Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Attention: The CEO's Blog has moved!

Check out our newly located Blog called Connecting the dots... for CEO news and updates!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Congrats to Rick Blaisdell, New England CIO Innovation Awards Finalist!

(Boston, MA) May 11, 2011 - Rick Blaisdell, ConnectEDU’s Chief Technology Officer, has been named a finalist for the New England CIO Innovation Awards this June. In the Enterprise category, Rick is up against Boston Scientific’s Rich Adduci, as chosen by a volunteer panel of CIOs and advisors compiled by the Mass High Tech Council. This honor is only one of many that Rick has earned over the past year as a pioneer in cloud computing.

I want to personally congratulate Rick for driving us closer to our vision of creating scalable, on demand, cutting-edge solutions. Our cloud infrastructure, C!OS (Connect! Operating System) enables us to better serve our customers, and their numerous data reporting, warehousing and access needs. Congratulations to you, Rick, and to your very capable team! Well done!

I’d also like to extend my congratulations to Rich Adduci. ConnectEDU is humbled to be nominated alongside such a great organization as Boston Scientific.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This new research study from AEI provides great food for thought ..

NEW STUDY: Filling in the Blanks
How Information about Graduation Rates Can Positively Affect Choice in Higher Education

January 13, 2011 - Over the past two years, the Obama administration and prominent foundations have promoted a "college completion agenda" designed to dramatically increase the percentage of Americans with a college degree. One barrier to making progress on this goal is simple: colleges that admit similar students often have widely different graduation rates with far too many colleges failing to get a majority of their students across the finish line.

Scholars of all stripes agree that an important step to a better outcome is improving the information available to prospective students and their families. Providing consumers with better information about college quality and costs should help students choose high-performing schools and put pressure on colleges that are not making the grade. But will providing such information really affect college decisions?

In their new research study, Filling in the Blanks, AEI's Andrew P. Kelly and Mark Schneider used an experimental survey to test whether providing graduation-rate information affects the way parents choose between two public, four-year colleges in their state. The study found that providing graduation-rate information for two similar colleges increased the probability that parents would choose the institution with the higher graduation rate by 15 percentage points.

Perhaps most importantly, the information had a large and significant effect on parents with less education, lower incomes, and less knowledge of the college application process. More advantaged and better-informed parents, meanwhile, did not significantly change their preferences in response to graduation rates.

In some cases, providing graduation rates led lower-income and less-informed parents to make choices that looked more like those made by their more advantaged peers. These findings suggest that giving parents additional information about college quality could help less-advantaged parents make decisions that are similar to those made by the savviest consumers in the market.

Kelly and Schneider propose that federal rules be altered to require colleges to share their six-year graduation rates with parents and prospective students in all admissions and financial correspondence. They further argue that policymakers should work to provide a broad array of college quality measures to allow students and their families to easily distinguish colleges from one another.

Kelly concludes that "providing such information to enhance consumer choice in higher education is a governmental objective that policymakers on the right and the left should agree on."

Andrew P. Kelly is a research fellow at AEI. Mark Schneider, a former commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education, is a visiting scholar at AEI. Both authors are available for interviews and can be contacted through Jenna Schuette at jenna.schuette@aei.org (202.862.5809).

For additional media inquiries, or to book AEI’s in-house ReadyCam TV studio and AEI’s radio booth / ISDN lines, please contact Sara Huneke at sara.huneke@aei.org (202.862.4870).

Monday, January 3, 2011

APATHY STEP ASIDE -- 2011 Promises to be a Year of Continued Change to the Benefit of Students Everywhere!

January 3, 2011 -- At ConnectEDU, we know that building the RIGHT technology to empower students means putting student  success front and center.

As we kick off the New Year, I'm excited by the infrastructure investments we have made at ConnectEDU to ensure that our platform for managing students’ curriculum, college and career pathways is on track.  
It has been an outstanding year, filled with affirmations ranging from our growing team and expanding product capabilities to our growing client engagements which now include the states of Texas, Massachusetts and Michigan, as well as the National Academy Foundation, National College Advising Corp, a consortium of thirteen Charter School Management Organizations (including Big Picture Learning, Cristo Rey Network, IDEA, Friendship, Camino Neuvo and others) and the National College Access Network.  Just this past month we deployed the third largest school district in the United States, Miami-Dade, on the Connect! platform for the coordination and management of their student’s curriculum, college and career planning..  We’ve also signed strategic partnerships with other progressive and efficiency-oriented technology companies in the education space, including Blackboard, Zinch and K12.com. In addition, we have extended the breadth of our technology offerings and student, professor/ teacher, administrator, and employer engagements with tools that drive greater efficiency and community engagement, such as CoursEval and TalentConnect!.

There is much to celebrate in terms of the progress made in 2010.  However, as the following New York Times article illustrates, there is also much work that remains to be done as it pertains to re-orienting the status quo to meeting the needs of the students this process is intended to serve.  As an example, we need to alter the current reality that students are faced with each time they use web-based systems that are not secure or reliable in the college application process.  After all, each student presents themselves through their college application and, in doing so, they are presenting their own sales pitch, their own personal brand, and, of course, their own value proposition.  That value proposition needs to arrive looking and reading the way the student intended it to appear.  Afterall, the students typically pay for this service in the form of an application fee.

In December, the following article ran in the New York Times and raised a lot of concerns surrounding the status quo when it comes to online college application completion technology.  The article created a stir that highlighted many concerns that we all need to take to heart.  Luckily, it also presented a call to action, which ConnectEDU is already focused on.  As one responding reader stated, "To the author of this article, you are spot on. It’s time for some REAL technology companies to begin addressing this marketplace with the goal of solving the needs of students."

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Partnership with Blackboard Brings New Benefit to Student Users

December 13, 2010- Today ConnectEDU announced a new partnership with Blackboard.  As part of this partnership, we will be integrating our CoursEval Survey software with Blackboard's Learn platform to empower students to easily access and anonymously complete course evaluations.

This partnership is a natural step for both companies and one that will make the student online course management and evaluation process much more rewarding and simplified.

The key benefits of this partnership include:

1) Blackboard is to academic management as Facebook is to socializing for students.  ConnectEDU is now part of that academic management experience as we are now integrating with Blackboard to make completion of course evaluations a more streamlined and simplified process for students.

2) Blackboard is at the core of in-classroom activities and relationship management on college campuses.  ConnectEDU's solutions are at the core of managing all of the critical "out of the classroom" activities associated with student success, college completion, and career/graduate school matriculation.  This is a natural fit and integration of Blackboard and ConnectEDU's shared mission of streamlining and facilitating the intersection between students, professors and administrators.

3) ConnectEDU's CoursEval offering is the industry leader in collecting and reporting on student feedback regarding their courses and the professors teaching them.  At a time when there is a lot of discussion regarding teacher evaluations and student level feedback, it is important to provide a solution that utilizes a research driven approach to facilitating effective evaluations and assessments that are ultimately focused on helping instructors improve and develop professionally.

Every day we are working harder to bridge the gap, and this partnership underscores the type of relationships that just make sense.
We look forward to expanding our network to make additional smart partnerships like this in 2011!

Monday, December 6, 2010

New CAP Report Highlights ConnectEDU as Part of Solution for Informed Higher Ed Decisions

December 6, 2010 - We have a lot of respect for the work being done by the Center for American Progress.  Therefore you can imagine how pleased we were to see their latest December 2010 report titled "The Social Life of College Information" where they named ConnectEDU as part of the solution for helping students learn more about college and their options for empowering informed decision making.

One of my favorite lines: "ConnectEDU's software supports the relationships among guidance counselors, students and college officials by enriching those connections with data about college quality and student performance." 

After all, as most of you know,  at ConnectEDU we're helping students begin the dialog early on and more importantly we're helping them have all of the pieces of the puzzle in one place - an online place that provides clarity and support.

Click here to read the full report

ConnectEDU is presented as a case study on page 18, but here are the main highlights straight from the report:

The allure of a product like ConnectEDU is not just the fact that it connects the student with the counselor.  It is also that their connection is infused with data-data about the student's college search (for the counselor) and data about colleges (for both counselor and student).  This data-driven approach enhances the relationship between student and counselor so that the counselor may better tailor his or her approach to the individual student, making more efficient use of the limited time they have together.

One of the primary obstacles to using experiential and relational techniques to enhance students' and families' ability to make informed decisions is the scalability of person-to-person programs. ConnectEDU takes a step toward addressing this problem with its web-based platform for college access. ConnectEDU's software supports the relationships among guidance counselors, students, and college officials by enriching those connections with data about college quality and student performance.

The primary premise behind ConnectEDU's product is that schools hold data that can inform students' choices about college-going. ConnectEDU connects the data with interactive course planning, career exploration, and college search features to enrich the student experience. It also connects student-level information to the guidance counselor and college official portals so that these individuals can give better advice to students.

For instance, a student may log onto ConnectEDU to explore college options. The website offers college search tools that allow a student to find institutions based on criteria such as geography and program of study. ConnectEDU also links this search to data about the student's GPA, test scores, and course history to help the student gauge whether the college is a good fit.

The student's search and career exploration activities, as well as his or her college application progress, are linked to the guidance counselor portal so that the student's guidance counselor can comment (either electronically or in person) on the student's progress. This means that communication between student and counselor is more informed and more focused on the student's goals and needs. The community aspects of ConnectEDU provide "purpose networks" in which students can communicate directly with college admissions officials if they choose.  The students can create profiles of themselves that include data pulled from school records to inform their interactions with college representatives.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Five Thanksgiving Thoughts for the College-Bound

November 29, 2010 - For those Thanksgiving folks who might have been taking a break from the online news world, here is a piece I penned that the Washington Post ran online in College, Inc. on Thanksgiving day.