Sheridan's Office of the Registrar celebrates 5 years of its online credit transfer system
Sheridan’s Office of the Registrar (OTR) recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of its fully automated online credit transfer system. Sheridan was the first Ontario college to launch an online system like this, which has revolutionized the way the OTR and Sheridan faculty process the approximately 7,000 transfer credit requests they receive each year.
The online credit transfer system was launched in November 2012, thanks to funding help from a Credit Transfer Institutional Grant. Before that, students would have to fill out a paper form to receive credit at Sheridan for a course taken at another institution and physically bring that paperwork to up to three different offices and departments to secure assessment and approval. The request would then be entered manually, and students would often have to wait several weeks for a decision. With the new system, students apply for advanced standing credits through an online application. If an equivalent Sheridan course is listed in the system, advanced standing requests are posted within one business day. When requests are sent to the program coordinator to review decisions are generally made within five to 10 business days.
“The system is very dynamic,” says Stephanie D’Avolio, Pathways Coordinator. “We’ve eliminated paper applications, and have created efficiencies and time savings for students, the OTR and faculty perspectives. It can be a very quick service for students, and it saves the program coordinators from having to approve the same course over and over again. Once faculty have approved a request, it is automatically added to the database of 60,000 course equivalencies.”
The online system also creates a transparent and consistent decision making process. Program coordinators can view if a course has previously been accepted or denied, which allows for consistent responses. Students are also given a reason if a request has been denied, which allows coordinators the opportunity to communicate with students, and perhaps offer alternatives if a course is not eligible for transfer credit.
“That communication with the students is incredible. I can put notes in the system and students receive a holistic response about the status of their requests and any next steps that may be needed,” says Sarah Sinclair, Coordinator, General Education Courses and Professor, Communications and Literary Studies. “The online system also functions as a dynamic advising tool while also ensuring that students are recognized for all their hard work in their previous studies.”
The OTR has presented the online system at several conferences, including the provincial Committee of Registrars, Admissions and Liaison Officers and the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) Student Pathways in Higher Education Conference. They have also presented the system to other postsecondary institutions, as well as the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
“We’re proud of the system. We’ve seen nothing out there that even comes close to it,” says Bryan MacFarlane, Associate Registrar. “We’re quite a bit ahead of any other institution for what we’ve accomplished from both a student and faculty perspective; the win-wins and efficiencies we’ve introduced are full scale.”
For more information about Sheridan’s Office of the Registrar’s online Credit Transfer application, visit http://myotr.sheridancollege.ca/mypathways.htm.Pictured top right: Stephanie D’Avolio, Pathways Coordinator at Sheridan
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