The Reed Graphical Interface Project


For the past few years, there has been a great deal of discussion on ways to provide access to administrative data by using the same type of convenient graphical interface that is well established in so many academic computing environments. The availability of a graphical interface can promote new uses of online administrative data by students and faculty, as well as by senior administrators. Convenient and direct access to administrative data allows students to have information on such things as course scheduling and enrollment status, faculty to see student records for advising, department chairs to see current budget information, and senior administrators to extract statistical information for a wide variety of planning activities.For the past year, Reed College has been developing this type of graphical interface using standard SQL software tools in a networked, client-server environment. The interface can run on both Macintosh and PC/clone platforms. The software technology is relatively low-cost and portable, making it a potential solution for small colleges as well as larger universities.The session will provide a demonstration of the interface itself, a brief description of the technical environment behind it, and a discussion of the impact the interface has on the nature of administrative computing. We will examine several cases where senior administrators use the interface to gain direct and immediate access to data which was previously available only by means of requests to administrative computer center staff. The ability to produce ad hoc query screens as well as individually tailored screens for executive decision support will be demonstrated and discussed.

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