Joy Bendrick has been serving the Moore Norman Technology Center as Data Management Coordinator since 2009. Her historical knowledge of MNTC and its strategic planning and accreditation processes have equipped her to maintain records from both the district and product level.
First impressions can be everything. In our most recent spotlight interview, iDashboards spoke with Joy Bendrick of Moore Norman Technology Center, one of 29 schools in Oklahoma’s Career and Technical Education system Moore Norman Technology Center is a recent addition to the growing number of companies and organizations making the transition from Excel to dashboard reporting. Here, Joy’s insights capture some of her initial thoughts about data visualization, the iDashboards reporting platform, and the benefits of streamlining data reporting for educators.
iDashboards: What did your reporting process look like before iDashboards? How has that changed?
Joy: Previously, we used hundreds of Excel worksheets and shared network folders. Few people, if any, paid attention to the data because it was too difficult to extrapolate the information they needed. The change is still in progress, but I am beginning to hear of people using the dashboards to find / share data.
What departments within your organization use dashboard reporting?
Quality Services and Administration, so far. We are just getting started and looking to expand.
How many people are actively involved with your dashboards?
At this point, there are ten supervisors who are piloting the dashboards. We plan to roll out web access to more end users including staff within the next couple of months or so. These supervisors are in various departments such as Quality Services, Administration, Curriculum Development, Marketing, Project Management, and Educational Services. We will continue to survey for opportunities to make this a district-wide resource for providing continuous access to organizational data, to support institutional change, and to highlight our successes.
Why do you think dashboards have become important in higher education?
Access to 24/7 data visualization is important. Teachers are usually immersed in their day-to-day classroom management, student interactions, and institutional responsibilities during most of their working hours. Actually reviewing and digesting data and other reports often takes time in “off-the-clock” hours. Once they have access to it, I believe that data visualization will help our teachers, as well as administrators, quickly see trends and patterns, and foster the ability to formulate plans of action, as needed.
What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you track with your dashboards?
We track several student performance measures, customer quality indicators, financial measures, student enrollments and withdrawals, and energy conservation. Strategic Planning will reveal more KPIs this year.
How were you able to generate institutional support for the dashboard software? What was the process of convincing IT and administration to “buy-in”?
I would have to attribute the institutional support to the Superintendent’s office and insight from our organizational strategic planning. The initiative was nurtured by visits to and communication with other similar organizations that were highlighting their successes with data visualization projects using other products.
Once it was determined that we could also benefit from such a resource, we were given the opportunity to research and recommend a solution for our district. In general, the process was as follows:
- The challenge was accepted to identify an appropriate software application to address the reporting needs of our organization.
- We requested information from other Career Techs within the state as to their software solutions, their research and experience with the companies, and their progress with their respective solutions.
- We reviewed the general sales information and began communication with five companies, including iDashboards, about their products.
- We downloaded and worked through any trial versions available from product websites.
- We discussed the solutions with those other schools who were already using them.
- We provided the research results to the decision makers, the most important factors being ease of use, the pricing structure and customer service experience.
- We verified that we had the appropriate IT resources available or were in a position to get additional resources as needed.
- We discussed and weighed the options across the solutions, determined that iDashboards was the best solution for our district and proposed it for purchase and installation.
- “Buy-in” was based on the communicated results of the research and our proposal.
What student information system do you use?
The student information system we use is called CT-SIS. It is an application developed specifically for Career Tech districts in Oklahoma and is still in development. Our IT department works closely with the company to tailor our system to our reporting specifications of student data. Our goal isn’t to replace the current student information system, but our goal is to replace our old reporting system. The old reporting system was series after series of static reports deployed via email, network folders, or our intranet.Our goal isn’t to replace the current student information system, but our goal is to replace our old reporting system. Click To Tweet
How has dashboard reporting changed the way people consume and understand your data?
So far, it has brought to light some of the “holes in the data” or missing steps in reporting, and it has provided insight on how we are surveying some of our customers. Those of us who are more involved in the development see a need for some training and a deeper understanding of our data. Plans are being discussed regarding additional training for our staff.
Anything else you’d like to share or recommend?
Our iDashboards representative’s service response was far above the other organizations. The trial was incredibly helpful in determining the ease of use even before talking to a live person. Great job!