As you can imagine, the technology systems involved in tracking the life cycle of a student are daunting to manage. From applying, to acceptance, registering for classes, obtaining financial aid, attending classes, receiving grades, graduating and becoming an alumnus. All of this data must flow smoothly between the students and professors as well as between offices such as the Registrar and Student Account Services. At PSU we use a product called Banner from SunGard Higher Education to manage a majority of our data.
Every year, SunGard Higher Education hosts a conference called Summit. PSU regularly sends representatives from ITS and other offices to this conference to learn about new products, creative ways of using existing products and to network with other schools. This year Summit was held in Las Vegas from March 26-March 29. Over 6,000 people attended from across the globe. PSU sent three members of ITS, Dan Bramer, Nathan Porter and Phil Manseau as well as Amy Morrill from the Registrar’s Office and Judy Ciesielski from the College of Graduate Studies. There were over 600 sessions offered on a wide variety of topics and products. ITS also attended Virtual Summit where a smaller subsection of sessions were available through a video stream. An important moment this year at Summit surrounded the merger of Sungard Higher Education and Datatel (a competitor company with many similar products). They used the conference to announce their new company name, Ellucian.
Members of ITS also spent some time learning about the newest version of Banner to be released, Banner 9. At PSU we are currently running Banner version 8. Banner 9 has some fundamental changes in the structure as well as changes to the look and feel. Upgrades in the past have been large projects that require detailed planning, testing and significant down time for the actual upgrade. Starting with Banner 9, the modules have been divided into much smaller pieces and upgrades will behave much more like small patches. We expect to see some of these small patches to Banner 9 here at PSU as early as this summer.
This year Dan Bramer presented two sessions, one about the paper-free admissions process and one about workflow (a product we use at PSU to automate business processes, often repetitive tasks that can be automated and streamlined). Nathan Porter also presented a session about the integration between Banner and Moodle. This is an excellent way to contribute to the Banner community, as well as save a little money for attendance.
The members of PSU who attended Summit 2012 both contributed to the Banner community by presenting and networking and also returned with valuable information to share with their colleagues. The information gathered at this year’s Summit will help to guide us in planning upgrades like Banner 9. Summit 2012 was a valuable experience, one that translates into valuable services to the PSU community.
The opening and closing keynote speakers at Summit 2012 were both interesting and informative. John Legend, the opening keynote speaker has won nine Grammy awards and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. John’s talk focused on his Show Me Campaign, an initiative that uses education to break the cycle of poverty. The closing keynote speaker was Jane McGonigal who spoke about gamification, which has some interesting implications for higher education teaching and learning. Jane has an interesting 20 minute TED talk about gamification for those who are interested in learning more.
We look forward to working with Ellucian this year as we embark on some exciting projects like the Banner 9 upgrade. Summit 2013 is scheduled for Philadelphia and is sure to offer us with some interesting teaching and learning opportunities.