PGR Outcomes System Changes

Background

In 2017, Education Committee’s Research Degrees Panel initiated a review of the regulations and policy on postgraduate research (PGR) student degree outcomes. Follow a consultation during 2018-19, it agreed a number of important regulatory changes. However, implementation of these changes was delayed because of the need for IT systems development to support the underlying process. 

Separately, in early 2020, a number of processes relating to the PGR student journey were moved into eVision, including the steps undertaken by PGR students to initiate the examination of their research thesis. This stage in the process was prioritised for migration into eVision as it greatly improved the user experience for PGR students. However, the remainder of the examiner appointment and outcomes processes were not migrated at this point, due to the complexity of these stages. 

This project will enable the implementation of the previously agreed regulatory changes related to PGR outcomes and move the remaining PGR examiner appointment process and outcomes stages into eVision. Working closely with stakeholders in Education Policy Support, Research Degrees, and divisions, the project will make process improvements wherever possible and facilitate the retirement of an MS Access database currently used to manage these activities. 

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The project will deliver the following results:

  • The approved changes to the regulations relating to postgraduate research degree outcomes will be implemented
  • The documentation of processes for postgraduate research outcomes, and consolidation of administration within eVision, will create a simplified solution
  • Information required to effectively manage postgraduate research outcomes will be more readily available and based on trusted and joined-up data
  • Personal data will be held centrally and securely in a fully supported system
  • Off-system communications and processes, notably with external examiners, will be significantly reduced

The project outcomes listed above will deliver the following benefits:

  • A clearer and more logical set of outcomes following PGR student assessment
  • Future regulatory and policy changes can be implemented more quickly
  • Improved compliance with the regulations and more effective monitoring of policy adherence
  • Time savings for administrative staff
  • Increased student satisfaction with the process
  • Improved data quality and reporting
  • Reduced risk of data breaches
  • Reduced risk of system failure and data unavailability

The PGR Outcomes System Changes project board meets on a regular basis to review the project progress and has ultimate responsibility for overseeing its direction and governance. The board is chaired by Professor Robert Gilbert, Project Sponsor and Chair of the Education Committee’s Research Degrees Panel.

The regulatory changes are expected to take effect from Michaelmas term 2025, following a formal notice period and communication to impacted students. The project team are currently evaluating development and implementation options to ensure that the required IT solution is place by this point.

This page will be updated with further information about the project's roadmap, milestones, and expected delivery date(s) as these are confirmed.

Contact us

Austine Kho, Project Manager: Austine.Kho@it.ox.ac.uk

Mandy Zaccheo, Business Change Manager: Mandy.Zaccheo@it.ox.ac.uk