and tools to make sure your resolution is successful!

For this month you have three action items:
 
1. Verify your data backup plan or create one if you don't have one! Determine who is responsible for backups, the frequency of the backups, and where they will be stored (it must be on a different server than your Student Manager folder!). There's an internal back up tool within Student Manager (Note: with SQL Server, this only backs up the support files as your DBA should be backing up the main data tables.). If you prefer a more automated method, Clever Fox (subscription based) is available to run backup routines on a schedule you set up.

2. Download and review the Student Manager Maintenance Schedule. Contact your tech if you need a username and password.

3. Deactivate/Lock Old Courses. Read the tip of the month article below and follow the instructions. 
 
Here's to a healthier database this year! 

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Tip of the Month: 
Deactivate/Lock Old Courses
Happy New Year! Now that we've reached 2018 (where did the time go?), chances are good that you're about to kick off a whole new round of spring courses. But before you open them for registration, I have one question:  Have you deactivated and locked your fall courses yet? 
 
Deactivating and locking old courses at the end of each term ensures that you're only working with your most recent courses when using the Lookup Active Course button, and it prevents you from enrolling students in past courses. So if you haven't run this maintenance routine yet, be sure to do so! It's simple-in Student Manager, select Module >> Courses >> Mass Change/Update/Delete/Archive. I suggest changing courses to Inactive, Locked, and just for good measure, change the publish status to Do Not Publish. More information is available on our help guide, which you can access by clicking here.

Contributed by Lindsey Lieberman
Report of the Month: Registrations by Year
"How many registrations have I had for the last 5 years?" asked a customer of mine last week. Course Data Summary to the rescue.

Go to Reports -> Statistics -> Course -> Course Data Summary. In the Demographic Statistics Based On dropdown, choose Year and do the Default Report (unless you have a special Additional Report you would rather use), and click OK. You'll want to choose a query that pulls multiple years, i.e. Course Number within a list or Course begins between 2 dates. Then grab a Snickers bar as you wait since lots of data will have lots of calculations for this report. You'll get a nice report to show your bosses what numbers are actually coming in.

Alternatively, the same report can be generated from the Report Wizard using the Cross-tab feature. Plus you have the added benefit of being able to export to an Excel Pivot Table.

Hopefully this helps you report your enrollment numbers. If you have any questions, ask your technician.

Contributed by Matthew Olson

To your continued success!

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

 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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