Frederick Community College (FCC) is home to over 10,000+ students, teachers, and faculty in Frederick, MD. FCC offers 16 specialized Letters of Recognition and available degrees include an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching and Associate of Applied Science and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Management.
As a community college which coordinates with tens of thousands of students, teachers, and administrators, the need for operational efficiencies became apparent in 2015. A committee was assembled to conduct an exploratory project to find solutions to automate and digitize workflow processes. Many of those processes required hard copies being hand-delivered across campus, actual signatures, multiple follow-ups among departments to ensure that paper forms were delivered and received, and often three to four forms per process.
Joyce Ruane, Executive Associate to the Provost/VP for Academic Affairs, and Kara Bennett, Special Projects Coordinator, Learning Support, spearheaded the project, both adamant about improving processes by digitizing antiquated forms. That exhaustive search led them to PerfectApps. With no experience in application development, the language and nomenclature were foreign to them at the start – but they were able to learn the no-code application development platform and successfully designed and deployed web forms and workflow applications to improve daily operations.
They quickly realized that PerfectApps would empower them to transform their workflow processes, reducing manual entries, errors and turnaround times. They began taking the no-code tool to other departments at FCC, knowing that if they were given the opportunity, they could find a way to solve additional workflow problems with custom, no-code solutions.
Frederick Community College has now built over 500 web forms and applications to help streamline workflow processes both internally among administration and staff, but also externally with students and prospective students. Workflow processes like Graduation Applications, Change of Major, and Student Registration have all been digitized and simplified for both students and administrators.
Before PerfectApps, graduation applications were submitted by students via email. FCC faculty then had to draft an email in Microsoft Outlook, merging information and repetitively copying and pasting text in order to acknowledge receipt of the applications. This process has now effectively been moved completely online, where students receive a notification immediately confirming receipt. In a typical year, that is 1,000+ applications submitted electronically that receive an automatic response to acknowledge receipt – saving countless hours of manual emailing and processing.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and in-person classes and on-campus events were shut down, PerfectApps “was a lifesaver”. FCC needed agility, and they got just that with solutions built with PerfectApps. They created workflows for both students and faculty to identify what was needed to create an effective remote learning plan. Data was captured and pushed out to faculty and students based on responses to surveys and questionnaires. They were able to identify technology needs and route those to the appropriate departments and individuals to coordinate laptops, hotspots, and other equipment transfers.
It was during the pandemic that one of their most used applications was developed as well. Previously, students were still filling out a paper form in person to change their major. Through the challenges of the pandemic a simpler, more efficient workflow process was born via PerfectApps. The Change of Major process has now been completely digitized, reducing paper forms and streamlining the process for both students and faculty.
Additionally, Frederick Community College has leveraged online forms and workflow applications for:
- Selective Admissions
- Add/Drop Class Audits
- Credit Registration
- Vacation Requests
- Web Signatures
Ruane shared, “Introducing PerfectApps has been so worthwhile. People are amazed at where we have gotten to from where we started. It’s so much fun to take this drawing canvas and make it do what we need. I can’t think of too many things PerfectApps can’t do.”
After using the no-code tool for the past seven years, a few features continue to stand out as tremendously helpful in automating and improving processes:
- The signature field object has been a tremendous tool due to the volume of documents sent across departments that require signatures, which has led to much faster turnaround times.
- The custom reporting capabilities provide powerful insights which help key stakeholders drive more informed decisions.
- The ability to connect and pull data from 3rd party systems into custom solutions has enhanced productivity since they don’t have to go to multiple applications to share data.
“PerfectApps has made us much more efficient and able to respond to faculty, staff, students, and the general community more effectively and in a timely manner.”
Executive Associate to the Provost/VP for Academic Affairs
Frederick Community College