Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR)

In Michaelmas term 2018 the Graduate Supervision System (GSS) will be replaced. This replacement is required because the vendor is withdrawing support for GSS, and provides an opportunity to improve our systems in this area, by incorporating the improvements to graduate student reporting endorsed by the Education Committee in Trinity term 2016 (listed below). Development on the new system, which will be built in eVision, began in September 2017.

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Key aims for this project are:

  • Replacement of GSS with a new Graduate Supervision Reporting module in eVision (GSR).
  • Implementation of process changes intended to improve reporting participation and quality. 
  • Technical improvements to eliminate downtime and data problems associated with GSS.

Training Needs Analysis forms for research students will be made available within GSR. The project will continue to draw on the expertise and input from a Project Board and User Group, to identify the detailed requirements for the new system. The User Group is made up of representatives from across the University, from divisions and colleges with a range of GSS user roles. 

GSR will incorporate the following improvements to graduate student reporting endorsed by the Education Committee in Trinity term 2016, which affect the way the system operates:

  • The student reporting window will open one week later, in 7th week, and will be extended to three weeks. The supervisor reporting window will also open one week later in 10th week, and be shortened to four weeks to encourage timely feedback. 
  • Departments will be able to permit other academic colleagues with oversight of PGT students (eg Course Directors, PGT thesis supervisors, language teachers) to submit a report in addition to the supervisor. 
  • A fourth reporting window in the Long Vacation (summer) will be introduced, which will be optional at the PGT course level (configurable by departments), but mandatory for PGR courses.
  • More nuanced flagging of concerns about academic progress (minor/major/severe) will be introduced. .
  • The DGS will be able to add additional comments to a report where concerns have been raised.
  • College Advisors will be able to confirm they have met with their students, and improved email notification functionality will be provided for colleges. (Students will be able to confirm they have met with their College Advisor.)
  • With approval by Education Committee, departments (optionally) will be able  to configure reporting windows at the programme level for modular courses, as long as the overall reporting policy is maintained.

Recommendations by Education Committee that relate to guidance and off-system activity:

  • Departments will be asked to provide more information to students about the purpose of, and mechanism for, progression reporting in handbooks and induction sessions.
  • The appropriate channels outside of GSS for complaints about the supervisor relationship and other matters not related to academic progress should be clarified to students.
  • Students should be reminded about the expectations for student progress and termly reporting during the transfer and confirmation of status processes.
  • PGT reports should include information on the formative and summative assessment where appropriate (Additional guidance will be provided for supervisors).
  • Directors of Graduate Studies will be asked to hold a meeting (either face-to-face or by Skype or similar means) with the student and supervisor as a matter of urgency when a severe concern is flagged.

The project will provide the following high level benefits:

  • Increase coverage of reporting on skills training by student and supervisors.
  • Improvements to quality and ease with which reports are prepared for external funding bodies.
  • Reduce risk of critical failure, downtime and time spent resolving issues and problems.
  • Improvements to the way the system is managed and administrated.
  • Improvements to management reporting.
  • Access for students to GSR through the Student Self Service.
  • Improvements for users with disabilities including compliance with accessibility guidelines.
  • Reduction in cost/time necessary to integrate with current/future systems.

The Project Board meets on a regular basis to review progress of the Graduate Supervision Reporting project and has ultimate responsibility for overseeing direction and governance of the project. 

The User Group provides advice, support and assurance to the project, and represents end-users to ensure Oxford’s needs are met satisfactorily. The group, comprising of a range of GSS user roles, will actively contribute to the design of the new system, and is chaired by Dr. Andy Garlick (Assistant Registrar - Education, Social Sciences Divisional Office).

For membership of the Project Board and User Group, please refer to the Graduate Supervision Reporting governance web page.

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