Education IT Programme Update - Hilary term 2017 (issue 1)

The Education IT Programme Update is a termly publication, and includes the latest information about all projects commissioned by the Education IT Board. To receive the email Update, send a request to

New termly publication

The Education IT Programme Update is issued termly and has been created following the renaming of Student Systems Programme to the Education IT Programme in Michaelmas term 2016. It replaces the Student Systems Programme bulletin, and includes updates on projects commissioned by the Education IT Board; both Student Systems and Academic IT projects. The latter support teaching and learning, such as the review of Oxford’s virtual learning environment (VLE).

This Hilary term publication features updates on projects completed since October 2016, and highlights some of the current projects, including a project to replace the Graduate Supervision System (GSS), the review that will set the direction for the future of Oxford’s virtual learning environment, and more. 

If you have any questions about the content of this publication or the website, please contact

New programme management

Elaine Aitken, Education IT Programme Manager

Elaine Aitken

In December 2016 Elaine Aitken was appointed to the role of Education IT Programme Manager. Elaine has extensive experience at RM Education (a UK education software supplier) and Oxford University Press in developing IT-based teaching and learning platforms, and more recently led a number of projects within the programme. 

Peggy McCready, Director of Academic IT, co-ordinates the strategic roadmap for the Academic IT projects, and is sponsor for many of the projects. David White, Director of Student Systems, fulfils this role for Student Systems projects.

Project updates

Working on laptop

Academic IT projects

The input received from departments and faculties as part of the Digital Education Strategy consultation was fed into the Education IT Board, and will help to set priorities for future Academic IT projectsUpdates on current projects include:

  • VLE Review – shaping the future of WebLearn
  • Online Reading Lists - finding a suitable application
  • Turnitin and iThenticate Review – looking at support for plagiarism awareness and tools for detection

Find out more on the Academic IT projects page.



Student Systems projects

The Student Systems projects portfolio is delivering a mixture of incremental improvements to existing functionality, the creation of new systems, and the replacement of software reaching the end of its support. Updates on current projects include:

  • Research Thesis Digital Submissions – pilot underway
  • Graduate Supervision Reporting – replacing GSS
  • eVision and SITS:Vision User Experience – your views

Find out more on the Student Systems projects page.

Student Systems - completed projects

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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. 

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.

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.

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.  

Academic IT - completed projects

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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. 

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. 

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.

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


If you have any questions about the content of this update, please contact