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March 2017 | Issue #53
Current Releases: SM 8.0.049 (3/6) | AW 3.5.040 (3/6)
Webinar: ACEware Software Update   (3/8 1:30 CDT)
ACEware Systems Newsletter - Information to Run Your Program
QuickPick Module Adds Significant Features
In the December newsletter, I introduced ACEware's new Quick Pick Registration Module, a one-stop form that allows a user to update their membership status and register for multiple courses or events all from a single page.

Since then we've had a chance to see how QuickPick performed in a production environment at one of our customer sites. The Osher LifeLong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of South Carolina Beaufort began using QP for their 2017 Spring classes when registration opened on Jan 10. Jim Nicholson of USCB reports that, "the general consensus here, amongst our members, is that quickpick itself was a major, major improvement over the method we used to have."

In order to handle USCB's membership options, we needed to extend QuickPick's fee handling feature. You need a basic OLLI membership which lets you register for any of the courses at the, "Pay Per Class," price. As you can see from the screen shot below, courses can now display more than one fee, but the options are pre-selected:

Users may, however, also purchase the $95 Unlimited Classes option, which gets them into most courses at no cost. If they check that box, the price selections are automatically updated to the new free price!

For the next release of QuickPick, due out later this month, we've added a couple of new features in addition to the multiple fee option. One of these is the ability to list a course in more than one section. So, for example, "The Physics of Music" could be listed under both Science and Music. Or you could have a New Courses section that would highlight first-time classes - but still group those courses in their natural categories.

Another enhancement allows a user to register another person via QP once they've made their own selections (mimicking the proxy registration feature in traditional ACEweb). If, say, both spouses want to register for the same set of courses, one partner can make his/her selections, then quickly enter the second person's email and check their boxes. They can then submit the combined selections and pay for everything in a single transaction.

I have also made some improvements to the underlying code - changes that may not even be noticeable to the end user but should make life easier for customer staff by simplifying page setup and maintenance. The code is also more efficient so the page should load faster, which may be significant for customers who have lots of courses and/or sites that experience periods of heavy traffic.

We now have a QuickPick demo running on the Aceware University site. If you want additional information about the product, you can view the QP webinar or contact

Contributed by  Stein Goering
New Testing Initiative
One of the things we decided to do at the retreat was to fully test virtually every routine in Student Manager, with as many possible combinations of user preferences as possible.  And four weeks ago, we began the process.

There were several stages in this testing. The first was to have Mike do his best to break the program while not taking any calls for a day. Then the second stage was to have the other technicians also join Mike in not taking phone calls for a few days to focus on testing the program. These two stages were repeated for a couple of weeks in a row.

Then came the final stage which was to have a few schools be beta test sites for us. Because the technicians don't use Student Manager with real-world data, we wanted to be sure that the things we were fixing were working right everywhere. Technicians were still testing, but only in their spare time.

I would like to thank the schools that did the beta testing for us. They, in addition to ACEware staff, uncovered over 80 bugs in the last month. A big round of applause goes out to everyone involved!

Our hope is that we now have the most stable release of Student Manager. This will make testing go a lot smoother in the future as we add features. While we can never totally eliminate errors, we hope that this initiative goes a long way in reducing the occurrence in future builds.

Contributed by Matthew Olson
Building, Nurturing, and Retaining Corporate Relationships
Mary Corley, Program Manager at Tri-County Technical College
In today's fast-paced, knowledge-filled world there's a gap between skills needed and skills available in their workforce--and those skills are needed immediately!

Continuing Education (CE) programs have the solution:  Entry-level, career-starter training and professional development programs that add to existing skills. In addition, CE programs have the flexibility to respond quickly to employer needs. The time has never been better for CE to step up to the plate to provide the training necessary to fill identified gaps.

CE programs should actively engage with corporations, establish strong partnerships, and get contracts in place. Tri-County Technical College knows this business well. At the  21st Annual Users' Conference, Mary Corley will share her program's corporate relations plan - how they partner with industry, determine programs needed, and continually nurture those relationships. She'll also share their strategic plans to use Student Manager in greater capacity to manage their contracts. It's a work in process, and they are working hard!

In a follow-up breakout session, Mary will share how they use Student Manager to manage their certificate programs through tracking and reporting required data for various certifying bodies and grant funding sources. She will also share how they have utilized Student Manager to help make some of their processes more efficient.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Micro-Credentials In Action
Martin Malpica, IT Director at University of Central Florida Continuing Education
There's a trending topic in Higher Education that goes by many names:  Badges, certifications, alternative credentials, E-Credentials, micro-credentials, and more. The purpose of this effort is to meet industry needs - bridge skills gaps and recognize competencies in a rapidly changing knowledge arena. 

During the 21st Annual Users' Conference, we'll hear from Martin Malpica, from the University of Central Florida, who has been successful with implementing badges in UCF's Continuing Education program. Martin will share his story with us:  The motivation to implement badges, the successes, challenges, strategies for getting industry buy-in, and lessons learned along the way.

In a follow-up breakout session, he'll demonstrate his use of the Credentials Module within Student Manager to store data for potential prospects that may apply to a CE degree program. Data such as CRM information, high school of record, GPA, GRE, SAT scores, etc., prior to applying to the university. He'll share reports used to support students through the university systems.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Tip of the Month: Generate Federal Holidays
Are you closed for the major federal holidays (New Year's Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Washington's Birthday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving; and Christmas)? You can have Student Manager enter these all for you for a given year by going to Module -> Holidays -> Generate Federal Holidays. Once you select this, you are asked what year you are generating holidays for, and then the system does the rest. Even if you aren't closed for all of these holidays, you can delete the extra ones from Module -> Holidays -> Find Holiday. With this tool, you don't have to add these one by one!

Oh, and as an added bonus, the system even puts the holiday for Thanksgiving for the day of and the day after. That way you don't forget about Black Friday as well. (You did know that holidays can be set for a date range now, right?)

Contributed by Matthew Olson
Report of the Month: Zip Radius
You can select names in a report (for an email blast or for a brochure drop) based on proximity to a location.  While this feature is not a specific report, it is a tool that's most handy when you would like to do geographical marketing.

The zipradius function is easily added to any report with a Justdoit. The value to put into the expression box is:   JUSTDOIT('= ZIPRADIUS()').    

When you run the report, you'll get a dialog box:

NOTE:  as referenced in the help guide, you can pass a parameter to the function to default to a specific zip code (ie: the zip where your classroom(s) are located) AND a default radius size (ie: 25). An example of that would be: JUSTDOIT('= ZIPRADIUS("66502",25)')

If you haven't tried using the zipradius function, go check it out. It should be a handy tool to help your  focus your marketing, when proximity to a location is an issue.

Happy Geospatial selecting.

Submitted by Chuck Havlicek

Here's to your continued success!

Your ACEware team,

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

 Aceware Systems
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