Directorate for the Student Experience


Your Questions, Answered

1 May 2018

Last month, we announced the SLP's key improvements proposed for September 2019 and gave colleagues the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback and comments about these. We had a great response and we've tried to answer as many comments as possible. You can still provide feedback here.

Please could you provide more information about how CTS are going to be co-ordinating the use of all teaching spaces? Is there going to be a new room booking system that replaces the multiple different booking systems currently in use (e.g Faculty booking systems, local booking systems, central system)? If so, please can you provide more information about this system, how it is to be used and who is to be using it?

The University has recently purchased Scientia Resource Booker, a new room booking tool which integrates with Syllabus+. This is happening outside of SLP and was triggered by decision at a recent Capital Planning Sub Committee that all School owned teaching rooms must be managed in Syllabus+.

The assumption is that all teaching events will be collected through the timetabling process, and Resource Booker will be used to capture the details of non- teaching events.

Resource Booker will be set up for CTS rooms and some computer clusters in Summer 2018.

The CTS will then be meeting with Schools individually to discuss which rooms they need to have on the system and what the permissions for booking them should be.

There is no proposed change to room ownership in this process.

I am new to the University so sorry if this has already been answered. Will offer letters be moved away from Microsoft Word format? I previously worked at Sheffield Hallam University and we printed offer letters through the student system and was much less prone to error as well as quicker.

Yes – offer letters will be generated from Campus Solutions 9.2 and sent to applicants via email.

The digital attendance monitoring for taught students sounds good. What format will this take and will it be able to cope with students taking a wide range of course units and provide exportable useful data we can use to track overall attendance as well as at course unit level.

SLP has identified that digital attendance monitoring is a requirement and has proposed a method for doing so: a digital register, displaying the faces and names of all students scheduled to take part in a class.

Work on attendance monitoring is on-going outside of the Project and over the coming months a decision will be made to either go with the method identified through the SLP or another form of digital attendance monitoring.

Whichever method is chosen, we will require a solution which works for all types of students and provides us with the ability to run reports on different levels including individual students, course units and programmes.

Postgraduate research thesis examination is not listed above nor covered under any of the other areas, hence ticking the graduation box. Is there any information about the proposed improvements for PGR thesis examination?

There are a number of improvements related to the submission of postgraduate research theses, including productivity improvements from the use of Campus Solutions 9.2 to manage the submission and examination of theses.

This will enable us to notify academics automatically through the new My Manchester when a thesis has been submitted and requires marking and automate some parts of follow up processes.

Hi, I was wondering whether this includes part-time students: in the past, it has been tricky to enroll students from different years in 1 course unit on Blackboard...is this being considered?

Distance, blended and part time students are being included in the work that’s currently being undertaken in relation to programme enrolment and our ambition is to simplify enrolment for these students and reduce problems like this.

Although the lifecycle area is name ' Learning, Researching and Progressing' I cannot see any improvements relating to PGR, only PGT/UGT.

The main improvement to the student journey for postgraduate researchers will be the replacement of eProg with Campus Solutions 9.2, providing a more robust platform to house postgraduate research functionality which delivers improvements to productivity, so that supervisors and students can spend more time on value adding activity and less time on administrative processes.

There are a number of other improvements related to the postgraduate research student experience including the introduction of milestones to track progression within academic careers, changes to the admissions process to enable earlier production of postgraduate research funding letters and improved processes related to postgraduate research placements. Further, specific research improvements will be delivered through the Research Lifecycle Programme.

Are students able to make payments online? This is something that would greatly improve the student experience

Yes – the ‘account summary’ area of the new My Manchester will show details of any outstanding credit owed to the student, or balance that they need to pay. Clicking on the ‘balance to pay’ tab expands out to see where the balance is owed and from here students can access web links to pay the appropriate service.

How are we able to run reports about students not attending police registration appointments as the reports surely come from the police?

Students who are required to complete police registration will be assigned a police registration ‘task’ through Microsoft Dynamics 365. This will trigger a notification asking them to register for an appointment through a digital form in the new My Manchester

Once they have attended police registration, there’ll be a confirmation process in My Manchester which closes the case in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

It will be possible to report on student’s progression through this process.

If we are using CRM Dynamics to track a student and have a joined up service, how will this be possible if we are only able to see our own areas of work? For example we won't be able to see DASS or counselling interactions.

The proposed solution will see staff assigned ‘levels’ relevant to their role.

Level 1 and Level 2 support staff will see their own logged interaction details and those that have been manually shared, as well as a high level overview of interactions with different support services – which staff can request access to if and when required.

It will be possible to set a ‘concern’ flag with an interaction. If three accumulate a notification will be sent to a specialist support service to review the student’s record and intervene if appropriate.

We think that this allows us to offer a more joined up service and intervene earlier when required, whilst still respecting the confidential nature of support service interactions and complying with data protection requirements.

Preparing for mitigating circumstances panels - will Microsoft Dynamics 365 have a report facility?

Yes – staff will simply generate a report from Microsoft Dynamics 365 to take to mitigating circumstances panels. This will contain clear and complete information about cases in an easily digestible format. Decisions will then be updated in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Will PGR student internships/work placements etc. be included in this?

Yes – colleagues working on this area of the Student Lifecycle Project have mapped postgraduate research placement and exchanges and split-side PhDs and these will be included as part of the set of placement process improvements.

Will the templates for examinations be available in specialist format where required (eg Chemistry)

A standardised set of exam paper formats are being introduced to guide academic and PSS colleagues and to make things simpler for the University should it chose to deliver exams digitally in future.

We understand that there will always be some circumstances where specialist formats are required and we are not proposing to remove this as an option.

Are there any updates about the system changes for monitoring PGR students’ progression and training and development courses? (Currently eProg and the Training Catalogue)

We anticipate that the ‘milestone’ functionality in Campus Solutions 9.2 will be used to track the progression of postgraduate research students which will bring productivity improvements.

Milestones will trigger workflows that automate parts of some processes – for example, when a student submits their thesis, this will complete a milestone in Campus Solutions 9.2 which will in turn trigger an automatic notification in the new My Manchester to academic staff involved in marking.

The training catalogue is not within scope of the SLP. Our understanding is that this functionality is no longer supported and so the University is progressing towards a replacement outside of the SLP.

Read https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2001-02/weekly/5861/1.html and especially 77.1

This link is to a 2001 report in to the difficulties experienced by the University of Cambridge when they implemented a new financial information system. There is a specific reference to a section which states that the training delivered to staff as part of this project was unsuitable.

It’s difficult to respond to this comment without further context, but we can give assurances that the SLP Business Delivery Team are aware of the challenges faced by other change projects in the higher education sector, including the University’s initial implementation of Campus Solutions back in 2004. We understand staff training is essential to the success of the SLP and we will deliver a significant programme of training and development prior to roll out ensure that all staff are familiar with new processes, systems and ways of working.

To this end, we network with other Universities implementing similar Student Lifecycle Projects and other transformative change initiatives to share best practice. We also draw on the experience of our delivery partners Accenture who have delivered similar change projects successfully within the sector.

When will staff be able to use Office 365 - basic stuff like exchange online, Skype and SharePoint would be nice?

Office 365 is not being delivered through the Student Lifecycle Project but IT Services have started the process to find a partner to transform what they call ‘end user computing’, through the IT Services Modernisation Programme.

This will include upgrading University computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10; replacing Microsoft Office 2010 with the latest version; moving to cloud based email and calendar services and upgrading messaging software from Microsoft Lync to Skype for Business.

Please make sure it works across all platforms, including Linux!

Systems delivered as part of the SLP will work on any platform supported by IT Services.

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