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SIS interfaces continue to improve

I spent the day in training today with X2 Development Corporation, looking at course scheduling in their Aspen student information system. While we had just rolled out their SIS last year in time for student scheduling and the process went as well as could be expected (a new SIS, ridiculously dirty data imported from our previous system, tight deadlines, etc.
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Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributing Editor. on

I spent the day in training today with X2 Development Corporation, looking at course scheduling in their Aspen student information system. While we had just rolled out their SIS last year in time for student scheduling and the process went as well as could be expected (a new SIS, ridiculously dirty data imported from our previous system, tight deadlines, etc.).

This year, I not only have 12 months of experience with the system, but the SIS has gone through considerable upgrades itself, making the process even easier.

While my focus today was scheduling, new features system-wide make heavy use of AJAX to allow auto-saving of web pages, instant field lookups, intuitive data interfaces, and improved performance. Such features are making their way into other web-based student information systems as well, but X2 is pushing development at an open-source-like pace. Obviously their software is proprietary and it isn't free (although pricing is very competitive), but when major upgrades are rolling out to customers every 4-6 months, I can't help but think of Ubuntu and OpenOffice. Both of these products raise the bar with every frequent release; if only the same could be said of software out of Redmond (how long until Windows 7?).

Similarly, while all of the development work at X2 is done in house, a strong user community drives many of the enhancements that make their way into the upgrades. There aren't many companies left where you can still get the president (and original developer of the software) on the phone occasionally when you call tech support.

The state of the art in student information systems continues to see impressive implementations of rich Internet applications, making systems accessible anytime, anywhere, that can finally rival their client-server brethren in terms of performance and features without the management hassles.

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