This article was co-written by Sarah Hatfield, Business/Systems Analyst at University of Minnesota Duluth, and John Panzica from CollegeSource.
Institutions have made great strides over the years in supporting transfer students. How many of us remember being transfer students ourselves, sending off our transcript for evaluation? In the past, we had to wait for the mail to come back with an official report of our transfer credit. We’ve come a long way in student services, having developed technologies that allow us to move away from pencil-and-paper evaluations of coursework and towards integrated systems like TES. Students now can access instant information about how their courses transfer through Transferology, and – for institutions that have integrated their degree audits into Transferology – even see how that coursework will apply to their intended major.
Another great stride in student support was made in Spring of 2018 with the addition of the user added send functionality in TES.
What Are User Added Send Courses?
While user added courses aren’t new to TES, user added send courses are. This new feature allows you to create transfer institutions that aren’t in the TES database. From there, you can then create catalogs, departments, and courses for these institutions. You may also encounter situations where a school and catalog exists in TES, but they are missing a course you need to review. You could create your own user added institution, catalog, and course for these instances as well. The courses that you create with user added can be sent through the TES workflow just like any other course in TES!
Why Is This Feature So Exciting?
Imagine the possibilities! Previously, if an institution didn’t have a catalog in TES, you had to figure out another means to evaluate the coursework. If this involves relying on paper forms, you’ve now added extra steps to your process, and potential delays in the return of evaluations.
The invention of user added send functionality has changed the way UMD’s Office of the Registrar facilitates the evaluation of international transfer credit. Before user added send courses, we estimate that it took approximately an hour to prepare a single course for evaluation – this included gathering the course description, inputting information on spreadsheets, printing forms, making copies of those forms (just in case!), and organizing documents for faculty. While this part of the process took an hour, the entire course review process took a minimum of three weeks – papers had to go through the mail, sometimes to multiple people, all while spreadsheets were updated, emails and phone calls exchanged, and stakeholders kept in the loop each step of the way. Since user added send, we have achieved a 40% gain in efficiency in preparing a single course for review. Faculty are now able to make decisions about how international coursework transfers to UMD just as quickly as they can make decisions about domestic coursework.
With user added send courses, we now have the means to better support students with international transfer credit and make their transfer experience more equitable. They are able to receive more timely, accurate evaluations of their coursework to support their advisement, registration, and path towards graduation. Reviews can be almost instantaneous! We also have the means to support our faculty and administration through giving them a more efficient, paperless process for evaluation, that allows them to use software they already know and like.
How Would I Get Started With Using TES for International Transfer Credit Evaluations At My Institution?
Getting started is simple! It begins with creating an international institution in TES, noting the institution’s country, state, city, and website (this last one is optional). The drop-down menus are user-friendly, and give you location options to select from.
From there, you can create individual catalogs for the institution. Each catalog has an edition, just like the catalogs you use every day in TES. You can choose the title for your catalog, and the year or years that you want the edition of your catalog to be from.
Now that you’ve created the catalog itself, it’s time to start creating courses! Each course needs to be associated with a department. So, your first step is to create the department. Each department needs to have an abbreviation; for example, the Accounting department might have an abbreviation of “ACCT”. As department is a required field, you might need to come up with some kind of internal means of assigning one if the international curriculum is not associated with a department name.
Once you’ve created the department, your next step is to add in your course details (course code, title, description, units – there’s lots of information you can supply!). You may need to have some flexibility here as well, if the transcript you are working with does not have course numbers. After you input the course information, you’re ready to send your course off for review, and can even attach documents such as a course outline or syllabus! You can attach a maximum of two files, up to 4 megabytes each.
The recipient of the evaluation will receive an alert from TES, letting them know that a course is in their queue. You now have the ability to route, evaluate, and store information about international transfer credit in TES, just like you can domestic transfer credit!
How Can I Learn More About User Added Send Functionality?
Are you attending the upcoming CollegeSource conference? If so, be sure to attend our Thursday session, “You’re in Charge: Using User Added Courses to Facilitate Curriculum Decisions & Review.” We’ll be discussing all types of user added courses, as well as showing you the step-by-step process of how to create user added send courses. We’ll also be discussing some best practices UMD has developed for our institution about how to use user added courses.
If you are attending this year’s AACRAO Technology & Transfer conference, UMD also invites you to join us for our session “Office Minimalism: A Smarter, Paperless System for Transfer Credit Evaluations.” We’ll be detailing our journey towards our goal of a 100% paperless process for evaluating transfer credit – both through our use of user added send courses for international transfer credit review, and our implementation of an electronic transfer course evaluation form.
What Else Can You Do With User Added Send Courses? My Institution Doesn’t See a Lot of International Credit.
While we’ve focused here on using user added send courses for international transfer credit review, there are also other types of credit or experiences you can use this functionality to evaluate. Did you know can review MOOCs, coding boot camps, unevaluated military or occupational training, and even create an institution and catalog for Project Lead the Way’s curriculum (it is transcripted at multiple colleges)? There are lots of ways to use this new feature!
We look forward to seeing you in June! In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Sarah Hatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!