New NGSIS Website Set To Go Live

“Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Wu Li

If something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. With the new NGSIS website, we’ve done just that.

The new site is set to go live on June 21st, 2016. The site aspires to be an easy to use resource for staff, students and stakeholders seeking to learn more about the status of the NGSIS program and its projects.

All in-progress projects with their completion percentages on our project list page.

Our blog will continue regular updates on program activities, a regular series of post contributors and invite guests to provide their take on NGSIS related matters. If you’re interested, subscribe to receive updates when a new post is up.

NGSIS shines at Excellence Through Innovation Program Awards

The Excellence Though Innovation Award program recognizes the contributions of administrative staff in advancing the University’s strategic objectives, encouraging administrative innovation and providing a platform for sharing best practices.

This program is an excellent way to “identify and celebrate improved practices within every area of our work” and to let the employees know that their contributions are important.

This year, two projects were selected which included NGSIS staff, the T Card Student Photo Project and the ACORN project, one of the flagship NGSIS projects.

The T Card Student Photo project enables the photo of a student stored in the T Card database to be reused in a suite of new validation applications, including our new exam invigilator and residence tools. NGSIS Architect Frank Boshoff and EASI staff Walter Ni and David Lock each played important roles in the project.

We’ve written about the ACORN project before. This was a massive undertaking and was the product of the collective efforts of NGSIS/EASI staff Hossein Aliabadi, Michael Clark, Miki Harmath, Mark Johnston, Andre Kalamandeen, Michael Wyers, David Lock, Mezba Mahtab, Michael O’Cleirigh, Haroon Rafique, Petru Sugar, Laurel Williams, Zoe Wong, and Terry Lago, amongst others.

Congratulations to everyone involved in these two projects!

NGSIS shines at Excellence Through Innovation Program (ETIA) Awards

The Excellence Though Innovation Award program recognizes the contributions of administrative staff in advancing the University’s strategic objectives, encouraging administrative innovation and providing a platform for sharing best practices.

This program is an excellent way to “identify and celebrate improved practices within every area of our work” and to let the employees know that their contributions are important.

This year, two projects were selected which included NGSIS staff, the T Card Student Photo Project and the ACORN project , one of the flagship NGSIS projects.

The T Card Student Photo project enables the photo of a student stored in the T Card database to be reused in a suite of new validation applications, including our new exam invigilator and residence tools.
NGSIS Architect Frank Boshoff and EASI staff Walter Ni and David Lock each played important roles in the project.

We’ve written about the ACORN project before . This was a massive undertaking and was the product of the collective efforts of NGSIS/EASI staff Hossein Aliabadi, Michael Clark, Miki Harmath, Mark Johnston, Andre Kalamandeen, Michael Wyers, David Lock, Mezba Mahtab, Michael O’Cleirigh, Haroon Rafique, Petru Sugar, Laurel Williams, Zoe Wong, and Terry Lago, amongst others.

Congratulations to everyone involved in these two projects!

Changing of the Guard- Communicating ACORN to the University

In just a few short weeks, students at the University of Toronto will be introduced to ACORN, the Accessible Campus Online Resource Network. For students, ACORN will replace the existing ROSI Student Web Service (SWS). ACORN will provide a more convenient, personalized and guided experience for students using U of T’s online services.

Given the large-scale nature of this change, which will affect all three U of T campuses, we have worked very hard to get the word out to staff, faculty and students at the University. The last thing the team wants is for registrars or staff to feel surprised or worse, blindsided by the new service.

To achieve this, a wide array of activities have been undertaken by the team to reach out to the three campuses regarding ACORN. These activities have been both online and off; including staff training sessions, listserv e-mails, meetings with divisional representatives, a U of T conference presentation, a preview site and Q&A site for students, and an online resource kit for staff.

One of the most effective activities has been the hour-long ACORN staff training sessions, which saw a record turn out from staff joining us from a variety of perspectives including Registrar’s Offices, academic planning, academic advising, Dean’s offices, IT and Student Life staff. An extra four sessions had to be added on to accommodate the more than four hundred staff who came out to learn more about the ACORN service.

Communicating the news about the new service has been a careful balancing act. NGSIS is wary about “over-selling” ACORN, despite the enthusiasm we’ve heard to date from students and staff involved in the project and our own high hopes for its success, as there is always the risk that problems with the service will require that it be taken offline, and in anticipation of this remote possibility, the team has worked to strike a tone of ‘modest confidence.’

We are even offering students the option to opt-out for the time being and continue using ROSI-SWS.

We have been inspired by the interest and engagement of our students and staff community and very much look forward to our upcoming launch date.

Quick Numbers:

• 400+ staff attended training sessions

• 12 training sessions held

•35 student beta testing participants

• 100+ staff signed up for functional testing

 

NGSIS Impact Report: Business Intelligence

In the Fall of 2014, program director Cathy Eberts commissioned the development of a report examining the strategic impact of the NGSIS Program at the University of Toronto. The intention of the report was primarily to collect anecdotal and statistical feedback from key stakeholders representing the five strategic areas (student life, student accounts, registration & curriculum management, business intelligence and technical infrastructure) and create a “big picture” for the program sponsors.

The writer and designer of the NGSIS Impact Report was Andy Torr (Special Projects Officer, Strategic Initiatives). A gifted interviewer and writer, Andy was highly successful at connecting the divisional business case to the work being done by NGSIS to support staff, students and faculty. Andy worked in collaboration with Donald Boere (Vice-Principal, Innis College), who served as an editor on the report and joined Andy throughout the interview process.

The NGSIS Program is proud of what Andy & Donald were able to achieve with the report and believe it presents a strong case for the continuation of the NGSIS program in years to come.

Today, we offer a sneak peek of the report with an excerpt from the section on Business Intelligence.

You can view that article here.