In October, Jenzabar held a conference at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts to discuss its higher education management software. Approximately ninety people attended the conference, including two staff members from Washington County Community College: Bill Cody, Director of Information Technology, and Tatiana Osmond, the college’s Instructional Technologist.
The conference provides for an open-discussion forum for schools using the Jenzabar integrated software system to speak with colleges that have not yet partially or fully adopted its various modules. “Jenzabar is an all-inclusive student information system that also has an e-learning module,” Cody explained.
Washington County Community College has fully adopted the Jenzabar software, which includes enhanced facilitation of e-learning through its proprietary learning management system when compared to competitors. WCCC began using Jenzabar four years ago. Of the seven colleges of the Maine Community College System, all of them use Jenzabar in some fashion, but not all of them use its e-learning system. Osmond said that this gave she and Cody the opportunity to share some of their insights with the platform with their sister schools.
Once fully integrated, Jenzabar provides dynamic grading and attendance feedback for students, thereby greatly improving communication between student and instructor. “Students want instant gratification,” Cody elucidated.
The benefits of Jenzabar go well beyond the student and teacher interface, however. Prior to adopting Jenzabar, Cody said that the IT department would have to enter student enrollment information manually, a task that consumed a significant amount of time for the relatively small department. Additionally, fully adopting Jenzabar creates one login for students across the online system.
There’s also a price factor, as Cody elaborates. The prior system that WCCC was using cost the college $32,000 a year, a hefty price tag to operate the fifteen online classes presently offered. By contrast, Jenzabar is just $5,000 a year, making it a logical choice for schools looking to make the most of their budgets.
Cody’s expertise with the software has earned him specific recognition. Earlier this year, he was selected for the Jenzabar Advisory Committee, which consists of IT specialists from seven colleges from across the nation. The committee meets with the Jenzabar team of developers and program managers to discuss the direction the team is taking the software as well as any changes that will be made. Cody will serve a three-year term, meeting with the team bi-monthly via teleconferencing. He also plans on attending the Jenzabar Annual Meeting, which attracts users from around the world.
Cody said that WCCC’s growing familiarity with Jenzabar and its expanding components may enable the college to increase its online offerings in the future. In addition, the development team is working to make the system web-responsive, meaning it will change its appearance depending on the device used to access it. Finally, the Jenzabar system may in the future enable students to utilize a “virtual advisor” that would allow them to sign up for classes online based on their program requirements. “The automation process—it just works,” Cody concluded.