Difference between revisions of "SAM Testimonial"
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<b>Carolyn Swindle</b>, <i>Coordinator of Disability Services</i>
<b>Carolyn Swindle</b>, <i>Coordinator of Disability Services</i>
Revision as of 13:49, 15 October 2010
Here is a list of quotes from SAM customers:
Georgia Perimeter College 
SAM has been a great addition to our ability to keep good student records, share info on a multi-campus, generate reports, and so on. We still keep files on each student; they contain the original documentation and signed forms (these too can be scanned into SAM if wanted). SAM was invaluable when we had had OCR complaints/issues -- even if the Coordinator from another campus is not in the office, I can access info to respond to the questions as needed, copy what is needed and so on. Saves time and trees and is helpful for covering our "you know what" with a timely response.
AMAC provides us with access to information on all students regardless on which of the 5 campuses we are physically on; it is invaluable to me as Director when I am contacted about a student and do not have access to the Campus Coordinator. We can develop Faculty Accommodation Notifications in a professional timely manner and keep copies on each class for each semester as reference and accountability. Contact notes are completed in a timely manner with date and time automatically. Each of us can add contacts with the paper file on the student's original campus -- several students take classes on different campuses as well as online. We now have quick access to stats and reports without taking up valuable time compiling numbers from paper files. Excellent support from AMAC and a willingness to change and update as needed -- ability to develop and design for a custom fit to Disability Services at GPC.
Bonnie S. Martin, Director, Disability Services
Clayton State University 
“I found SAM to be extremely easy to use. It is very intuitive, encouraging the timely capture of necessary updates and case notes. The AMAC staff provided outstanding assistance in customizing it to our specific needs. Reports are simple to use and provide all that we need to fulfill our reporting requirements. Above all, the price is right and the support service is superb. I can’t say enough good things about the SAM system and the support staff.”
Louise Bedrossian, Ed.S., LPC, Director, Disability Resource Center
Georgia Highlands College 
We have a SAM - and love it - our IT department has customized it to fit our accommodations and campuses. As the Director of a college disability support unit with 6 campuses, the only way I can keep track of students and their needs is to access their records on SAM. Often I need to talk to a student about their accommodations or answer faculty questions about a student - I used to tell them to wait until I was on whichever campus the file (paper) was located and I'll call them back after I had the file in front of me. I still keep paper files, but all information is loaded into SAM. As long as I have a connection to the internet, I can pull up a student's record and get immediate information. Of course, the data still has to be input and that is time-consuming, but in the long run it really saves us time. I have not used SAM to it's full capability yet, because we stay so busy and haven't had time to fully set up our Accommodation Letter in SAM, nor have we been able to really use it for reporting as on the BOR report, because the information does not match up enough - but using it for an informational database makes it worthwhile.
Sheryl Ballenger, M.Ed., Director of Student Support Services
Gainesville State College 
My first response is “We love SAM”. It has made everyone’s job so much easier. Every staff member in the office uses SAM. After working with 13 databases in the past, it is wonderful to be able to pull up a student’s account and be able to access almost any information you might need is great.
Student Information: We were able to customize this to match up with BANNER so we can download changes made during the semesters. We have also added information that was specific to our office. Student status, Enrollment, file location, etc. File Location: What is the status of their documentation.
Disabilities: We input the disability and code or pertinent information. We don’t input the actual documentation as this would take up a tremendous amount of space. Consent Forms: We can know in an instant is we have a content form for the person requesting information. Case Notes: you know immediately what went on at your last meeting, email, phone call. It also saves a lot of paper. Tests: We schedule all of the tests we proctor in SAM. AMAC – NEON (AMAC accessible textbook ordering application) is connected to SAM so we can pull up that information.
Accommodations: One of the best aspects is the ability to generate Accommodation Notifications for students. Classes’ schedules and general information is downloaded into SAM from Banner on regular bases, so changes like address, phone number and class changes never have to be input individually.
Reports for annual reports are so much easier and more accurate. But daily reports are the most helpful. How many students registered with DS is register for classes this semester. How many are in Learning support classes. How many students picked up their accommodation memos? Did they priority register for classes? Are they testing in the DS office? How many classes will need C-Print.?
And the list is endless. These reports help with planning for the office and staff. They are great when requesting additional staff or more testing rooms and etc. Administration loves numbers and it helps to make your case. I’m sorry, I got carried away. (not just a couple of comments, but there are so many things that SAM does for us, it is hard to mention just a couple). Use what you need. Also if another institution would like to come and see SAM in action at our campus, they are welcome. Just let me know.
Carolyn Swindle, Coordinator of Disability Services
California State University Fresno 
(Q)As our office moves forward with the possible purchase of the SAM Database, one of the challenges that I have identified is our lack of a departmental computer tech or identified staff member on campus with computer expertise to see us through the process.
First let me share that the SAM program was developed using the Intuit-Quick Base program, which is extremely user friendly. The online technical support and help features for this product have proven to be very helpful, for not only to making the adjustments myself, but to know what options are available to have the SAM support group create things for me. The only communication we had with Tech support from our campus was to request security approval since it was a web-based product. Now that would not even be an issue as we have many campus web-based products, but it was a new issue two years ago.
(Q) I am interested in learning about the campus tech support (i.e., departmental, divisional, etc) that you had during the negotiation with the vendor;
I had been on a two year search for a product that would work for our needs, and nothing was specific to the program services we support. The developers of SAM had just announced their product coming soon. I contacted them and through discussions we became one of their beta tests sites and helped with the extended development of the product by sharing the specific areas that a program like ours would cover. The product you see available now includes some of the tables that we help developed with the team. Our director at the time arranged for approval of the cost of the product otherwise no-one outside of our unit was involved. We simply took what we do now piece by piece, form by form, and worked with our assigned support tech to develop it. He provided extended training to me as the administrator so we could create our own things, and then on-line training to my entire staff. They are willing to come on site for training but it simply was not necessary. On-line support tools for training are also available for SAM. I am not a programmer/technician but have good basic computer skills and working with the tech for SAM, we modified things to fit us. It was very easy to learn and administer the program. Again, we simply provided them with our process documents for each section and gathered their recommendations. Most we could do ourselves, but they assisted as we needed. I have paid no additional customer support fees beyond the $250 per year customer service fees. Prior to this term I have asked our SAM rep to created tables for me, but this term we added one ourselves and it was very simple. I am calling less and less for assistance. Though I appreciate so much the willingness to brainstorm with us on potential changes to help fine tune our work flow.
(Q) Add on modules to the database that you requested to be developed).
We have been adding sections of our service on a regular basis and now have all services on SAM. We just completed the development of our campus transportation scheduling program and it was a couple days of work to develop it. We simply sent our process documents and forms to our SAM support tech and he made the recommendations, then I was able to do most of it myself.
(Q) Data clean up and transfer from your then existing database during the initial implementation phase. The first thing is to get all of your data available in an access or excel format (access can be converted but to import to SAM data needs to be in excel CVS format). We sent sample reports containing just a few lines of fake data from our then current data bases to our SAM rep so they could see what we would be importing. Working with the SAM folks we made adjustments to the Column headings, etc to match SAM, or Sam modified to match us depending on what we wanted. Again, if your data can be moved to an excel-CSV comma delimited format, then it will easily export into SAM.
(Q) When issues occurred after the initial implementation phase.
The customer service for the SAM program has been outstanding! Two years later they remain readily available and willing to explore options with us, it has been a great experience. Though I must admit our representative Todd Runkle has been outstanding to work with since day one.
Q) From what I recall, your database also receives periodic downloads from PeopleSoft, which we would also like to implement. I am interested in learning about how you went about this as well from a technical standpoint. The key for synchronizing with PeopleSoft is that your labels match exactly. We did it both ways for a series of information we use. I have both designed what I need in SAM and then made the request to PeopleSoft about what data I want included in a special report, and I have started with PeopleSoft and then my SAM tech created the SAM side. Once reports were ready, my SAM tech developed the synchronized report. I simply request the report as needed from PeopleSoft; download it to Excel and save it on the desktop in CSV format. Then I use the SAM tool to synchronize the SAM data to the PS data, and import it to SAM. The processes for the move from excel to SAM takes about 1 minute. People soft is slower. E.g. I do a daily update of class schedules for our students; people soft takes 15 minutes to run the report. With this class data, we run our professor verification letters, import class information into an “alternate format textbook request order form” and import the same class data into a test request for scheduling exams. This way there are no errors for imputing data. It has reduced time for student assistant’s data entry tremendously.
(Q) My AVP and VP are looking for me to identify the type of expertise, level of service needed (i.e., number of hours per week or over a specified period of time that had technical support), and over what period of time. I would appreciate your input. An on-site tech person is simply not needed to set-up and run this program. You might consider hiring a grad student to work with your SAM rep on the data transfer but a professional tech person is of little added value. I did personally spend a lot of time working with my Rep (Todd Runkle from SAM) because I would be administering the program. He walked me thru a check-list they have for set-up and was available for questions always. I would recommend taking the set-up step by step: E.G. All student data: Disabilities, Accommodations, first and then adding other tables one at a time. Currently we now have ALL applications and services provided for our department processed through Sam, which allows some significant reporting options.
Janice L. Brown, Director Services for Students with Disabilities