The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Highline scrambles to bring students up to speed on new computer system

Isabella Anderson Staff Reporter Jan 28, 2021

Informing students about ctcLink amidst a pandemic has required Highline officials to get creative, as the date for the system to go live draws near.

CtcLink is a system that will replace several computer systems, affecting almost all remote learning aspects except Canvas and Outlook e-mail accounts. Staff and faculty have been training to use the system since summer.

CtcLink is also a statewide system, this means that student records show up in any of Washington’s technical or community colleges. CtcLink account activations begin on Feb. 16.

Because Highline is having to reach out to students strictly remotely due to COVID-19, staff and faculty are having to get creative with how they inform students about ctcLink, said Raechel Dawson, Highline communications and marketing official.

“Highline College staff members are doing our best to reach students in a variety of ways to inform them that ctcLink is coming,” Dawson said. “But, as you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our ability to reach students in person and on campus.”

This has made informing students more challenging, but Highline officials have continued to send out details on ctcLink in many ways.

“This requires us to think creatively and rely on standard communication methods, such as regular, weekly emails to all students, branded social media posts — including targeted, paid digital advertising — building a comprehensive website and ensuring our main Highline College website prominently displays ctcLink information focused toward students,” she said.

“There is currently a web banner, a news post redirect and two links to the ctcLink website on the homepage,” Dawson said. “We’ve also posted a message to students on Canvas and will continue to update that message as ctcLink account activation draws nearer.”

Alongside this, approximately 13,000 students received a postcard in the mail about ctcLink last week.

“The postcard provided some information and benefits of ctcLink, as well as directed recipients to view for the most up-to-date information,” Dawson said.

And if students are confused about anything related to ctcLink, they’re encouraged to email with their questions.

But despite difficulties getting students to pay attention to ctcLink, Dawson is excited for the change’s students, staff and faculty will head into – but especially students, she said.

“Students have much more exciting things to look forward to,” Dawson said. “Students can expect Degree Audit to be replaced with academic advisement reports, a single ctcLink ID and personal record for all community colleges a student has attended or is attending [in one spot].”

They can also utilize “one online student center where students can register for classes, handle financial aid processes, pay tuition and fees, add/drop or swap classes, contact an instructor or adviser, manage personal contact information, view grades, track academic goals and apply for graduation,” she said.

Students can learn more about the ctcLink, and access the student self-service training course at

Besides all these resources, staff and faculty are also equipped to help students through this process.

“Do know Highline College staff and faculty will be available to help students as we transition to ctcLink,” Dawson said. “Students will not be alone in this major change.”