Update 2: Smile, You’re on Photo Class List

This post is an update to a previous entry, available here: Smile, You’re on Photo Class List.

May 6: The UW Faculty Senate released an official resolution April 23 that states:

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate strongly endorses the University’s effort to supply a photo class list as an option to all teaching faculty.”

You can read the entire Class C Bulletin (Bulletin No. 482) or the accompanying letter from the Secretary of the Faculty.

Web Services applications highlighted in University Week

University Week header

Two applications built upon the UW’s Student Web Services (SWS) infrastructure were highlighted in an article in University Week on April 30. This publicity will introduce the services to a wider University audience and help the tools gain more faculty users.

The article, titled “Two new tools for UW teachers: An online grade book and photos of their students,” discusses the positive impact Web GradeBook and Photo Class Lists have had on academics since their recent launch. It includes some positive feedback from teachers (which was shared in an earlier post on this blog) and impressive use statistics for Web GradeBook.

More importantly, though, the article acknowledges the efforts the Registrar’s office took in keeping sensitive student data secure while enabling it to be “set free,” and highlighting the cross-department nature of the projects. Designing, implementing, sharing, and maintining projects of this scope and importance to the University’s mission takes a coordinated effort, and the Registrar’s office is pleased to be part of the team making it happen. Other critical members of the team include the Office of Information Management, UW Technology, Learning & Scholarly Technologies — as well as several academic units.

Class lists moving to electronic-only distribution

Beginning summer quarter 2009, class lists (both first- and tenth-day) will no longer be printed and distributed to instructors.

Why is the Registrar putting an end to this practice? For many reasons, but primarily because there is and has been for years an alternative in place: Class lists can be generated (and printed if desired) right from the “Teaching” tab of MyUW. Printed class lists become out-of-date quickly as students add or drop classes during those first weeks of a quarter; online class lists are always current. Plus, that alternative got a lot better recently with the recent addition of student photos to class lists. The popularity of the photo class lists will further lessen the need for the paper copies of names-only class lists printed from our office.

There are other reasons for the switch, too, all of which strengthen the decision. We hope that these make sense to you and you’ll appreciate our efforts to maintain and improve service while adjusting to other factors:

  • Resource savings – Each run of class lists requires a whopping 7 boxes of paper. Each box contains ten, 500-sheet packages. And since we printed class lists twice per quarter (on the first and tenth days), that’s 70,000 sheets of paper per quarter!
    According to Conservatree.org and the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator, one tree yields 8,333 sheets (16.67 reams) of copy paper. So a quarter’s class lists require almost eight and a half trees to print; that’s roughly 32 trees a year, or just over one ton of paper. Producing that much paper requires 19,075 gallons of waste water, 2,278 lbs. of solid waste, and 5,690 lbs. of greenhouse gases.
    Now those are some “green” reasons to stop printing class lists!
  • Cost savings - That much paper costs the University nearly two thousand dollars a year. Given the budget shortfall we’re facing, saving every penny is not only fiscally responsible, it’s necessary.
  • Labor savings – Printing and distributing printed class lists required a lot of staff time upwards of 24 hours a quarter that is better used in other ways. With the recent (and upcoming) staff cutbacks, finding ways to work smarter becomes even more important.
  • Protecting student data – Class lists contain personally-identifiable student information and therefore fall under FERPA regulations. Accordingly, old class lists must be shredded before being recycled at additional cost, time, and effort.

There are legitimate needs for advisers and other non-instructors to view class lists and we’ve made sure there are options for them:

  1. “DeptInfo” - The new Enterprise Data Warehouse initiative’s Class List functionality will soon be online. It will provide all the information available now through the existing Departmental Information service, but with common data, tools, and definitions, as well as a convenient web access. Sound good? Send an e-mail to dmc-support@u.washington.edu and specifically request access to the “New DeptInfo” Class List report.
  2. SDB – The SRF130 screen within the Student Database (SDB) provides class list information (instructions on the screen are available online).

Although we hope the impact of this change is minimal on you while providing significant savings to the University, we are happy to help answer your questions or address any concerns you may have.

Registrar’s website sports new look, better usability

Today, the Office of the University Registrar proudly launches its new web site. It incorporates a number of improvements, both visually and in ease-of-use. As with any major change, there are bound to be questions. Please let Scott Bush, the Registrar’s webmaster, know what you think and inform him of any issues.

If you’re interested, here are some details on the new site:

  • Better organized – The new homepage (besides looking nicer) has links to the top resources for students, faculty and staff, and other members of the University community. We’ve also integrated the top three entries from this blog to keep you informed at a glance.
  • One-stop shopping – The new site is actually a consolidation of multiple departmental websites managed by the Registrar. We’ve integrated the Time Schedule Office and Curriculum Office websites into this one. This helps to unify the Registrar’s many services as well as present a consistent interface for more content. We’ll soon integrate Data Management and DARS content here, too.
  • Improved search – Because we’ve got multiple sites “under one roof,” (see above) our search feature now finds more content more easily.
  • Fancy forms – If you use the time schedule change forms, you’ll appreciate the changes we’ve made. In addition to looking better, the forms now validate your input and give hints so you know what’s expected as you complete the form.
  • Old links still work – If you’ve followed a link from another site (or one of your own bookmarks), don’t worry: you’ll get where you were going. The old site will instantly redirect you to the appropriate page within the new site.

We’d welcome your comments on the new site, either added to this blog post or in an e-mail to Scott Bush, our webmaster.

Photo Class List service appears on front page of The Daily

Members of the UW community picking up copies of the University’s student newspaper, The Daily, were treated  to a story about the recent launch of the Photo Class List service.

The article explains the tool’s benefit to both students and faculty, discusses how it was implemented, and cites University Registrar Todd Mildon in regard to attention paid to student privacy.

Because Photo Class List launched late last month without much fanfare, the front-page story in The Daily will certainly bring this useful tool to light for more faculty. It’ll also increase awareness among students who may begin to expect to be called by name in their classes!