FAQs

Below are answers to the most frequently asked technical questions from institutions seeking to purchase Terra Dotta software. Detailed information on any of these topics is available upon request.

  1. Is Terra Dotta PCI compliant?
  2. Following an exhaustive audit of our hosting services at our U.S. data center in Louisville, KY, we are pleased to announce that Terra Dotta is PCI certified.  PCI DSS v3.0 is the latest security standard published by the Payment Card Industry for service providers and others who interact with online payment processes. For more on what PCI DSS certification means for Terra Dotta and its clients, click here.
  1. Will Terra Dotta software integrate with campus data systems?
  2. Many institutions using Terra Dotta software integrate their site with the various information systems on campus, such as any Student Information System, Human Resources Directory, or Secure Campus Login System, from major names like Banner, PeopleSoft, and Datatel to homegrown systems. Many interface options are available, including LDAP, CAS, Shibboleth, webservices and any other systems. Integrating with campus systems allows applicants to login to Terra Dotta software using their campus login credentials and pull the desired student information into the software to ensure that it’s accurate and complete.
  1. Can Terra Dotta software import legacy data?
  2. When implementing a new data system, it is important for offices to keep historical records intact. Terra Dotta clients can import this type of data into Terra Dotta software through a user-friendly data import tool.
  1. Will information remain secure?
  2. Terra Dotta software delivers information through both public and private interfaces. Database security and FERPA/HIPAA are crucial considerations in our development process and user-permissions system. Terra Dotta software security is thoroughly tested internally by Terra Dotta engineers and externally by WhiteHat Security.
  1. How is hosting handled?
  2. Terra Dotta hosting services allow clients to avoid the time and cost of procuring and supporting the servers and database needed to run Terra Dotta software. Terra Dotta servers are housed in a top-tier, SAS 70 Type II certified data center in Louisville, Kentucky. Terra Dotta is responsible for performing all server updates and maintenance on our hosted systems. This includes the server operating system and web server software, database software, backups, Terra Dotta software, and all hot-fixes, patches, and version upgrades.
  1. Can Terra Dotta software be installed on my servers?
  2. Most clients now opt to install their Terra Dotta software system using Terra Dotta Hosting Services.  We strongly encourage this approach, given the cost savings and support benefits that our hosting provides. Read more about these benefits--including optimal software configuration, rapid implementation during the integration process, and early software patches--in our whitepaper: Terra Dotta Hosting Services.  For more details, please visit our System Requirements page.
  1. Can graphic design be customized?
  2. The visual design elements of Terra Dotta software can be customized so that your site has a distinct look and feel.

    Here are some examples of client sites that have unique designs:
    Loyola University New Orleans, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University.

  1. How easy is implementation?
  2. Once Terra Dotta software is purchased, an institution can begin implementation of their website content. The implementation stage can be completed in just a few weeks or may take several months, depending on program size, process complexity, and where you want to start in your application or program cycle. New clients are given a step-by-step guide that will walk them through the process of implementing the software. Terra Dotta also offers tips for project management and content-development services to help clients launch their new software as quickly as possible. An implementation timeline is available upon request.
International Student & Scholar Services
  1. We have x number of students–is batch right for us?
  2. Large or small, schools with any size international student and scholar population can benefit from the efficiencies of SEVIS batch software. TDS can detect and report changes from your international student and scholar records and report them directly to SEVIS. The end result is reduced record review time, significantly less data entry and automated workflows to free up your time for your other important responsibilities.
  1. How will TDS enhance our student and scholar support?
  2. TDS supports and enhances the international student and scholar experience on your campus. Give your advisees a portal from which they can communicate with you, initiate requests and applications, and view the information that you make available to them. Simplify requirements though online checklists, streamline communication through automatic email and SMS text alerts, provide integrated online orientation and workshops to deliver key information on U.S. academic culture, immigration requirements, and more.
  1. Do I need TDS to make SEVIS updates for me?
  2. TDS integrates with your on-campus databases to track changes and updates that impact immigration records. Updates can be batched to SEVIS using our SEVIS Module or reported directly to SEVIS RTI using our Embedded RTI enhancement. Of course, you can always access SEVIS RTI whenever you wish.
  1. How do I get data out of the software?
  2. TDS allows you to report on any data collected in the software regarding your international students and scholars. This includes data on enrollment, retention, SEVIS, immigration requests and applications, academic programs, orientation, and more. The data fields that you build in the software gather data for querying and reporting. For example, you can develop reports to locate records for international undergraduate students who have applied for Optional Practical Training. Once you gather the desired data in your reports, you can export it to Excel or securely share it with colleagues across campus.
  1. Is the information customizable?
  2. While many campuses are similar, no two are the same. Our software is flexible and can conform to your processes, cycles, and workflow. You can utilize different program types, modify default system vocabulary, and build user profile data fields and questionnaires to gather the data you need. Once your site is built, administrators can process and save important information using the powerful search and reporting tools in the software. Your office can build the system to follow your workflow.
  1. Will the software keep pace with SEVIS changes and updates?
  2. Terra Dotta is an active partner with SEVP and is committed to responding expediently to SEVIS updates, regulatory changes, and best practices in the field. We are working closely with SEVP and a working group of over a dozen campuses to ensure that our product meets and exceeds the needs of the ISSS office.
  1. Will I be alerted when student and scholar records change?
  2. TDS will notify advisors when SEVIS-specific information changes on student or scholar records, such as major, minor, or addresses, creating an automatic SEVIS update record. Users will also be able to review in TDS a record of changes pushed from their student information system.
  1. How can my advisees submit online requests and applications?
  2. TDS allows your international students and scholars to complete integrated, online requests and applications for advisor review. Let your students and scholars upload their digital documents and attach them to their online records. Use checklists to simplify requirements. Keep your student and scholars on task with automatic email and SMS text reminders to students and scholars who need to complete specific tasks.
  1. Can TDS help my office manage orientations and workshops?
  2. Yes. TDS enables you to provide key information through integrated online orientation modules before and after arrival. Use assessment modules to test understanding of U.S. academic culture, immigration requirements, and more.
  1. What kind of support and training does TDS offer for the software?
  2. TDS provides online support and written and video documentation for end users. We hold TDU, an annual user conference, in a different location each year, along with an ISSS Summit geared specifically to our ISSS users. New user workshops are also provided in-person twice a year, typically in conjunction with other conferences.
Alert Traveler®
  1. Can this be used as a standalone app?
  2. No. This is essentially a plug-in for a current Terra Dotta license. It is intended for use in study abroad, travel registries, international student and scholar offices, and service learning.
  1. Do I need new software?
  2. No. There is no new site to go to and no learning curve. Get up and live with AlertTraveler® immediately.
    Request a demo >
  1. Is SMS text messaging available with AlertTraveler®?
  2. AlertTraveler® provides SMS text messaging capabilities in addition to push notifications and email communication. Text messaging is optional and usage-based fees apply.
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