First I want to say that this is not any sort of endorsement of Terra Dotta Software (TDS) but rather as it is the software I use in my office I wanted to go over is strengths, weaknesses, and uses that I’ve found after working with it for over a year now.
For some background I first encountered TDS (then known as StudioAbroad) back when I worked in Hawaii. They were looking for a software for applications and this was one of the options. It looked promising but the price was rather steep. They ended up not going with the software from what I hear but each office has different needs. I had done the demo and read through many of the documents available and found it a remarkable piece of technology. It wasn’t alone though, I also learned of Horizons and Office Abroad. Since then I’m sure others have come and gone but that can be seen as a good thing.
This did start me thinking though. Move away from paper. Not necessarily for the Green way of doing things but rather to streamline and make things easier.
Once I started to work at my current job I was excited to be using Terra Dotta (well any software really). But I was confronted with two challenges. First was due to staff changes the install was 2 versions behind. This was a challenging task but our IT department got through it. The other was not as obvious as the version issue but has turned out to be a longer term and more tasking issue than I expected.
So if you are looking to change to a software please heed my words. While you can simply copy your application to an online system that is probably the worst way to do it.
The reason I say this is because if that’s all one does then you’re not making full use of the software and thus making it harder on yourself and your office. Whether its digital signatures or online forms. Replace what you can with what the software can do. In addition if the software you choose can connect with your Student Information System (SIS) then do so as it will save you from duplicating your efforts.
I have this view point as I’m currently working on the current study abroad application and implementing a new application for our incoming exchange students and the difference is noticeable.
This post has ended up longer than intended so I put be making this a series covering topics including:
Lightening the workload