Celeste Phelps Director, Disability Support Services - Disability Support Services (DSS)
Experience before using Clockwork:
What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing Clockwork?
• Misfiled Documents: We retained all student documents in paper files – DSS applications, educational records, disability verifications, release forms, and educational contracts. It was extremely difficult to maintain an organized file system with paper files. Numerous staff had to access files to serve students. At times, DSS staff or assistants inadvertently misplaced or refiled them in the wrong order creating challenges to find the files for the next student meeting.
• File Space: We are required to keep student files for a number of years. It was extremely difficult to find and secure physical storage to keep and maintain paper files.
• Case Notes: DSS staff and faculty add notes to student files after every interaction. It is imperative to access case notes prior to upcoming student meetings to know how to assist students with future requests. Because we used paper files, we had to handwrite our case/meeting notes. Unfortunately, not all notes were legible. This created barriers to know how to serve students with subsequent requests or in future meetings.
• Long Lines to Request Accommodation Letters: Many students waited until the first week of every semester to request their accommodation letters. Therefore, every first week, students had to wait in line to meet with a counselor or staff member to obtain their accommodation letters. At times, the line was so long, they waited for 1-2 hours for their letters.
• Lost Accommodation Letters: DSS used paper accommodation letters and issued them to the student to deliver to their professors. Some students misplaced letters and had to return to DSS in person to obtain a copy.
• MIS Tracking and Reporting: DSS must report student contacts to the State Chancellors Office at the end of the fall and spring semesters and summer term. While we developed an effective system to track and report student contacts, we spent an inordinate amount of time creating manual tracking systems. It also took much time to reconcile our student enrollment with contacts at the end of every semester/term.
• Delayed Student Headcount: Using manual processes, we rarely could access an immediate and accurate student headcount.
• Service Areas Manual Tracking: DSS staff assigned to a specific service area (i.e. alternate media, sign language interpreting) tracked and maintained their services individually and manually. Therefore, other staff members could not easily access the services provided to students when the assigned member was out of the office.
• In-Person Request for Services: Unless students were designated a “distance learner,” all students were required to request their disability services in-person.
What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
TechnoPro designed a product specialized for disability services in higher education. They were able to tailor it to meet the specific needs of our individual disability program. Furthermore, they employed professionals and technicians who understood the California Community College system and its nuances of reporting and serving students and its regulations.
Also, ClockWork was housed on our district network server rather than their own. Our District IT (at the time) required a management system that we could maintain and secure within our electronic structure.
What did your decision-making process look like?
Cypress College is one of three institutions within the North Orange County Community College District. Therefore, the three DSS programs had to agree on one program management system that met all programmatic needs. Cypress College scheduled meetings and demonstrations with three different companies, which included TechnoPro’s ClockWork. Not only did TechnoPro assert to provide an electronic mechanism, CW, to meet the diverse needs of our program and students, but they also offered a product that allowed us to maintain it on our district server and also design it in a way that supported our organizational structure and processes. We communicated with our District IT to begin negotiating with TechnoPro.
Experience using our product/service:
How long did it take to get up and running? Did that meet your expectations? Who was involved in the process?
From the time we purchased ClockWork to the first module implementation, it took approximately 6-8 months. Much of this time was spent scanning, organizing, and uploading existing paper student files to the Clockwork platform. To begin the implementation, we launched the basic module first. Subsequently, we launched other modules one at a time when we and our students were ready. We have been on Clockwork for approximately 6-7 years and are actively using all available modules (calendar, online intake, self-registration, alternate media, test taking, accommodation letters, note-taking, and appointment scheduling). ClockWork has recently released the forms module that we will be launching within the next couple of weeks.
All DSS staff and faculty were involved in the process to get ClockWork up and running. Our in-house assigned CW expert worked closed with TechnoPro professionals to build and launch the modules. TechnoPro provided end-user trainings to the DSS team.
What is your favorite feature? Why?
Our favorite and most beneficial features are the online intake and self-registration modules. When the pandemic started in 2020, we had already launched the online intake and self-registration modules. As such, we transitioned to a COVID remote format with ease and minimal complications. We witnessed other campus services and offices struggle to function remotely. We were extremely relieved and grateful we had begun the remote launch well before the pandemic.
Other features we appreciate are the online appointment booking and test-taking modules and the capability to have every service, appointment, file, and report at our fingertips and with immediate responses.
How have you benefited from using Clockwork?
We have been using ClockWork for approximately 6-7 years and continue to appreciate the ease of adjusting and fine-tuning each module and screen to best meet the needs of our program and students.
How is the product helping you save time and increase productivity?
We no longer experience lost paper files or challenges finding physical space to keep student documents. Our entire program is now maintained and organized in one system. We can access complete student files with a click of a button. Students no longer need to visit the DSS office in person to request services. They may request all services and access letters and documents using their online student portal. Tracking MIS for state reporting purposes no longer takes numerous days. Instead, CW exports the data into one spreadsheet making it simple to reconcile. Using their portal, instructional faculty can easily and quickly determine if they have students in class who requested accommodations. They can also upload their exams and testing parameters via their portal instead of taking time to hand-deliver them.
In summary, ClockWork has given the DSS program a chance to reinvent itself. The need to dedicate hundreds of hours to maintain and adjust manual processes and procedures to serve a large disability program has disappeared. We now use the extra time that CW has given us to building programs, refining services, understanding system needs, and better serving our students.
Support (Post Implementation):
Please describe your experience with ClockWork Support Team?
At the start of our partnership with CW, we knew there would be location and time zone challenges. Being in California, we coordinated our trainings and made sure to contact the CW team before their close of business (three hours ahead). While there were inevitable times we needed support after hours, they have since made themselves available and on-call well into the evening time. We appreciate the support and availability they give to our team at all hours.
Since our original implementation, we have transitioned to and are now happily using the hosted version of ClockWork. As with each step of our CW implementation, the CW team supported our transition to the hosted version. The CW team is patient and creative in finding solutions for specific program issues. They listen to what we need and talk through the systems to determine if a function already exists or, instead, how they will create one.
What is the single biggest reason you would recommend ClockWork?
ClockWork is an overarching program management system that allows DSS professionals to access all student files and services within seconds. Simply, it has given precious time back to DSS to do what we are meant to do – serve our students well.