Completed projects

Academic IT – completed projects

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This project delivered a solution to enable students to access their reading lists – linked to full-text resources and catalogue availability data – in an accessible, digital environment. Early adopters drawn from all divisions and departments populated Oxford Reading Lists Online, or ORLO with over 300 reading lists, which are being used by students on early adopter courses. 87% of academics are very likely or likely to continue using ORLO next year, and a detailed plan for the wider rollout across the University is now being managed by the ORLO Steering Group.

This project reviewed the use of plagiarism screening tools at Oxford, including Turnitin and iThenticate, to assess whether they continue to meet the needs of staff and students. The recommendations are outlined on the Turnitin and iThenticate Review page.

WebLearn was upgraded on 27 April (version 11-ox5), to include the latest available software fixes and enhancements.

WebLearn now contains the option of setting up assignments to be submitted and marked anonymously. This facility is being rolled out to support the increasing requirement for submission of coursework online. Any interested departments should be directed to taughtdegrees@admin.ox.ac.uk

The facilities for the use of Replay Lecture Capture at the Exam Schools were improved with the addition of PCs and AV equipment to one large and one small teaching room. Guidance for those wishing to improve their own facilities for lecture capture has been updated and is available on the Replay Lecture Capture web page.

During Michaelmas Term 2016, a consultation exercise was run to support the implementation of the Digital Education Strategy. Departments and faculties were asked to consider current and future use of technology for teaching and learning within their subject area, to identify important areas for resourcing from the perspective of academic staff and students. Priorities for digital education included the need for a review of the VLE and improved support for computer based exams (updates on these projects are included on the Academic IT projects page). These and other findings will help to set priorities for future Academic IT projects, support services, and clarify and agree the resources needed to develop digital education at Oxford. 

A new version of WebLearn (version 11) became available to staff and students returning in Michaelmas term 2016. The new version included the latest available software fixes and enhancements, including improved usability on mobile devices, and better tools to support teaching and learning. 

This project prepared the system changes required to support simplified fee information for students and applicants.

The Planning and Resource Allocation Committee-led policy change - to present a single (combined) fee to all students and applicants from the 2019-20 academic year onwards - has replaced the current practice where the University Tuition Fee is distinct from the College Fee. All fee data for the current academic year will continue to be reported in the same way, with the University and college fee separated. The changes include updates to eVision screens relating to applicant and student fees, as well as updates to dataviews relating to fee information.

Student Systems – completed projects

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This project delivered a number of improvements to eVision functionality. 

In May 2018, SITS:Vision, the underlying application for eVision, Student Self Service and Graduate Applicant Self Service, was upgraded from version 9.3 to 9.5, ensuring the systems remain supported and secure.

In February 2018, all research degree students were given access to the new Research Thesis Digital Submission (RTDS) application, a simple, safe and secure way to submit a digital copy of their research thesis and additional materials. Examiners can use RTDS to access the digital copy, and return corrections, referrals or notes to the students. 

This project was set up in response to Council’s goal of achieving faster funded offers in the graduate admissions process. It implemented a number of system improvements for the 2017/18 admissions round, and in February 2018, the new eVision Graduate Offer and Intake Target report was added to eVision. 

The Admissions Decisions Support System (ADSS) annual updates in 2017 were made to ensure the ADSS system supported the 2017/18 admissions round (for applicants seeking entry to Oxford in 2018/19). The main change was compliance with new numeric GCSE grades in English Language, English Literature and Mathematics that were introduced in England in 2017. These new grades can now be used in conjunction with all other datasets that support admissions decisions. 

eVision and SITS:Vision were updated in 2017, to support the University’s 2016/17 return of student data to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The changes, which did not directly affect eVision users in colleges and departments, included fixing some known system issues and incorporating changes required by HESA.

In June 2017 SITS:Vision, the underlying application for eVision, Student Self Service and Graduate Applicant Self Service, was upgraded from version 9.2 to 9.3. There were no changes for users, but this routine upgrade was to ensure that the University’s student records system remains up to date and continues to be supported. 

The now obsolete student records system, OSS, was switched off in Trinity term 2017. Data that needs to be retained has been identified and stored separately.

Undergraduate fee statuses are now automatically calculated in eVision, and a fee status of ‘Home’, ‘EU’, ‘Islands’ or ‘Overseas’ will be calculated for approximately 95% of undergraduate offer-holders that meet specific conditions in the system. The remaining ‘Query’ fee statuses are assessed manually by the Student Fees team and individual records are updated as soon as assessments are finalised.  

Students were given access to online examination timetables via Student Self Service earlier this term following a successful pilot with a number of MBA students at the Saïd Business School. The online timetables replace paper copies for students. College administrators can access their students’ latest examination information through a new eVision screen.

A new eVision report, released in November 2016, calculates applicant-specific fees and costs information to be added by mail merge to the departmental Offer Letter (graduates only) and Financial Declaration Form (graduates and undergraduates). The functionality is currently available for all colleges, and University Admitting Bodies (UABs) in MPLS departments as they pilot the new Offer Letter, before the functionality is rolled out to other divisions. Users of the new report will be asked for feedback via a brief online survey, which will be sent out at the end of March, and the results will feed into a review of the pilot.

An upgraded and enhanced version of the Admissions Decisions Support System (ADSS) was made available in October 2016 for the 2016-17 admissions cycle. New features were also developed to ensure that those colleges previously using the ADMIT system were provided with the required replacement features for ADMIT, which will no longer be supported from the 2017/18 academic year. 

Graduate students and relevant staff now have access to Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR), which replaced the old Graduate Supervision System (GSS). The second supervision reporting period is now underway, and research students are creating their Training Needs Analysis forms within GSR. 

Replacement of GSS provided an opportunity to implement the process changes intended to improve reporting participation and quality, as approved by the Education Committee following a consultation exercise with the collegiate University. Technical improvements have also been made to eliminate the downtime and data problems previously associated with GSS.

Adjustments to the reporting schedule came into effect at the start of Michaelmas term, to facilitate changes approved by the Education Committee. Changes include a new fourth reporting window in the Long Vacation, which is mandatory for research degrees, and optional for postgraduate taught degrees (as defined by departments). 

Details are on the GSR in eVision page. 

In May 2019, SITS:Vision, the underlying application for eVision, Student Self Service and Graduate Applicant Self Service, was upgraded from version 9.5 to 9.7. There were no major changes for users, but regular upgrades help to ensure that the University’s student records system remains supported and secure. 

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