Published on 2017/08/24
The EvoLLLution | Extending the Destiny One Environment: Leveraging Data and the CLM to Adapt and Grow
Adapting to a struggling economy is a significant challenge many postsecondary institutions are familiar with, but by leveraging available IT resources and focusing on agility and the student experience, it’s possible to turn an economic downturn into a state of growth.

Calgary has experienced the recent economic downturn quite extensively and is taking longer than other regions to recover.  Traditionally, when the oil industry in Alberta suffers, every other industry suffers right along with it. We need to ensure that we remain competitive, are providing the right products for our target clients and that we make the best possible use of all of our resources. Even without the economic considerations, we want to have the reputation of always delivering the best product available and to be the preferred institution.

During this recession, we needed to know more about our offerings because our overall enrollments were down. This sparked us to find the answer to a few questions. For example, “how many sections should I run and when?” “Am I meeting my minimum enrollment?” We also need to consider staff coverage for student support by identifying our peak periods.

Our IT Infrastructure

The University of Calgary Continuing Education leverages Destiny One as our registration system. The system has been in place since 2008, and it enables us to provide registration services to our students via the web.

Along with our registration information, we combine data from other sources and systems to provide our students with the best experience possible and help our staff make the best possible business decisions. Some of the recent extensions we have explored are advanced analytics, course evaluations, and other University of Calgary Integrations (ID Management, etc.).

Creating a Consistent Data Environment

The solution we chose to implement to find the answers to the questions we raised above was Tableau. Tableau, which can be integrated into the Destiny One environment, is a visual analytics software that helps organize and present data intuitively to help gather insights for these questions. Tableau helps us to keep reports and analyses relevant by providing custom views for everyone from directors to front-line staff.

Destiny has defined their strengths and has identified that other vendors have perfected surveys. At the University of Calgary, we leverage Destiny’s licensable archive database to generate instructor/course evaluations in Survey Monkey for all of our course offerings. This is a completely automated process, which saves our department thousands of dollars each year. Based on our previous successes with Tableau, we decided to produce the course evaluation results automatically through a Tableau report.

Using Tableau we’re able to aggregate the data to assess the performance of a department, program, course, section or instructor. This data provides program managers, and directors with the information at the level they need to make the important decisions such as:

  • Identifying problem areas at any specific level
  • Promoting successes and encouraging strengths and
  • Evaluating trends over time.

One of the greatest benefits of leveraging our enterprise reporting solutions is that all staff are pulling consistent data, with predefined KPI’s, metrics and measures.

“Figure 1: Course survey trend analysis with maximum score of 7.0. Please click to enlarge in a new tab.”

Improving the Customer Experience

Another goal we had was to extend Destiny One to improve the customer experience. We classified the need into two parts: immediate needs (support), and ongoing needs (enhancement).

To help students plan their certificate program education schedule, we have created a Certificate Timetable available on our Public View—viewable in the browser and with a Print Version option—so that in one screen, the student can see what courses they need to complete, when, where, and how the courses will be taught.

“Figure 2: Certificate Program Timetable. Please click to enlarge in a new tab.”

In addition, to help with supporting our students and instructors, we have created an in-house application to help us troubleshoot their inquiries. As added value, we provide several integrations for our students; some of these integrations include eLibrary resources, Desire2Learn and Office365. There are specific criteria that determines whether or not a student or instructor has access to each of these integrations.

Our custom application, called CAST, helps us identify what the student/instructor has access to, and identifies any problem with their accounts. CAST makes it quicker and easier to answer inquiries and provide immediate assistance. Without CAST, gathering all of this information would require searches through several modules, and pages, as well as merging data sources that are not available in Destiny One, such as Office 365, eLibrary, etc., all within a single dashboard view.

As Destiny One increases availability of more real-time data (web services), we will be able to provide continuous improvements for our staff and clients’ experience, with automation and seamless integration.

“Figure 3: CAST Student/Instructor Authorization Information. Please click to enlarge in a new tab.”

The Importance of Constant Growth

As a client of Destiny Solutions since 2008, we have become very familiar with the Destiny One product. This has allowed us to identify gaps to build and integrate complementary systems to increase productivity and ease of use to benefit our students and instructors.

Our direction and focus are for continued growth and improvement of the educational products we offer and always striving to meet the students’ ever-changing expectations. We are continually verifying what sets us apart from our competition, the value that we offer, who our target customers are, and what their needs are now and what their future needs will be.

Survey responses and comparative reporting provide us with information that enables us to be responsive to the changing requirements and capitalize on new opportunities for growth and improvement of our services. In order to facilitate growth and meet students’ expectations, it is critical to remain flexible and to leverage tools and systems that are agile so that we can realize our continuous growth and improvement goals.

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