The Student Information System, commonly referred to as “SIS”, has been with us for decades now. The use of technology in managing student data has been gradually increasing since the 1970s when computer systems first started to be used for administrative purposes in higher education institutions.
However, it wasn’t until the widespread adoption of personal computers and the internet in the early 2000s that Student Information Systems became more widespread and integrated into the operations of many colleges and universities.
SISs have proven to be invaluable resources for schools. Yet, many ignore their real role in Higher Ed operations. Their features, capabilities, how they interact with the student experience, and how they are evolving.
Edular, our all-in-one Student Relationship Management platform, has been designed to operate seamlessly with most SISs in the market, leveraging their potential even further.
In this article, we will explore how they are helping modern colleges and universities.
Key Features of a Student Information System
There are key features that set SISs apart from other digital management tools at our disposal. SIS are education-driven, designed from scratch, by and for professionals in the field. Let’s see how this reflects on their features.
Student Record Management
An SIS allows for the secure storage and maintenance of student records, including demographic information, transcript, and grades.
While handling large amounts of data to enrich the SIS can become a serious headache, modern automation tools such as the ones included with Edular can update student records effortlessly.
Attendance and Academic Progress Tracking & Monitoring
One of the most important features of a good Student Information System is tracking and monitoring attendance and academic progress, two fundamental benchmarks of student success.
With an SIS, schools can track and visualize the academic process and identify when a student may need additional support.
The challenge comes when a college has a large number of students. How to notice when a student needs help and act in a timely manner? For this, Edular plays a massive role with our clients, who are using the platform to receive automated, opportune alerts on those students who would benefit the most from staff intervention.
Schedule and Assignment Management
An SIS can manage data related to course schedules, assignments, and grading. The system stores this information in a secure, organized way for later use.
Presenting this data in a practical format, especially to students, can be tricky though. However, most SISs are compatible with Edular, allowing us to display to the student what they need to know in real-time.
Choosing the Right Student Information System for Your School
At some point, professionals in the Higher Ed space ask themselves how to choose the right Student Information System. It may be that they are beginning a new project or perhaps they are looking to replace their existing SIS.
Either way, it is always helpful to know what and how to look for in an SIS.
Determining Your School’s Needs
Before looking at an SIS and what it can do, examine your school’s needs in detail, some of which can be very specific.
Start by identifying the administrative tasks and processes that you want the SIS to support. Assessing each department and talking with the staff about their workflows are great ways to gather the information you need.
You can also talk with students to identify what features and functions are the most relevant and important to them.
Implementing and Training
Understanding the implementation process of each SIS is also important. The implementation should be compatible with your current systems and processes. Knowing this is also useful to estimate costs.
Alongside implementing the SIS, your institution will need to train the staff on its correct use. The provider should be able to provide such training to your team.
Expanded Capabilities with a Student Relationship Management
While Student Information Systems are of extraordinary value to schools, they are constrained by their design.
Newer technologies that come with amazing benefits are not available in most cases. Features such as native mobile apps for students, advanced automation, facial recognition features, and secure digital signatures for documents, just to give a few examples, aren’t included by default with SISs.
This is where Edular comes in. Edular syncs seamlessly with your SIS, managing data and augmenting the staff’s capability to make good use of this information.
With Edular, schools can easily implement and start enjoying a whole host of benefits. One powerful use case of this is allowing students to securely and autonomously interact with academic data and submit documentation without the manual intervention of your team.
The Future of SIS Technology
In many ways, the future of SISs is already here and Edular is a good example of this.
Powerful technologies such as mobile-first experiences and secure cloud-based solutions can increase the capacity and efficiency of any modern school.
Automation drives efficiency and is at our core. Colleges using Edular are already automating complex workflows; a decision that translates into lower operational costs, less workload on the staff, and increased student admission and retention. The future promises even further automation capabilities, potentially leveraging Artificial Intelligence, or “AI” to produce more results.
AI brings enhanced data analytics, allowing schools to mine large amounts of their valuable data that traditionally isn’t used to its fullest potential and can help stakeholders have a better vision of the academic situation and make better decisions.