The Big Switch: Alma

The login screen for Alma.

The login screen for Alma.

Alma, a controversial switch from the previously used Student Information System (SIS) Focus, may not have the best reputation among students. In a recent survey of RPA students revealed, five of the seven students disliked the change to Alma from Focus, of the respondents most disliked the switch because, their transcripts are unavailable, there is bad phone compatibility, and finally and possibly the most frustrating feature your grades are hard to find and difficult to understand compared to Focus. Here are what some of the students have to say about the subject.

A large majority of students are desperate for the addition of an online transcript to Alma. As shown by Nate when he says “Another reason is the lack of a transcript.” Many students depended on Focus to allow them to view their transcript at a moment's notice. “I hate Alma, it needs a transcript, It is nice to be able know that  your transcript is looking good” reminds Lexi. Getting a transcript on Alma needs to be a high priority concern, and it is obvious that it is when recent knowledge surfaced from Ryan McLaughlin when he said “Alma is coming this January.”

A certain portion of the student population enjoy Alma for the extra accessibility. This is heard when Sylest says “Items are easier to find and access.” Alma is much clearer and offers a better user interface; that is when it is not handicapped by phone accessibility. Accessibility and maneuverability are key features in student information systems and Alma has them.

Students consider grades to be difficult to access. Scrolling thru different classes in this small tab called “Grades” is a difficulty synchronizes with Nate when he says “All grades need to be easily accessible, and shown on the same page.” Considering the fact grades are how a student know how they are doing in school grade accessibility must be a well crafted feature. Without good grade accessibility a student information system will lose some of its purpose.

The shaky state of Alma continues to be an issue for students. Grades can not be accessed with the ease of other student information systems. Transcripts continue to be absent from the entirety of Alma; it’s saving grace being that it will be added in January, all students will be looking forward to that. Alma not being a complete failure has more accessibility for students. Hopefully these issues will be resolved and RPA can continue being a shining star amongst the darkest of nights.


Colin White