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Field placements, experiential learning, student placement or work-integrated learning – it doesn’t matter what you call it, on-the-job learning for students is fast expanding and is here to stay.
Innovative universities and programs recognize the need to use technology to support the delivery of field placements in a way that is efficient, meets privacy and other regulatory needs, while also enhancing the experience of all stakeholders – and the reputation of the school.
With strict requirements and harsh penalties for breaches of laws like HIPAA, FERPA and GDPR, coupled with remote workforces, there’s never been a greater need for institutions to strengthen the management of their placement programs.
What is Student Placement Software?
Student placement software is an essential tool for effectively managing field placement programs. Far more fit-for-purpose than any other standard CRM or SIS tool, the best placement software is flexible and scalable enough to support any school in any discipline to automate workflows, communicate with students and host sites seamlessly, manage accreditations, and ensure privacy and compliance standards are met.
Placement Software Strengthens Privacy and Security
You know you can’t have people storing personally-identifiable information in indiscriminate spreadsheets, notebooks, and sticky notes. This practice opens up your organization to huge risk, not to mention those whose data is not being securely managed. A student placement solution gives your organization the tools it needs to manage important data, such as is needed for accreditation, and to comply with laws like HIPAA and FERPA – so you can assure your students and other stakeholders that their data is safe.
Look at Cost Structures and Scalability
When assessing student placement software options, make sure you carefully check pricing models. Prioritize simple pricing that empowers all required end users to be successful. Ensure that the model is scalable as the solution expands across multiple schools in your university. It’s common to see either the school of social work or the school of education adopt a placement solution first, and then as they demonstrate their success, other schools want to employ the same technology. Also ask whether students who use the software are charged; this can be an unwanted complication and something that upsets your student, and therefore staff, population.
Ensure it’s Flexible Enough to Meet the Needs of all Users
Each school at your university uses different terminology, has different processes, and has different requirements and standards that students must meet. Make sure that the student placement management solution you are considering is flexible enough to meet the needs of all disciplines. As an IT team, you want happy customers and streamlined administration – implementing a placement solution that only fits the needs of one school means that down the road you’ll end up with unhappy customers with unmet needs, and multiple placement solutions at your university requiring your team’s time and effort to administer, each bearing their own cost.
Accessibility is Crucial
Today’s IT team builds a culture of accessibility and inclusivity. Check with student placement software vendors that they have a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and that they adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guides (WCAG). This will ensure you continue to deliver the best possible student experiences and meet legal standards.
Hosting that Suits Your Needs
Your organization may have specific hosting requirements, perhaps to meet certain security and administration needs, such as SSO and two-factor authentication, or to fit in with existing hosting solutions. Explore the flexibility of any placement software you’re considering to ensure that it can support your preferred method. Also consider benefits like whether you gain access to a sandbox environment, scaling resources and backups. Whether you’re looking for a cloud, on-premise or private cloud solution, make sure your security and administration needs can be met.
Sonia is the leading software solution for student placement management. It’s easy to use, it powers personalized placements, reliable data management and compliance, and provides the flexibility you need to scale across your organization.
Take your placement program to the next level with Sonia.