Institutional Research

AIER Technical Introduction

Firefox Tabs

EMU information systems recommends and supports Mozilla Firefox.

Firefox tabs

The recently deployed version 2.0 of Firefox includes a tab feature that may be confusing to some users. Instead of opening links in a new window, Firefox opens a new tab in a bar atop the page content (outlined in red). To return to your original web page you can click the previous tab (1) or close the current tab (2).

List View

list view

After logging in you’ll be taken to the report listing. A new feature this year is the yellow year-navigation bar at the top of the page (1). Below this, two types of reports are shown: those you have access to as a writer (2) and those that have been published (3)—information on publishing is found below. To continue, click on the “Edit” link beside a report to edit it (4); you’ll be taken to the [Start] tab.

Tab Bar

tab bar

The tab bar (1) is shown near the top of every page. It allows you to navigate from one section of the report to another. The leftmost tab, [List] takes you back to the report listing. The next tab, [Overview], shows you the final version of your report as other readers will see it. The tab you’re currently viewing will be shown with black print on a white background, as the [Start] tab in the screenshot above.

Managing Authorized Report Writers

managing users

This year we’ve added controls for managing report writers (2) to the start tab. To add an authorized report writer, click the "add a new writer link (3), enter a part of the person’s name in the search box (4) and click the [Search] button (5). Names matching your search will appear below; click on the person’s username at right (6) to add them as a report writer.

Report Aides

report aides

You will find several features repeated throughout the report:

Direct links to help guidelines (1) appear as blue text, like other links in the system, but will be marked by a small question mark icon.
Orange note sections (2) are new this year. They contain information about report deadlines and changes to the report’s structure since last year.
Instruction sections (3), marked by a blue background and pencil icon, contain specific instructions about the text areas which follow.
Explanation sections (4) in red provide additional information about the text areas to which they correspond.
Not shown are links to supplemental data files within instruction or explanation text. These appear in blue text like other links within the system.

General Features

This screen shot of the “Getting Started” section shows many important elements within the AIER system:

general features screenshot

Each tab of the report contains one or more text areas (1). These allow you to enter or modify text.
Below each text area you’ll find a rich text editor control bar (2). These buttons should be familiar to Microsoft Word users; they allow you to format your text. The full screen button (3) is particularly useful: it expands the text area to simplify editing large blocks of text. We encourage you to write the text within the AIER application and use the rich text controls instead of copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word.
Midway through last year we introduced the attachment option (4), visible only on the [Start] tab. To add an attachment click the [Browse…] button (5), navigate to the file you want to attach and click the [Ok] button. The document will be attached when you next save your report.
Near the bottom of the [Start] tab is the publishing checkbox (6). When your report is complete check this box and save your changes. Once a report has been published you cannot edit it again.
Finally, at the bottom of each page you’ll find a [Save changes] button (7). Use it often! Be sure to wait until the page reloads before closing the window or navigating elsewhere.

Last Year’s Responses

responses screenshot

Two more new features this year relate to data from last year’s report. Wherever data from last year’s report is available a link and calendar icon will appear at the upper right corner of the text area (1). You can click this to show what was entered at that point in last year’s report. If you wish, you may copy last year’s response into this year’s report by clicking the link and arrow at the lower right corner of the yellow area (2).

If you’ve already entered text the system will warn you that copying will overwrite your existing data and ask if you want to continue. We suggest copying last year’s response first and editing it, or copying and pasting the text yourself.


Program outcomes from last year’s report have already been copied into your report. Undergraduate, graduate and non-traditional programs now have a new “Administrative Outcomes” section in this tab. Since this option wasn’t available last year you may have to move some administrative outcomes into the new section. You can do this by copying and pasting the text, then deleting the old outcome.

outcomes screenshot

To add an outcome find and click the “Add a new outcome” link at the bottom of the [Outcomes] tab (3). The system will add a new outcome block to your report with areas for definition, benchmarks and evaluation. To delete an outcome find and click the “Delete this outcome” link at the bottom of the outcome you want to delete (2).

Since outcome blocks can be quite long, this year we’ve added the ability to show or hide an outcome. Hiding an outcome does not remove it from your report, it simply hides it from view so you can more easily see other outcomes. To hide an outcome find and click the “Show/hide this outcome” link at the the top of the outcome you wish to hide (1). To show the outcome again, click the link a second time.