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September 2010 Archives

Changes After A Week In...

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Our site has been live for one week. While no major changes have occurred, a few minor patches have rolled out. There are two specific changes I would like to mention:

First, the search box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen will yield a search for our site, as well as a UMN-wide search. The default search results will be the OIR site results. Give it a try.

Second, we add the instant feedback poll on the home page. If you scroll down to the bottom of the home page, you should see the question "Was this site useful?" We would appreciate any feedback you have to offer.

Expect to see a post regarding the site usage in the near future. As always, feel free to contact our department with feedback, or suggestions.

Site Released - Welcome!

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Today marks the first iteration and public release of the redesigned web presence - for the Office of Institutional Research. The redesign has three primary goals in mind: make our data easier to find; increase the web presence of our analysis; meet the eCommunication branding and web standards requirements. We feel that these goals have been met and significantly improve the experience of users have on our site.

The biggest changes to the site are the new dynamic reports. So far, we have converted the Official Enrollment Statistics (aka STIX), New Freshman Characteristics (formerly New Student Characteristics) and the Degrees & Certificates Awarded (formerly Degrees Awarded) from the old PDF static formats to a user driven dynamic format. This new format features two ways to view the data. First, the 5-year trend format where the data are graphically represented, which will enable staff to quickly identify changes over time. Second, the data can be viewed in a 1-year table based format, which allows for easy college by college comparisons. The data can also be exported to Microsoft Excel.

We are also trying to make our survey data more accessible to appropriate University staff. We collect data from national survey sources such as the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) and National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) as well as System-wide surveys administered by us (e.g. PULSE). Up until now, this data has remained available largely for OIR's own internal analyses, but we now hope to provide tools allowing other appropriate University staff to access this data through our site. We plan to release new reports and additional iterations of the site on a regular basis. One of the proposed new features is an online data request system. A few other student data reports are already in development, including Student Performance which would include information on grade point averages and percentages of credits completed. We also plan to add our Human Resource, Financial Aid data and other sources. Please contact our office if you have any suggestions on any data or features you would like to see.

Another change with this project is the web address of the site. If you visit our previous address (www.irr.umn.edu) you will be redirected to the new address, which is www.oir.umn.edu. Please update your bookmarks to reflect this change.

Finally, we would like to thank those throughout the University who helped up in the development of this project - specifically the State of the Student committee, the Usability Services in the Digital Media Lab, the Office of Information Technology - OIA Linux Team and Oracle DBA Team, and the UThink Blog team at the Library. The valuable insight and direction provided by these groups helped guide our project during the development cycle.

This blog will continue to be a source of information about what's happening, works we have published, and general information about the Office of Institutional Research. If you would like to give us feedback, or comments or questions feel free to post a comment on the this blog (U of M users only) or email me, David Peterson: pete2786 at umn dot edu.