In the fall of 2011 the College of Arts & Sciences made the decision to migrate the departments that were supported by the Financial Service Centers to the newly introduced MyLeave time collection solution that CU System was rolling out. This move was consistent with other large employers in both public and private sectors seeking to modernize and improve accuracy and reliability of paper time reporting methods, such as spreadsheets and card-fed time clocks. The FSC recognized that quality training was vital to successfully implementing the MyLeave solution and took on the role of working with departments to migrate their procedures to this new application.On one particular occasion I was asked to lead a My Leave training workshop for students and supervisors in the Department of Theater and Dance. Planning the training, reserving a space and equipment (laptop, projector) and finally, presenting, required approximately 1.5 -2.0 hours of my time. Unfortunately, when I began the training presentation, the MyCU info website went down. Consequently the training could not proceed as intended. I did my best to talk briefly through the major steps and also spent time answering questions; however, this training was not the best use of anyone’s time and I have my doubts about how much of our “MyLeave conversation” was retained long enough to be of any use when students and supervisors finally sat down to use the application on their own. This experience motivated me to seek alternatives to in-person workshops, but still provide quality training that would teach a student how to use the program in the shortest time possible. Asking “What can we at the FSC do to make training better?”, led to the question: “How do they, the student employees, prefer to learn?”It should come as no surprise that our target audience is highly adept at using the web to find information. YouTube reports 800 million new users each month, many of which are in our target group age range. A recent search on YouTube using the phrase, “How to tie a tie” revealed 12.9 million views. YouTube statistics show that videos are watched for instructional purposes, not just for entertainment.

(Note: I was assisted by my coworker, Joshua Firestone


I proposed to my FSC management that we create an instructional video on how to use the MyLeave application. After obtaining the approval to proceed, I recruited my coworker, Joshua Firestone to assist me in this endeavor. We selected the student employee population because more time is spent training these employees throughout the year due to a high turnover rate (they are continually graduating).We utilized a free trial of screen filming software called Camtasia Studio 8 and in January 2013, we had our first “rough” version of the new MyLeave training video. It is a five-minute video that demonstrates to a new student employee how to configure the MyLeave application and record and report time. The video can be accessed from any computer, 24 hours a day and viewed on-screen thus allowing a student to learn and implement instructions simultaneously. Following several reviews the video recently “went live” and this training is now available on the College of Arts and Sciences Financial Service Center website.

Implementation Status

The FSC supports more than 60 departments within the College of Arts and Sciences. Individual meetings and phone calls are not always the best ways to disseminate training because it is neither time effective, nor cost effective, and it cannot be referenced later on. Our solution allows users to watch the video whenever is most convenient for them and to re-play the training as often as needed. This has improved the support we provide to our student employees while significantly reducing man-hours spent designing and conducting training. This video is now utilized across all of the FSC supported departments as well as by other Colleges and departments. We have received very positive feedback about this exciting, scalable solution. Due to the favorable feedback we have received we have initiated the creation of a training video for My Leave time collection for both classified and university staff as well.The FSC leadership is most excited about this endeavor for the following reasons:

  • We are able to provide a better service to our departments
  • We are able to do so using substantially less man-hours
  • We are able to leverage low-cost technology
  • We are able to continuously update and improve our video

Submitted by: David Nicoll and Joshua Firestone, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder