OATN News & Notes: February 2012


LEAPS and Bounds for the OATN

Dear colleagues:

The calendar gives us an extra day every four years to do more good work. In this leap year, both technology and collaboration with our educational colleagues are high priorities as they allow us to work more effectively and efficiently for the benefit of Ohio’s transfer students.

Technology allows us to implement our transfer policy with far greater efficiently. For example, we rely heavily on the following technologies:

  • The Course Equivalency Management System (CEMS) has taken us from slow, laborious paper-and-pencil faculty reviews to a completely online process that makes contributing for faculty around the state faster and easier.
  • The Transfer Guarantee Reporting System allows students immediate access to information about how their credits can transfer throughout the University System of Ohio.
  • The Articulation and Transfer Clearinghouse (ATC) allows institutions to send and receive transcripts electronically, speeding up the exchange and saving the institutions money by removing costly printing and postage costs.

As with most technology, we are constantly working to improve ours. We are so grateful to those who help us implement and improve our technology and are pleased to share more information below about the shared services partners with whom we collaborate to improve higher education in Ohio through technology.

In last month’s issue, we were excited to give you a preview of the coming enhancements to the Transfer Guarantee Reporting System. In this issue, we are pleased to share the results from a statewide survey on the use and future direction of the ATC. We also look forward to sharing coming enhancements to the CEMS in a future issue.

Finally, we have enjoyed learning and sharing more about collaborative transfer programs and practices around Ohio as we aim to feature one such program each issue. Many of you are aware of the OATN’s active collaborations to align courses at our 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education with programs offered via Ohio’s secondary career-technical educational sector and in our adult workforce centers. This month, we are pleased to feature Ohio’s College-NOW program; a concurrent enrollment program which allows high school students the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and associate’s degree.

I hope you enjoy your extra day this year and you continually seek innovative ways to use technology and collaborate with your colleagues for the benefit of Ohio’s students.

All the best,

Paula K. Compton, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Articulation and Transfer


(just click one of the article titles below to jump right to full piece)

Shared Services Partners: Our Allies in Technology

The Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR) supports a group of shared services partners who aggregate educational technologies and coordinate other collaborative academic efforts across the University System of Ohio (USO). Last fall, OBOR reorganized the shared services partners to include: eTech Ohio, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN), and the newly-formed Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) which includes a consolidation of OhioLINK’s IT staff (although staff other than IT remains with the free-standing organization) with the Ohio Academic and Resources Network (OARnet) and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), along with an eStudent Services division.

By consolidating IT personnel from several organizations into OH-TECH, the Chancellor has leveraged the technical strengths of each organization, saved considerable resources by diminishing inefficiencies, and situated the consortia to more directly focus on the core mission of advancing higher education through technology under the common leadership of John Conley, Chief of P-20 Educational Technology.

OH-TECH’s eStudent Services division focuses on developing innovative technology-mitigated services to increase student access to higher education in Ohio. The OSC provides supercomputing, cyberinfrastructure, research, and educational resources to a variety of constituents to advance Ohio’s knowledge economy. OARnet implements technology-based solutions that improve efficiencies and customer service across a variety of industries in Ohio. OARnet has been in the limelight lately because of the Governor’s announcement during his State of the State address that they will support a ten-fold boost to Ohio’s Broadband Network, leveraging network speeds of 100 gigabits per second to advance research and job growth across Ohio’s medical research, higher education, manufacturing, engineering, and technology networking corridors.

OARnet also heavily supports the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) as we work to realize our own technology goals, especially related to the Articulation and Transfer Clearinghouse (ATC) and the Course Equivalency Management System (CEMS). We are particularly grateful to the following OARnet staff with whom we collaborate frequently: Ken Estep, Desktop/Video Support Tech; Tony Kutlu, Manager of the Project Management Office; Doug Line, Desktop/Video Support Lead; and Chris Morway, General Database Administrator; Jodi Santini, Project Coordinator; Jeff Smith, Oracle Database Lead; and Marsha Watkins, Director of Administrative Services.

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Survey Says: The USO Supports Future Growth for the ATC

The Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) recently engaged University System of Ohio (USO) institutions in a survey related to their current use of and future direction for the Articulation and Transfer Clearinghouse (ATC). The survey, which closed in January 2012, specifically sought to determine institutional processes or barriers to exporting XML transcript data into their respective Student Information Systems (SIS) and overall progress toward an eventual paperless transcript exchange. We were so pleased to have 35 (out of 36) institutions respond to the survey and are encouraged by the largely positive results and willingness of institutions to continue working to achieve the overall vision of the ATC to automate transfer student processing. Although we will share the full analysis of the survey with each institution, we thought you might enjoy seeing some highlights below:

  • SIS platforms
    •  USO institutions are currently using Banner (40%), Datatel/Colleague (23%), PeopleSoft (17%), a version of Jenzabar (11%), or a homegrown (9%) student information system.
  • Automated SIS data import
    • 17% of institutions are automatically importing transcript data from the ATC into their SIS using varying processes with support from their internal IT teams.
    • Institutions not currently automatically importing transcript data seem to lack such functionality in their SIS or ample resources to automate the process.
  • Paperless transcript exchange
    • For a variety of reasons, 57% of institutions are still sending paper in addition to sending transcripts electronically and 31% are not yet ready to stop receiving paper copies.
    • 69% of responding institutions are willing to be listed publicly as not needing paper copies when they also receive electronic transcripts.
  • HTML Summary
    • 57% of institutions are not using the HTML summary, usually due to a lack of necessary data on the reports. Suggestions are to include: Ohio Transfer Module completion, sender-only cumulative GPA, sender-only cumulative earned hours, and students’ academic standing information.
    • The 43% of institutions who do use the HTML summary find it helpful for verifying certain details, troubleshooting, and a cleaner look when requiring printed copies.

Overall, Institutions indicate a strong understanding of the benefits of a fully paperless transcript exchange process, while noting that there are still hurdles to overcome, including ensuring consistency of electronically transmitted data, competing institutional priorities, and significant resources needed to achieve this goal. We also recognize that, in certain cases, the import process cannot be 100% automated but know that even a semi-automated process would save time and reduce human errors.

Information gathered through this survey has contributed to strategizing and future goals for the ATC. We look forward to continuing to work with our USO partners to ensure most effective utility from the ATC and eventually realizing a system-wide paperless transcript exchange.

For questions about this survey, please contact Revathi Kumaraswamy (rkumaraswamy@regents.state.oh.us).

You can read more about the ATC or contact Terea Shambry-Wollins (tshambry@regents.state.oh.us) with questions.

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Transfer Around the State: College-NOW Engineering Academy

College NowOhio’s College-NOW Engineering Academy is a shining example of how collaborating across sectors can achieve exceptional results for students and a locale. College - NOW is a concurrent enrollment program developed through the collaboration of North Central State College, Ohio College Tech Prep, and Pioneer Career and Technology Center in which students complete their junior and senior year high school coursework and 110 collegiate quarter hours at North Central State College. Graduates obtain their high school diploma and most (90% of the program’s 76 graduates to-date) simultaneously earn their associate’s degrees.

Currently in its 8th year, the program employs a unique problem-based learning philosophy to their electro-mechanical engineering technology curriculum. This gives students practical experience solving real-life problems submitted by local businesses, and the opportunity, in recent years, to submit their own simulated problems. Intriguing projects have included the development of a 3-D printer, made from a repurposed ink jet machine and the conversion of a regular AA battery situated in a 35mm film canister into a universal portable electronic device charger.

Students have the opportunity to interact with local businesses throughout the 2-year program. They submit their completed projects to the businesses for consideration in solving the industrial problems used to facilitate their problem-based learning as well as during an optional internship component of their curriculum. In some cases, graduates have been able to secure full-time employment with the companies where they interned after earning their associate’s degree and, in turn, the companies have funded the completion of the students’ bachelor’s degrees.

A number of College-NOW graduates take advantage of a formal articulation agreement with Miami University which provides a seamless bachelor completion program in Engineering Technology offered through interactive media in the evenings on North Central State’s campus. Graduates have also transferred successfully to a number of other University System of Ohio institutions in addition to a number of other prestigious institutions in Ohio and surrounding states.

Program Director Darcy Carns is glad to see College-NOW becoming more widely recognized in the area and is excited that she has seen more applications than ever before for the 2012-2013 school year.  Most of all, she is warmed by the program’s deepening history and success of their alumni, “Although the program is still relatively new, we have enough history behind us to really begin to see how our graduates are succeeding at the next level. Whether its transfer in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree or immediate employment, our graduates are doing very well. This spring, all 18 of our seniors are on track to receive their associate’s degree. One of those students will be the third sibling in her family to graduate with a degree through College-NOW!”

For more information, contact Darcy Carns, Program Director, at dcarns@ncstatecollege.edu.

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Thanks for reading! Please be in touch with any questions or suggestions. - Katie Giardello (kgiardello@regents.state.oh.us)

Other News & Notes from Chancellor Petro’s Office

Kasich Highlights the Future of OARnet–Ohio’s Academic Research Network
Tenfold Increase in Speeds Will Boost Medical Research, Education and Patient Care

COLUMBUS, OH, Feb. 27, 2012 –Following his State of the State announcement of a tenfold boost to OARnet’s statewide network bandwidth, Governor John R. Kasich today joined medical researchers from across the state in a video teleconference to discuss how the faster network speeds will help enhance innovation.

Together with researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Summa Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Kasich showcased the latest research technology and discussed how Ohio’s accelerated bandwidth of 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) will allow them to more easily collaborate on a global scale—greatly enhancing Ohio’s grant competitiveness and efforts to create a medical corridor as a leading hub for clinical innovation, research, patient care and medical education.

Under a recently approved agreement with leading network companies Cisco and Juniper, Ohio will invest approximately $10 million to harness new innovative technology that will, in essence, “open the faucet” of Ohio’s 1,850-mile broadband network, and increase its capacity from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps.

Ali Rezai, M.D., professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience and director of the Center for Neuromodulation at Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, discussed the benefits of high capacity broadband communications to advance patient care, clinical research, as well as medical training and education.

“Ohio’s enhanced 100 Gbps broadband capability will help put us at the cutting edge of medical innovation and information sharing which will greatly facilitate our patient care, clinical research and training programs,” Rezai said.  “We can remotely evaluate and monitor our patients’ clinical status, and further optimize their treatment and management remotely. Additionally, this capability will facilitate research collaborations across the state and nationally thus facilitating efficient, smooth and rapid exchange, and storage of large data files between researchers; including imaging, video, audio, physiological and many other research data sets.”

Rezai discussed the importance of collaboration and training with his colleague George Jaskiw, M.D. a specialist in psychiatry and post-traumatic stress disorder from the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Hospital.

Dr. Joseph Broderick, Chairman of University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine Department of Neurology also spoke of how Ohio’s broadband technology will benefit his clinical work using telemedicine to facilitate treatments for stroke patients.  Broderick highlighted the technology challenges the medical research community faces in transmitting medical information, particularly complex genomic data that consumes so much capacity and bandwidth that current broadband speeds can’t handle. Ohio’s new 100 Gpbs network will change that.

Up until now, the only way to transmit these data was to physically load them onto large external hard drives and ship them between institutions,” Broderick said.  “At these new unprecedented speeds, we will be able to transmit these data in minutes at the click of a button.”

Dr. Samer Narouze M.D., Chairman, Center for Pain Medicine at Summa Western Reserve Hospital also joined by videoconference to discuss new, innovative procedures being used by the medical community in Akron and how Ohio’s extensive broadband network will benefit the state for training doctors on the newest clinical procedures.

“Ohio is already a national leader both in advanced medical procedures and its unsurpassed connectivity within the state and to the broader national medical community,” Narouze said.  “Increasing the speed and capacity of this network will help expand medical training and make Ohio an advanced competitor for federal research grants.”

“Ohio has a rich history as a pioneer of innovation whether it’s our role in aviation, the Space Race, or, today, in the information technology race,” said Governor Kasich.  “Our state has tremendous advanced resources in medical research that are the envy of the nation, and this is just the beginning.  Enhancing our already impressive broadband network with minimal investment is certain to reap benefits for our next chapter in innovation and growth.”

This expansion leverages the fiber optic network operated by OARnet, a member of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology Consortium. The 100 Gbps network will connect Ohio’s major metropolitan areas to northern and southern connection points of Internet2, a nationwide advanced networking consortium led by the research and education community, spanning U.S. and international institutions who are leaders in the worlds of research, academia, industry and government.

For the network, $8.1 million will fund hardware development for Phase 1, which will connect Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo by June 2012 and Phase 2 markets of Akron, Athens and Youngstown by October 2012. 

For fact sheet and more information on Ohio’s 100 Gigabit Network and Innovation Center visit http://www.oar.net.

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