Creating Unity

by Angela Niesz

Students will now be able to buy books directly through their StormFront thanks to a merge between them and the Simpson Bookstore.

StormFront and the bookstore were merged because the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires colleges to define the full-cost of education for each student.

Kelly Bradder, vice president for information services, explained how students would be affected by the integration.

“The integration makes identifying and purchasing books very convenient,” Bradder said. “You can identify the book and correct class materials, whether the materials are available to purchase new, used or available to rent.”

Laurie Bowers, application system analyst, talks about how it specifically affects the student.

“The whole idea is to help the student know how much the class is going to cost them,” Bowers said. “It was all for the benefit of the student.”

The main difference coming out of this union is the method students use to search for books.

“(Students) no longer have to search for the correct books by entering a course name, the professor and section,” Bradder said. “Students simply register or search for a class, and the integration uses the information from StormFront to select the specific books for the class.”

After students click to see what books they will need they can buy their books without having to look them up on the bookstore’s website.

“It connects you directly to the bookstore online and selects the correct class materials without having to re-enter any information, like section or course number,” Bradder said.

Bowers went into more detail on how the process works.

“Basically what happens is that the faculty defines the material that they’re going to use, and they provide that info to the bookstore,” Bowers said. “When a student is registering or just searching for classes they can select a specific section and when they select that section it takes them to a section information screen. On there is an option to look at the book information, and that book information links to the bookstore.”

After finding the classes, all the student has to do is click on the check availability link, which will take them directly to the bookstore.

Other people who will be affected by this change are faculty members because they will need to have the books to be used for their courses turned in earlier.

“The faculty has to define the materials and provide that information to the bookstore,” Bowers said.

Some things will remain the same, however.

According to Kathy Magruder, bookstore manager, this change will have little effect on the bookstore.

“Honestly, the HEOA doesn’t affect the bookstore,” Magruder said. “It has to do with reporting, and the school has to deal with it, not the bookstore.”

Many people contributed to this project, which was started last April and completed in June.

“Laurie Bowers did all the programming. She worked very closely with the Registrar’s office staff and Follett representatives,” Bradder said.

Bowers had a specific wish regarding the work she did.

“I just hope that the students find it useful,” Bowers said.