Learning management features include the ability for students to use Web portals to access official or unofficial transcripts, determine extent of progress toward achieving degree requirements, register for courses, submit class assignments, make tuition payments, and apply for financial aid.
Such features also include providing access to the system from a mobile application, the ability to grant family members access to the account, and the capability to monitor all courses students are enrolled in from a single interface. Schools received an equal number of points for each learning management system feature made available to students.
Additional online functions include the ability for students to complete and submit course evaluation forms, reserve library materials, receive instant alerts from a campus-wide emergency alert system, report emergencies to authorities, secure on-campus housing, and order food using meal plan credits. Schools received an equal number of points for each function they reported making available online.
The online technical support component is based partially on whether online technical support is made available to students, partially on whether such support is available to students in real time, and partially on whether any real-time support offered is accessible to students 24-7. The latter two indicators are weighted heaviest.
The component measuring school support for student websites evaluates whether students can make use of the school's Internet server to publish their own authored websites. A school received the full value if this option was available to all students, while it received only partial credit if it was available only to students in approved clubs or organizations.
Resources (25 percent): High speed Internet use is augmented by technologies provided to students and faculty. This measure has five equally weighted components: computers distributed to students (20 percent of the resources score), mobile devices distributed to faculty (20 percent), student access to private cloud storage (20 percent), percentage of journal holdings made available to students online (20 percent), and percentage of classrooms with online projection capabilities (20 percent).
For the component measuring computers distributed to students, schools received the full score if they provide a free tablet or laptop computer to all new entrants, while they received partial credit if they provide discounted computers to all new entrants, or free computers to some new entrants.
For the mobile devices distributed to faculty component, schools received the full score if they issued free mobile devices to all faculty members on a permanent ownership basis. Likewise, for the student access to private cloud storage score, schools either received the full score or no score at all depending upon whether they offered their students access to private cloud storage.
The component measuring the percentage of journal holdings available online to students is derived from each school's percentage of library journal holdings that were made available to undergraduate students through remote online access. A school with 100 percent of journal holdings available online received the full score, while all other schools had their percentages multiplied by the 20 percent weight.
Likewise, the percentage of classrooms with interactive whiteboard capabilities, allowing professors to project the Web on screens, is multiplied by the 20 percent weight to produce each school's score for that component.
The data used to compute the Connectivity Index are correct as of Nov. 15, 2012.