by Ibrahim Ekin
I was not a Hostos employee when the Hostos Student Reward Points Program (HSRPP) project started in 2006. I was hired as a contractor to participate in the implementation of the project and my duties included creating new as well as using existing database tables provided by IT, and writing the core functionality of the system for OIT (now EdTech). Other designers used my back-end code to create web pages for the program. I attended countless meetings with the parties participating in the development of HSRPP. Although I thought it was a cool idea, I didn’t initially see the full potential of the system. After several months of work, the system was finally ready.
I have been working full-time as an instructional designer at Hostos since last fall. I now have the advantage of seeing clearly why the program is so important.
Yes, there are really cool people at Hostos with really cool ideas. They work hard to provide new services and resources to Hostos students: more smart rooms, more computer labs, more online course content, more books, more tutors, more workshops, etc.
At the end they also realize that the most important thing is not just providing these services or resources but making sure students utilize them effectively, or even encouraging students to utilize them in the first place. Does it mean much, for example, if the number of books checked out in a library within a given period of time does not change after doubling the size of the collection? What if you miraculously manage to find a way to double the number of the check-outs without adding a single book to your library? Would that be more meaningful? Of course I do not mean that the library should stop buying books, but wouldn’t it be great if the rate of increase in check-outs became higher than the rate of increase in the number of books?
Reward Points comes into play at this point. The school administrators are constantly working on providing students new resources. Reward Points is a good platform to promote them. Reward Points participation data has shown significant increases each year. Each ‘earned point’ entry in the database corresponds to an extracurricular activity: completion of a technology workshop, faculty evaluation, etc.
Please visit the Rewards Points Program site: