GSR: frequently asked questions for staff

In Michaelmas term 2018, the Graduate Supervision System (GSS) will be replaced with a new Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) section in eVision. Here you can find out more about how the changes will affect you. 

Note to academics and administrative staff participating in the GSR pilot: details are available from the GSR pilot (16 July-24 August 2018) page.   

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The Graduate Supervision System (GSS) is being replaced because the vendor is withdrawing support for GSS. This also provides an opportunity to improve our systems in this area, and incorporate the improvements to graduate student reporting previously approved by the Education Committee in Trinity term 2016, such as changes to the reporting windows (the full list is on the GSR page). The new system will be built in eVision.
 
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 will be made available within GSR for students on research degrees (the frequency of this activity varies by course). 

The new eVision section, Graduate Supervision Reporting, will be available in Michaelmas term 2018. At the same time, all graduate students will be given access for self-assessment reporting, through Student Self Service

In advance of the launch of GSR, a pilot will be run for six weeks from 16 July to 24 August, and students from 19 participating courses will be invited to take part, giving them an additional opportunity to receive feedback on their progress. Feedback on the communications, roadshows, and training, as well as GSR itself, will be will be taken into account and improvements made before GSR is rolled out for all graduate courses in Michaelmas term 2018. Details are on the GSR pilot page.

At the beginning of each graduate supervision reporting window, all matriculated postgraduate students will be expected to use GSR to submit their self-assessment reports (for details of the new reporting windows, please refer to question 7), and will have the option to identify any concerns. Students on research degrees will also submit their Training Needs Analysis (TNA) forms in GSR at the relevant time (frequency varies by course).

Supervisors will then use GSR to review their students’ self-assessment reports (and TNA forms), submit their own reports, and respond to any concerns. In addition, Course Directors, PGT thesis supervisors and teachers (eg language tutors) may be given the option to report by the relevant department. Department advisors (providing secondary supervision for certain research students) will also be able to view reports. 

The Directors of Graduate Studies (DGS) can use these reports/TNA forms to ensure that any concerns are being addressed, students are progressing satisfactorily and are receiving suitable supervision to meet course requirements.

College advisors and administrators may view the reports/TNA forms to assist with college pastoral care and support. College advisors will be asked to record the number of times they have met with their students. The reports/TNA forms may also be viewed by subject administrators and funding administrators to obtain information specific to funded students awarded certain scholarships (primarily Rhodes scholars).

Staff are able to see only the self-assessment reports (and TNA forms) of students with whom they have a direct relationship. 

In advance of the launch of GSR, a pilot will be run for six weeks during summer, with 19 courses across 3 divisions and the Department for Continuing Education, alongside 6 colleges.

All pilot participants will be asked to give feedback on their experience of using GSR by completing a brief survey. Feedback will then be taken into account and improvements considered before GSR is rolled out for all graduate courses in Michaelmas term.

The timing of the pilot anticipates the change of policy to introduce a fourth reporting window in the Long Vacation (summer) for research degrees, which will be optional for graduate taught degree courses. However, the pilot does not replicate the timing of the fourth reporting window.

Details are on the GSR pilot page.

In the run up to the launch of GSR in Michaelmas term 2018, we will be transferring a large amount of data from Graduate Supervision System (GSS). To facilitate this, the Trinity term 2018 reporting window in GSS for supervisors and Directors of Graduate Studies will need to be closed earlier than usual.

Supervisor reporting for Trinity term in GSS) will close at 12 noon on Friday 3 August, and DGS reporting will close at 12 noon on 31 August. DGSs can add comments as soon as reports are submitted by the supervisor. Details have also been added to the GSS website.

 

We’ll let you know about anything that you need to know about in advance, for example relevant training materials, or roadshows to demonstrate the new functionality (for details refer to question 9). 

If you would like to help test the new system, please email the project team (edu-it@it.ox.ac.uk); we will be pleased to hear from you.  

In order to facilitate the changes previously approved by the Education Committee in Trinity term 2016 (listed on the GSR page), and following consultation with staff and students, some adjustments will be made to the reporting windows. The changes include an amended reporting schedule, and a new reporting window in the Long Vacation (summer), which is mandatory for research degrees, and optional for postgraduate taught degrees. For a diagram of the new windows and details of when each contributor can report, please refer to the changes to GSR reporting windows web page.

The project will provide the following high level benefits:

  • More timely reporting to improve the efficiency of feedback to students
  • Enhanced options for managing any concerns raised
  • Greater visibility of Training Needs Analysis forms
  • Access for students to GSR through the Student Self Service
  • Increased usability for students across mobile devices
  • Improvements for users with disabilities including compliance with accessibility guidelines
  • Improvements to management reporting
  • Reduced risk of critical failure, downtime and time spent resolving issues and problems

We will work with your divisional or college office to keep you informed about what is happening and when, including any changes that will affect you. 

A number of roadshows will take place, during which the GSR functionality will be demonstrated. Training documentation for the various user roles, such as Quick Reference Guides, will be published on the Student Systems website. This approach was agreed following staff feedback from the training needs survey conducted in early 2017.

Super users will provide the main support to divisions/departments, and Student Systems will support GSR itself. 

Access to GSS will continue until the end of the reporting window in Trinity term 2018. As all relevant data is being moved to GSR, GSS will then be turned off.

You will be able to access GSR by logging into eVision and clicking on Supervision Reporting in the menu at the top of the page. Supervisors and DGSs will have access to dashboards, which will help them to access reports in the current reporting window.

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You will be able to see the self–assessment reports for all students with whom you have a direct relationship along with the comments added by supervisors and Directors of Graduate Studies/Course Director. 

Students will have access to:

  • Their own reports and Training Needs Analysis (TNA) forms
  • Their historical reports and TNA forms
  • All the submitted content from contributors to their reports, eg supervisors and Directors of Graduate Studies/Course Directors
  • A list of the staff who can view their self-assessment reports (their ‘contacts’)

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As the move to GSR affects so many people, the Project Board and a User Group reflect the diverse range of users, including a number of representatives from divisions and colleges. Full membership of both groups is on the GSR governance page.

We will work with your divisional or college office to keep you informed about what is happening and when, including any changes that will affect you. You may also wish to refer to the GSR project pages and sign up for the termly Education IT Programme Update, which includes a summary of the latest news from the project (to sign up, simply send a request to edu-it@it.ax.ac.uk).  

If you have any feedback or questions for the project, you can either contact a representative of the GSR User Group, or email the project team at edu-it@it.ox.ac.uk.  

If you would like to help test the new system, please email the project team (edu-it@it.ox.ac.uk); we will be pleased to hear from you.  

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