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by Natalie Auth, DIGARC Lead UX Designer/Developer

If you’ve spent any amount of time around computer software, smartphones or technology in the past decade, you’ve likely heard the terms UI and UX. People will say things like “Wow, this app has a really cool UI!”, or “I think the UX could be improved on this website.” But what do they mean? What is the UX? Is it the same thing as the UI?

User experience, or UX for short, is actually a very broad concept that encompasses everything about the interaction of a person (or user) with a product, and the product doesn’t even have to be software-related. This most obviously includes direct interaction between a person and a product, but it also involves the user’s first discovery of the product, when they need help with it, or even when they talk about it to other people.

Imagine the UX of a park bench, for example, and how you might be happy to find one in the middle of a long walk; how, once you sat on the bench, you wished it were in the shade; and then how you told a friend about the bench later. All of these things relate to your overall experience, or UX, with the bench.

User experience design, on the other hand, means something very specific in the software design and development world. We still refer to user experience design using the term UX, but we are really talking about a methodology of designing products and services in a human-centric way. We look at the specific tasks and objectives that a real person is trying to accomplish, and then we build software to meet those needs in an intuitive and efficient manner. UX design is a multi-disciplinary practice with roots in fields such as human-computer interaction, psychology, graphic design and more.
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NEW ORLEANS—DIGARC, a leading provider of curriculum management and student success solutions for higher education, announced today at the Ellucian Live conference in New Orleans that it has acquired Visual Schedule Builder (VSB). VSB empowers students and advisers in planning academic schedules to increase credit hours taken while reducing time to graduation.

VSB enables students to simplify scheduling and streamline registration by creating a visual calendar based on course requirements and preferred times. Students narrow schedule options based on degree plans, schedule restrictions and section preferences. By visualizing schedules that satisfy pathway requirements and personal preferences at the point of registration, institutions increase student retention and accelerate success efforts.

“We’re thrilled to expand DIGARC’s focus on student pathways and student success,” says Angela Selden, CEO of DIGARC. “With VSB’s innovative scheduling, advising and registration platform, students increase the number of courses and credits per term, increase adherence to their degree plan pathway, complete courses in order and graduate on time.”

By monitoring student search and enrollment activities, institutions with VSB’s analytics tool can access otherwise unavailable preference data that supports planning and resource allocation, including course supply and anticipated demand, common course conflicts, student persistence and enrollment heat maps. Institutions with DIGARC’s SECTION schedule planning tool will be able to operationalize these insights from API-enabled integration with VSB to have transparent and efficient class section schedule planning from request to approval.
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ORLANDO—Today at its 6th Annual DigarcU User Conference, DIGARC, a leading provider of higher education technology solutions, announced a new software solution called EXPLORE. The easy-to-implement interactive website modules enable students to research programs, careers, transfer information, costs and more, without leaving an institution’s website.

“We’ve helped higher ed institutions modernize their website experiences since we launched the first online catalog management system in 2001,” says Angela Selden, CEO of DIGARC. “EXPLORE continues that history of innovation now in areas that accelerate enrollment and support student success.”

Colleges and universities can implement the pre-built, highly configurable EXPLORE modules on their websites with minimal IT involvement, improving their recruitment efforts without significant time investment or cost for application development, data collection or maintenance.

“With the insight gained from EXPLORE, institutions can create more effective communications across the student life-cycle, providing students meaningful value in their college selection process and beyond,” says Craig Maslowsky, VP of EXPLORE.

EXPLORE joins three other DIGARC Connected Curriculum™ solutions—the Acalog academic catalog management system, Curriculog curriculum management system and SECTION schedule planning system.
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LAKELAND, Fla.—More than 160 higher education institutions from coast-to-coast gather in Orlando from March 17 – 20, 2019, for the 6th Annual DigarcU User Conference. Over 270 DIGARC software users will obtain certifications, enjoy thought leadership sessions and connect with fellow education professionals at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Orlando.

DIGARC software users and DIGARC staff will lead sessions from March 18 – 20 on digital transformation, higher ed technology trends, DIGARC software best practices and more. Attendees can also experience new DIGARC solutions in demos and deep dives.

“We’re always focused on innovation and developing new capabilities for DIGARC users,” says Angela Selden, CEO of DIGARC. “Last year, we announced our new SECTION and SELECT products and this year we’re planning another big announcement to enhance the way our customers connect with students.”

Ranging from small private colleges to large public universities, from community colleges to for-profit institutions, the diverse attendee list includes professionals from various disciplines including provosts, VPs, registrars, along with technology, marketing and enrollment.

“This is my sixth DigarcU and each conference has gotten better,” says Deb Dewent, Assistant Director of Instructional Support for Grand Rapids Community College. “I look forward to connecting with my colleagues and hearing about best practices for DIGARC software. Plus, I love coming to sunny Florida in March.”

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LAKELAND, Fla.—DIGARC, a leading provider of higher education curriculum management solutions, received the Ellucian “Integration Partner of the Year” award at the EDUCAUSE annual conference in Denver last week.

Ellucian, a leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, selected DIGARC for the prestigious award in recognition of the company’s outstanding integration for Ellucian’s Colleague and Banner solutions. More than 300 of DIGARC’s close to 600 customers use Ellucian Banner and Colleague, making DIGARC the most frequently used curriculum management solution provider among Ellucian’s integration partners.

“Integration with Ellucian enables us to connect curriculum and support a positive experience for students, faculty and staff,” said Angela Selden, CEO of DIGARC. “Our clients experience a significant increase in productivity and reduction in errors by eliminating duplicate entry.” Continue Reading…

LAKELAND, Fla. – Nov. 1, 2018 – DIGARC, a leading provider of higher education curriculum management solutions, today announced the release of its SECTION schedule planning software. SECTION is the third product in DIGARC’s Connected CurriculumTM platform.

DIGARC’s SECTION was built to increase student success by streamlining class section scheduling management. Institutions can transform decision making and approval processes to increase transparency, eliminate manual effort and schedule planning errors, and better align faculty and facility utilization to conform to budgetary guidelines.

“Class availability is an integral component of student success,” says DIGARC CEO Angela Selden. “DIGARC’s SECTION will help academic institutions better utilize faculty and facilities to ensure needed courses are available and students stay on track with their degree plans toward on-time graduation.” Continue Reading…

 

Higher education priorities are changing, reflecting economic, political, social and cultural shifts in society.

Future-ready institutions leverage technology and data to transform processes and modernize systems—what the tech world calls digital transformation. Here are four reasons universities and colleges make it a priority:

1. Enhanced competitiveness

The number of colleges and universities has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, while the number of traditional college students has decreased. With increasing competition for students, faculty and funding, higher education institutions need to streamline operations and enhance the student experience.

2. Controlling costs

SaaSInstitutions are under ever-increasing pressure to cut costs, justify tuition prices and improve outcomes for students. From saving staff time to reducing square footage used to store files, digital transformation is a way to control spiraling administrative costs. Continue Reading…

If you’re involved with producing the academic catalog for your institution, it’s likely a painstaking process if you’re still outputting a PDF or using a homegrown software solution built by your IT department.

You’re not alone. There are four common complaints heard from registrars, deans, provosts, and even marketing and IT:

1. Tracking changes from various stakeholders

It’s time-consuming to pass around Word docs and ask reviewers to track changes. Once you collect all the docs, you have to combine changes and determine which to accept, leading to confusion and errors. 

Word track changes

Group editing in the cloud in a Google Doc is another common tactic. It gives you one spot to collect real-time edits. But it may not be ideal if you don’t want everyone to see what changes are requested by their colleagues.

Academic catalog management systems have a dashboard that shows your customized workflow, tracks who is requesting what change and what stage in approvals a catalog or curriculum proposal is in. You control access to catalog and curriculum information and can adjust permissions so different people see different things.

“Since implementing an online, electronic catalog, we have been able to maintain our catalog with manageable time frames and in a manner that allows us to involve several members of the campus community in providing input and updates in a timely manner while still allowing for administrative control,” says Springfield College Registrar Keith Ingalls. Continue Reading…

LAKELAND, Fla. – DIGARC announced exciting new products to a record-breaking number of higher education attendees at its fifth annual DigarcU 2018 conference Feb. 18–20, 2018, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando.

DigarcU’s opening session celebrated the significant momentum achieved in 2017 with 249 professionals representing 140 institutions from around the world. DIGARC welcomed 60 new institution partners and applauded 131 new product go-lives.

Under DIGARC’s new brand, Taking Education Higher™, DIGARC’s industry-leading offerings have been expanded to include:

DIGARC SECTION – a course section management product that tracks requests, assesses faculty schedules, monitors classroom space and identifies conflicts through an intuitive, at-a-glance interface that eliminates documents and the need for duplicate entries. Continue Reading…

DIGARC and Ellucian Announce New Integration                     

Lakeland, FL, December 15, 2017 — Today, DIGARC announces full integration with the Ellucian Ethos platform, the first catalog and curriculum management software provider to deliver this capability.  Now, any Banner or Colleague institution, including the over 300 that are DIGARC clients, have the ability to share critical data between systems, improving consistency and minimizing the time required to complete curriculum and catalog updates. This modern, seamless integration is quick and easy to deploy. Continue Reading…

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