Next Generation Student Information Services

Project Summary Report:
September 2022 – December 2023

(Updated September 2022)


The goal of the Next Generation Student Information Services Program (NGSIS) is to create and deploy technological solutions that help students fully engage in rewarding learning experiences and achieve academic and personal success, and that help faculty and staff provide a rich and supportive educational environment.

Through targeted investment in information technology, over the past nine years, NGSIS has introduced a wide variety of new services for students and staff, providing real-time information about all aspects of the student experience. As a result, NGSIS is now actively supporting over 25 individual student and administrative applications in addition to the current core Student Information System (SIS)/ROSI system. Included in this list are some of the most successful NGSIS services for students, faculty, and staff, such as ACORN, Degree Explorer, and more recently, Timetable Builder, Award Explorer, the Course Information System and Accommodated Testing Services (ATS).

As with many operational teams at U of T, the NGSIS development team had to pivot quickly over the past several years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these pressures, the NGSIS team continued to make significant improvements to our suite of supported applications, as well as to initiate a new project to implement a new Student Advising Service (CRM) using Salesforce.

In addition, in order to help U of T chart a new course forward in replacing and/or renewing our core SIS, the team also contracted Deloitte Consulting services to complete an environmental scan of potential student information systems in the marketplace to replace ROSI in the future.

Through this work, we have established that currently there are no vendor or cloud-based solutions that will easily accommodate U of T’s requirements. As mature cloud solutions are likely years away, U of T should continue to keep an eye on the marketplace but also invest in current solutions such as ACORN, Degree Explorer, Course Information System and Award Explorer. In addition, consideration should be given to improving the ROSI user experience using in-house resources over the next several years.

For a more detailed explanation of these strategic recommendations and specific projects for the coming year, please explore the remaining sections of this report.

Focus for NGSIS: Sept. 2022 - Dec. 2023


Student Advising Service

Following close consultations with divisions, U of T is currently implementing an enterprise vendor application, Salesforce Student Success Hub for Higher Education, to support academic divisions in transforming their student advising services. This innovative solution will present the interconnected student story, streamline the student and staff experience, promote evidence-based student support practices, ensure consistent and transparent service delivery, and increase administrative efficiencies.

NGSIS is currently working in partnership with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education to implement the solution with the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education. After which, the service will be assessed for future expansion to other divisions.

Building on the discovery work completed in 2021-22, the scope and timeline for the initial implementation in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education have been finalized, and a framework for future onboarding of additional divisions is under development. The target date for Phase 1 Foundational Release, detailed below, is winter 2023. Development work has already begun for Phase 1 and the team is working towards finalizing testing and training plans. Further rollout will occur throughout the spring and fall of 2023.

Functionality for Phase 1: Foundation – Staff Onboarding includes:

  • Success Teams Assignment – structure of assigning staff to the student population they support
  • Referrals – Internal, External, Student Facing (emailed referral information)
  • Staff Appointment Scheduling
  • Interaction Tracking and Notes – to track student communications and staff tasks
  • Internal Knowledge – build categories and content
  • Reports and Dashboards

And the Key Integrations proposed for Phase 1 include:

  • ROSI Integration
  • SharePoint Integration
  • TCard Photo Integration
  • Security Auditing
  • Outlook Integration (Plug-In)
  • Staff Single Sign On
  • A – Milestone: Complete Discovery Phase, Occurs May 2022
  • B – Milestone: Foundation Phase (Feb. 2023), Occurs February 2023
  • C – Task: Finalize Product Scope, Starts January 2022, Ends May 2022
  • D – Task: Confirm and Configure Content for Foundation Phase Release, Starts May 2022, Ends February 2023

NGSIS Digital Platform

U of T has contracted with some of the leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms in the past few years and the demand for integration with our core Systems of Record has increased significantly.

Over the past decade, a standard method for integrating systems has emerged, including a standard to secure such methods. NGSIS has established resources in the Microsoft Azure Cloud that support these standards and facilitate the exchange of data between the core systems and the SaaS platforms.

The diagram consists of four major areas, or layers, and a fifth layer for identity and access management. At the top is the first layer consisting of the major Software-as-a-Service platforms that the University uses, such as Salesforce, Office 365, Slate, and Quercus. At the bottom is a layer that represents the core University systems such as ROSI and SAP (Finance, HR). On the right-hand side is a vertical layer that represents the Institutional Research Data Governance services for predictive analytics. Historical data is stored in this layer. The NGSIS Digital Platform is a new layer that sits between these other layers. This layer has the modern technology to integrate with the others. The NGSIS Digital Platform facilitates the flow of data between all the layers, enabling the University to exchange information with any of the integrated platforms, as required by the institutional processes. The identity and access management layer is the last layer, depicted horizontally and connected to all the other layers. It is expected that the majority of the platforms, if not all of them, will integrate with the University’s Identity and Access Management platform to facilitate authentication and authorization for people and systems.

The NGSIS Digital Platform enables integration with other systems and platforms to support the efficient flow of institutional data.

A Proposed Evolution of ROSI: Continued Modernization
ROSI itself continues to be a legacy application, albeit a web-based one, and questions remain regarding the future of our core student system. Should U of T replace ROSI with a modern cloud-based vendor product; should we redevelop this system using the latest in Java development tools; or should our future direction include a combination of both vendor and homegrown solutions? Should U of T consider using an API-centric approach to enable composite applications that use functionality from multiple applications, including Salesforce, ROSI and SharePoint?

To prepare U of T for this, and future SaaS integrations, an initiative to design and implement a new User Interface framework with a new API-centric architecture for administrative systems was instigated. The NGSIS Digital Platform can call these APIs, thereby transferring data into or out of these platforms on behalf of users or other systems. The new User Interface framework, named OASIS (Online Administrative Student Information Services), can be used to support academic or administrative processes that require interaction with one or more SaaS platforms.

The new integration capabilities, with the new User Interface framework, will enable U of T to use a variety of different SaaS platforms, each suited for a particular purpose, and combine them to support unique business processes without major changes to the platforms themselves.

Leveraging API Development
NGSIS has established a team to focus on systems integration. The team develops interfaces and APIs to support the flow of information across multiple systems. The objective is to reduce the duplication of effort expended in entering the same data into different systems, and for decision-makers to access the right information, in the right system, at the right time (I.e., when the decision maker needs it).

Rather than copying data from one system to another every week, or every night, data are accessed in real-time at the source of truth. Using only the sources of truth reduces the number of sources that need to be secured. Working from the sources of truth provides confidence that the data are accurate.

The Integration team manages resources that enable divisions to develop and publish their own APIs for their own integration purposes – with ROSI or other systems. This will reduce the need to wait for NGSIS developers to become available.

The Integration team enables other projects to be successful and has communication paths with other teams that are implementing solutions, as depicted in the image below.

This diagram depicts the communication paths between the Integration team and other teams within the University. Off-centre towards the right, the Integration team is represented by a pink circle. Arrayed in 180 degrees on the right-hand side, there are three blue circles, one positioned at 2 o’clock, one at 3 o’clock and one at 4 o’clock (as if one were looking at a clock face). There are lines with arrows on both ends to represent the two-way communication happening between the pink circle and the other blue circles. The first blue circle represents the User Experience team, which often provides user interaction guidelines to developers. The second blue circle represents the EASI Reporting and Analytics team, and the third circle represents the EASI Business Requirements team. There are additional circles at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. The 12 o’clock blue circle is stacked (like a pile of pancakes waiting to be served), indicating multiple teams of the same type -they are developers from across the University. The 6 o’clock circle also represents teams of developers, but these teams are within EASI. The Integration team communicates with these different teams for different purposes, for example, technical requirements will be obtained from the developer teams, data integration requirements will be provided by the Reporting and Analytics team, business logic will be provided by the business analysts, and interaction guidelines from the User Experience team. The left-hand side of the diagram consists of rectangles, each representing a different platform, system, or application. In the middle is a pink rectangle representing the NGSIS Digital Platform – the environment which hosts the APIs that are designed and created by developers. Using the clock analogy again, there are stacked rectangles representing divisional applications at 12 o’clock, more stacked rectangles at 10 o’clock representing external platforms such as, and yet another set of stacked rectangles at 6 o’clock representing applications developed by EASI developers. All of these applications and platforms consume, or provide, APIs that are hosted in the NGSIS Digital Platform. There are lines connecting the pink rectangle (the NGSIS Digital Platform) with each pile of rectangles, indicating the communication between them. Lastly, there is a rectangle located at 9 o’clock representing the Power BI reporting platform. It too is connected to the NGSIS Digital Platform to retrieve data from APIs to represent in dashboards for authorized users to view.

Several new APIs have integrated external systems that update ROSI in real-time, namely Salesforce and Slate. This reduces the number of systems that administrators need to update, saving time and reducing discrepancies between systems.

A total of 22 APIs are currently in production, including:

  • Candidacy, Admissions and Confirmation APIs
  • Degree Confirmation APIs
  • Job Evaluation API
  • Absence Declaration APIs
  • Phonebook APIs
  • SharePoint API
  • Student Profile API
  • Accommodated Testing Services APIs
  • U of T Timetable Application Rest API
  • Open data API by UofT
  • OASIS Timetable Admin API
  • OASIS Log Service REST API
  • Candidacy REST API
  • Accessibility Services API

Authentication / Authorization

  • Authentication
    Since 2004, web applications at U of T have been integrated with Shibboleth Single Sign-On, also known as WebLogin, for user authentication. UTORid is the credential used for Shibboleth. Modern applications now use a different method to authenticate users, called Open ID Connect (OIDC), which is compatible with a broader number of applications, including native mobile applications. U of T will support both types of authentication methods (Shibboleth and OIDC). Applications that integrate with Microsoft 365, e.g., to access SharePoint documents, will need to authenticate users using Azure AD.
  • Authorization
    User authorizations (i.e., determining what a user is allowed to access/execute in an application) need to be finer-grained than in the past due to increased security risks. Applications and systems (e.g., Degree Explorer) usually have their own authorization mechanisms, which makes it difficult to maintain the correct authorizations as people and devices/components, move or change status, since each application or system must be updated individually. The solution is to consolidate the authorization methods into a limited number of options. A proof-of-concept project started in late 2021 to determine the appropriate technologies to support Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) in addition to Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). Once implemented, applications will be modified one by one to integrate and support the new ABAC capabilities. ABAC will enable U of T to improve compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the General Data Protection Regulation, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (where applicable), improve on-boarding and off-boarding efficiencies, and simplify operations.
  • A – Task: Evaluate Request Process, Starts January 2022, Ends October 2022
  • B – Task: SGS / Engineering, Starts January 2022, Ends April 2022
  • C – Task: Engineering - Open API, Starts April 2022, Ends October 2022
  • D – Task: Convocation APIs, Starts April 2022, Ends November 2022
  • E – Task: Salesforce API, Starts July 2022, Ends September 2022
  • F – Task: Salesforce Azure DF Pipelines, Starts July 2022, Ends October 2022
  • G – Task: TCard Photo API, Starts August 2022, Ends October 2022
  • A – Task: Review Intake Methodology, Prioritization Strategy, Starts April 2022, Ends September 2022
  • B – Task: Reporting Assessment, Starts May 2022, Ends August 2022
  • C – Task: Modify SASR to work with Auth Model, Starts April 2022, Ends November 2022

Course Management Systems

Development of new functionality and extension of implementation to additional divisions remains a focus with the set of applications that support the administration of course and program development, review and approval, and publication and offering. While separate, these applications are being developed with points of integration with each other and with other NGSIS services.

Course Information System (CIS):

The Course Information System provides convenient, online services to support the administration of courses for instructors, departments, and faculty offices. CIS provides instructors with a streamlined way to:

  • Assist with the creation of their course syllabus by providing tools to inform the development of their marking scheme as well as guidelines on faculty and institutional policy statements.
  • Submit and duplicate final exam papers in a secure, online platform.
  • Provide administrative details regarding assessments for students writing with accommodations.
Projects for 2022 – 2023

Looking ahead, CIS is planning for future releases that will include the following enhancements:

  • A new end-to-end Syllabus Builder Module that would enable an instructor to create a syllabus for their course completely within CIS for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, with a target of winter 2023.
  • Extend the new Syllabus Builder Module to other undergraduate divisions, including the Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto Scarborough, and University of Toronto Mississauga.
  • Enhance the capabilities of the Syllabus Builder Module, with a focus on accessibility and usability.
  • Bring undergraduate courses at the University of Toronto Mississauga onboard to the Exam Modules within CIS, with a target of 2024.
Projects Completed

The import of Course tagging from CM has been implemented to enable course instructors to identify and associate specific learning experiences as components expected to be completed by all enrolled students. This functionality will support clarity and transparency regarding student learning experiences within their programs and courses. Additional functionality was also delivered to allow instructors to provide additional session-specific information (subcategories) to course experience tags imported from Curriculum Management (see the entry for Curriculum Management).

Administrators can now also access previous sessional data stored in CIS. This new functionality offers our administrators their data in a well-organized and easy-to-retrieve format while saving time, as there is no more need for storing and managing copies of information offline. In addition, it increases the overall security of the system as it ensures that only the right people can access the right files, which is of critical importance given the highly confidential nature of our documents.

Accommodated Testing Services (ATS)

Started in March of 2019, and formerly known as Test and Exam Services, the Accommodated Testing Services (ATS) project leverages NGSIS products to introduce significant benefits to students registering for accommodated test writings, to instructors providing test details and documents, and to administrators tasked with keeping ATS processes working efficiently and in a timely manner. The system is being designed and implemented to support the administration of Accommodated Tests and Exams. Instructors, students and administrative staff will find the new process seamless, transparent and intuitive, providing easy online access to information through pre-existing U of T platforms. There will be multiple phases to this initiative. The ATS application is deployed in the new Azure Cloud, utilizing API calls also residing in the cloud.

Projects for 2022 – 2023

Phase 2 of the project will include the launch of a student request module on ACORN and the full roll-out of a new Accommodated Testing Services administrative application. Phase 2 expected completion is at the end of the calendar year 2022 or early 2023.

Following phase 2, phase 3 will focus on enhancing the various system components via rolling production releases, until all in-scope processes are completed and stabilized. There is also a plan to expand the work done within ATS to Accessibility Services. Requirements exploration will begin in the form of a discovery phase this year.

Projects Completed

For phase 1, ATS completed two pilots (fall 2019 and winter 2020) that included participation from the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, the Faculty of Arts & Science (three departments), the Faculty of Law, and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. The Accommodated Testing module in CIS was rolled out to all University of Toronto St. George (UTSG) instructors in fall 2020. Based on feedback received from instructors, administrators and ATS staff in fall 2020, a series of enhancements were rolled out at key times of the year between the winter 2021 and winter 2022 sessions. Additionally, new administrative functionality was introduced for academic administrators to manage accommodated testing within their units and the first modules of the new ATS staff system were completed.

Curriculum Management (CM):

Curriculum Management was the first product to be delivered through our original partnership with Kuali Inc.

The application allows divisions to create, maintain and retire courses and programs using customized divisional governance processes, and in tandem, allows NGSIS to create a central repository of courses and programs for U of T that can be integrated with various NGSIS systems. The SIS team has also developed specialized governance committee reports as well as diagnostic reports and lists for the divisions. Curriculum Management (CM) data is also exported for inclusion in publications generated by Curriculum Publisher (CP).

Projects for 2022 – 2023

The focus of work for 2022-23 will be the extension of CM to all graduate programs at U of T so that we have the entire inventory together and in a consistent format for inclusion in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Academic Calendar. Analysis work will be undertaken to extend the configuration to cover the complexities of graduate program structures at U of T as well as data needs in the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic Programs and in SGS with respect to tracking programs and academic change. The target is late summer 2023 for the import of all programs into CM, configuration of workflow, and training of staff to use the system. The graduate divisions will be invited to implement CM for their graduate courses along with their programs. Those second-entry divisions not yet using CM may wish to implement graduate and undergraduate curricula together. We will consider the scope of that work.

Projects Completed

Before the 2021-22 governance cycle, Work Integrated Learning category tags were implemented for undergraduate courses. Subcategory tags have now been added for the divisions that choose to record these at the canonical level. Additional UI configurations have been made to improve publication (HTML replacing plain text in some cases) or to add divisional data (addition of Engineering “Graduate Attributes” including the import of initial data).

Curriculum Publisher (CP):

Curriculum Publisher (CP) is a U-of-T-developed content management website that optionally interfaces with Kuali Curriculum Management (CM), allowing divisions to publish a public-facing Calendar or Academic Handbook. CP has undergone a major technical upgrade to Drupal 8.

Projects for 2022 – 2023

Following platform upgrades in each of the past two years, all instances of CP will be further upgraded to Drupal 10 over the coming year. This will be completed as each Calendar instance is prepared for publication, as will any adjustments each division’s request to their format.

The CM project to import graduate programs could result in some reformatting of the data that is now included in the SGS Academic Calendar published via CP. Some analysis work will need to be completed to facilitate the transition when the first CM populated Calendar is published.

Projects Completed

In addition to the formatting and data import changes that divisions requested for their Calendars and handbooks, the focus of work in 2021-22 was the upgrade of all instances from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9.

Curriculum Management Curriculum Publisher
Curriculum Management & Curriculum Publisher Usage Undergraduate Courses & Programs Graduate Courses Calendar / Handbook
First Entry
Faculty of Arts & Science X Calendar
University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) X Calendar
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Calendar
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design Calendar
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering X Calendar
Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education X Calendar
Faculty of Music X Calendar
Second Entry & Graduate
Faculty of Information Both
Faculty of Medicine X X Handbook (MD Program)
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) X Handbook
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy X Calendar
School of Graduate Studies X X Calendar

Last updated September 2022

  • A – Milestone: 6.0.0 Release (Feb), Occurs February 2022
  • B – Milestone: 6.1.1 Release, Occurs August 2022
  • C – Task: Angular 12 Hybrid, Starts January 2022, Ends February 2022
  • D – Task: Fall Updates (FAS, UTSC), Starts April 2022, Ends August 2022
  • E – Milestone: 6.3.0 Release, Occurs November 2022
  • F – Task: Syllabi Builder - Phase 1 (FASE), Starts January 2022, Ends November 2022
  • G – Task: Syllabi Builder - Phase 2 (UTSC), Starts September 2022, Ends April 2023
  • H – Task: Syllabi Builder - Phase 3 (FAS), Starts April 2022, Ends April 2023
  • I – Task: Syllabi Builder - Winter Enhancements, Starts April 2022, Ends December 2022
  • J – Task: Final Exam Modules (UTM), Starts June 2022, Ends April 2023
  • A – Milestone: CIS 6.1.0 Release (May), Occurs May 2022
  • B – Task: Upgrades & Workflow Enhancements, Starts January 2022, Ends May 2022
  • C – Task: Test Definitions, Workflow & Export to Clockwork, Starts January 2022, Ends December 2022
  • D – Task: Test Bookings, Student Functionality, Starts January 2022, Ends December 2022
  • E – Milestone: ATS 1.3.0 Release, Occurs December 2022
  • F – Task: Final Exams, Starts September 2022, Ends December 2022
  • G – Task: ATS Test Bookings, Space Allocation I, Student II, Starts September 2022, Ends April 2023
  • A – Milestone: Spring 2023, Occurs April 2023
  • B – Task: Curriculum Publisher - Calendar Updates, Starts January 2022, Ends September 2022
  • C – Task: Drupal 10 Update, Starts March 2022, Ends June 2022
  • D – Task: Graduate Program Analysis, Starts May 2022, Ends April 2023

Service Innovation

At the core of NGSIS is service innovation, resulting in the continued rollout of new applications that consolidate online services for faculty, staff and students, simplify operations, and empower students to make informed decisions while attending U of T. New and improved web applications delivered or underway by the NGSIS team include the following:

Projects for 2022 – 2023

Online Administrative Student Information Services (OASIS)
The Online Administrative Student Information Services (OASIS) uses Azure Cloud Services to address the need for new functionality in ROSI and other Software-as-a-Service platforms.

The first new OASIS function for administrators was Absence Declaration – a service that enables students to declare absences using ACORN, and now Administrators can manage this information using the OASIS Absence Declaration service. Functionality was released at the beginning of July 2021. New functionality was added in January 2022 for divisional administrators to add or upload course notes for display in the enhanced Timetable Builder.

New ROSI functionality can be implemented in OASIS, taking advantage of modern user experience capabilities and new data models as well as integrating with SAP.

ROSI Express (RXP)
ROSI Express was developed in 2006 as an example of what a web-based ROSI administrative application might be. While it was found very useful by a limited number of administrators, ROSI Express never received the funding to expand its repertoire of fourteen functions (ROSI itself has over 1,900 functions). ROSI Express, however, was expanded to accommodate functions that didn’t quite fit into ROSI – Convocation ticketing, for example, and a handful of reports. The software stack has aged slowly and now represents a technical debt that needs to be addressed.

OASIS presents us with the opportunity to move and expand ROSI Express functionality to a more modern platform. Work is already underway to address Convocation processes. ROSI Express reports are being reviewed and rewritten to move to Power BI.

Convocation modules are to be developed for Diploma management, in tandem with the RXP to OASIS migration.

Timetable Builder Expansion (June 2022)
The cloud-based Timetable Builder is U of T’s official visual timetable building tool, which provides an intuitive, accessible and mobile-friendly user experience. The application allows students to craft and optimize their course schedules and combines functionality previously available in Course Finder and divisional timetable applications. Timetable Builder includes broad course search functionality, natural language explanation of enrolment controls, and section, course and department level comments previously only available in some divisional timetables.

Divisional administrators can use OASIS to access the Timetable Builder administrative interface. This interface gives academic divisions the ability to create a “legend” of division-specific information that will be displayed with each of its courses, as well as functionality to create and edit course or section-level notes individually or via a batch file upload.

Implementation of Timetable Builder created improvements in some other areas. New sessional dates were created that allow divisions to control the release of course information to Timetable Builder and ACORN in stages – without location and instructor details and then later with full information. This should provide important planning information to students earlier than possible before. As well, an ‘open’ API has been created to allow for the import of course scheduling information into divisional systems and websites. This is currently available to the divisions participating in Timetable Builder but will be extended to other divisions and potentially to students once a governance program is implemented.

Financial Aid & Awards

Building on the online Award Record Form and SAP integration that was implemented in 2021 the Award Explorer project is on track to deliver increased functionality and end-user support. This includes enhancements to existing features in prod and the configuration and development of new modules in the system to support award adjudication, including a student login to support additional data capture for award selection via a student profile and award applications. New and upcoming functionality includes:

  • Award Spending Manager (May 2022)
    This module was launched earlier this year. It allows admin users to track spending by fiscal year for their awards. Each award spending record interacts with the award repository and fund manager records to pull in key award and funding data, such as award conditions and FIS funds availability, to make decisions on how much to spend each year. This consolidated database of award spending will offer improved financial reporting and will be an essential input for auto-matching.
  • Online Student Award Portal (Winter 2023)
    Planning and requirement gathering is currently underway for the next phase of the project – an Online Student Award Portal with a standardized award profile. This new online student portal will increase award funding opportunities and the standardized award profile will minimize the number of award applications that students are required to complete. The launch of the Student Award Portal for a targeted population, with the pilot of several competitive university-wide award applications, is anticipated for winter 2023.

Degree Confirmation (March 2022)
NGSIS in collaboration with the Office of Convocation launched the new Degree Confirmation on March 1. This application allows third parties to verify that alumni have U of T credentials and all public details associated with those credentials. The solution simplifies the degree request and payment process and provides a responsive desktop and mobile-friendly user experience. It has streamlined processes for administrative staff by using a combination of automated requests and manual reviews while maintaining a high degree of accuracy. This new application resides in the Azure Cloud.

Degree Explorer Enhancements (2022)
Degree Explorer is an application that helps students and administrators keep track of degree, program and course requirements. In 2021-22, new features were implemented in Degree Explorer Admin to improve overall administrative workflows in completing program and degree assessments. A new report was made available to identify students in program exclusions. In 2022-23, planned work includes adding functionality to allow changes of course status when doing assessments, as well as ongoing review of the application to ensure compliance with accessibility guidelines and other system improvements.

Transfer Explorer / Transfer Navigator Replacement (2022)
A requirements analysis for a new version of this product has been completed. An environmental scan determined that a vendor solution that would meet institutional and divisional needs is not available. It has become apparent that U of T requires more than a replacement of the existing database and needs a workflow tool for administrators to manage the application and assessment process for transfer credits as well. Development will likely proceed in phases, starting with the replacement of the existing database and administrative screens. Work began in 2022 on the first phase of the project, the replacement and upgrade of the repository of transfer credit equivalencies, and is projected to be completed within 2022. Phase two, a system to manage the intake of transfer credit requests and the review and approval of equivalencies, will be accomplished at a later date.

  • A – Milestone: Decommissioning (Aug), Occurs August 2022
  • B – Task: Process Documentation, Starts March 2022, Ends June 2022
  • A – Milestone: Product Ready, Occurs May 2022
  • B – Task: Student & Admin Functionality, Starts January 2022, Ends April 2022
  • C – Milestone: Full Launch (June), Occurs June 2022
  • D – Task: UAT 2.0, Starts May 2022, Ends June 2022
  • E – Task: Phase II Analysis, Starts October 2022, Ends December 2022
  • A – Milestone: Pilot Application Launch (Jan 2023), Occurs January 2023
  • B – Milestone: Awards Spending Manager Module Launch (May), Occurs May 2022
  • C – Task: Configure & Test Awards Spending Manager, Starts January 2022, Ends May 2022
  • D – Task: Business Analysis for Student Module & Award Profile w. Pilot Application, Starts January 2022, Ends May 2022
  • E – Task: Configure Student Module & Award Profile w. Pilot Application, Starts May 2022, Ends February 2023
  • A – Milestone: Retire Decision Academic Q1 2023, Occurs January 2023
  • B – Milestone: Admin Module Ready, Occurs November 2022
  • C – Task: Admin Module, Starts January 2022, Ends October 2022
  • D – Task: Public Module, Starts November 2022, Ends April 2023

Reporting and Analytics Technology

Replicating ROSI Data
One of the goals of the 2019 NGSIS Platform Modernization was to improve system performance as well as to create better mechanisms for system integration. Creating a copy of ROSI for reporting and ‘read’ APIs further reduces the load on the transactional ROSI database. ROSI production data is copied to a real-time replica in the Azure Cloud and becomes part of the Operational Data Store (ODS). This replica supports read-only queries from APIs and reporting services such as Power BI and Tableau.

Operational and Academic Reporting (2022)
Members of the Student Information Systems, Operations teams and newly created Reporting and Analytics Technology (RAA Tech) team have been working to implement Microsoft Power BI as the platform for the delivery of operational reports for administrative users across U of T. The system will provide more options for cross-database reporting, faster development time and a more user-friendly user interface than currently available for ROSI-based reports. Priority has been given to Curriculum Management reports, currently based in iHub (BIRT), and the Absence Declaration reports. Staff have begun testing the new reports. Other domains will be added soon, including CIS, ATS and ROSI Express.

Power BI Toolbox (August 2022)
The new Power BI Toolbox SharePoint site provides the community with on-demand access to documentation for onboarding and development support to key enterprise reporting tools such as Power BI, Azure Data Studio and the ROSI Replica Azure database. The new Power BI Toolbox will be continually updated with new information and resources and will be available to staff and faculty by the end of August 2022.

Rocket Shuttle Replacement
The Reporting and Analytics Technology team is working with Student Information Systems and U of T divisions to support the migration from Rocket Shuttle to the new tools like Azure Data Studio and Power BI.  Azure Data Studio and Power BI are more modern tools than Rocket Shuttle and provide additional functionality, including the ability to link multiple databases in queries and reports.

Azure Data Platform and Tableau
The Reporting and Analytics Technology team is supporting the Institutional Research and Data Governance (IRDG) Azure Data Platform and Tableau. Tableau is being upgraded and this later version will enable Tableau to connect to IRDG’s Azure data platform, SharePoint, and to the ROSI Replica Azure database using Office 365 credentials. Informatica and the DB2 data warehouse will be upgraded by end of 2022. Azure Synapse will be implemented by end of September 2022 to support the IRDG project to migrate the DB2 data marts to the Azure data platform.

  • A – Milestone: Deploy RXP Reports (2023), Occurs January 2023
  • B – Task: Curriculum Management, Absence Declaration, ROSI Express Reports, Starts January 2022, Ends January 2023
  • A – Milestone: Winter 2023, Occurs January 2023
  • B – Task: Decommissioning, Starts April 2022, Ends February 2023
  • A – Task: Power BI, Azure Data Studio, ROSI Replica Database, Starts January 2022, Ends January 2023
  • A – Task: Ongoing, Starts August 2022, Ends January 2023

ROSI Change Advisory Board and Ongoing Operations

ROSI Change Advisory Board (Ongoing)

While a great deal of effort has been focused on other projects listed in this report, the SIS and User Experience and Process Design teams have continued to develop enhancements approved and prioritized by the ROSI Change Advisory Board (CAB) or mandated by the government or institutional requirements.

Projects for 2022 – 2023
  • Support for changes to OUAC processes for applications, admissions and transcript exchange.
  • Support for changes to student aid processes (OSAP, UTAPS).
  • Improvements to ROSI Web Service APIs.
  • Changes and new data extracts where APIs cannot be used by the receiving unit.
  • Messaging and enforcement for specific information students must complete in ACORN (completion of the UofT Student Equity Census, verifying address information, emergency contact information etc.)
Projects Completed
  • Changes to student profile screens and updates to processes to receive the display name a student may request through the UTORauth office. Changes were also made to the HRIS to ROSI data feed to use faculty members’ display names in instructor records on course sections.
  • Changes to and testing of enrolment extracts to accommodate fundamental changes to reporting requirements by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
  • Changes to various extracts to support institutional and divisional systems to accommodate new security, business or application requirements. (e.g., Quercus, UTORauth, divisional student portals); new extracts to support new central and divisional systems (e.g., UT Libraries, various unit implementations of co-op placement systems).
  • Overhaul admission correspondence items and subprograms (tokens) to accommodate government requirements (e.g., immigration) or divisional needs.
  • Changes to support multi-institution degrees and programs.
  • Changes to processes supporting admission deposit requirements and payments.
  • Batch Process Streamlining.
  • Changes to support and enforce the use of new delivery mode categories for course meetings sections (validation, changes in defaults, rollover management)
  • Incorporation of the U of T Student Equity Census into the ACORN interface and the SIS data environment.

OUAC Ongoing Changes, Workflow Maintenance & Enhancements:

Current Maintenance work:
Each year, the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) introduces changes to the exchange processes for application and admissions data due to internal requirements and in response to requests from universities and colleges. In advance of each application cycle, we review and analyze the changes and amend our own processes and timing before restarting procedures for the year.

Completed changes:
Reduced the latency of data and improved interaction with Enrolment Services’ Slate system, by adjusting the timing of scheduled procedures, automating others, and enhancing other efficiencies in the procedures themselves. This brings the data in ROSI, Slate and OUAC into closer alignment while we investigate more dynamic data interchange.

OUAC announced that it will be phasing out the use of the EDI file format (for transcripts) by September 2022 (admission cycle 2023), replacing it with the XML format. The changes were required to align and remain current with data standards from the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council. Development was completed and released in mid-August 2022.

Future changes:
Changes required to the OUAC application load for the 2023 application cycle (for completion in September 2022) include adding and adjusting a number of data points in the application and applicant profile. The most significant work involves the addition of five new gender codes. This work will have downstream implications in other systems that read the student profile including ACORN and the student census.

ACORN and RXP Support Functional & Technical Debt (Ongoing)
Various updates requested by stakeholder groups will be addressed, as well as re-writing code (ACORN Angular update, migrating RXP functions to OASIS) to improve performance, enhance security, address deficiencies, add more comprehensive test cases, etc.

  • A – Milestone: Migration, Occurs July 2022
  • B – Task: Initial Analysis, Starts February 2022, Ends April 2022
  • C – Task: UI & Data Migration, Starts March 2022, Ends July 2022
  • D – Task: Student Checklist, Starts August 2022, Ends January 2023
  • A – Task: Scope Investigation of Applications Impacted, Starts May 2022, Ends September 2022
  • B – Task: Development & Implementation, Starts August 2022, Ends April 2023

Where NGSIS is Making an Impact

Savings Analysis 2012 – 2022

Project Name Estimated Savings
Degree Explorer (9 years) $2,300,080
StarRez (9 years) $672,610
eMarks (7 years) $484,792
Varsity Blues (9 years) $37,881
Student Accounts (SCLM) (6 years) $92,364
Curriculum Publisher (5 years) $386,500
Course Information System (5 years) $710,785
Transfer Explorer (4 years) $93,912

A graphic showing Years 1-3, Years 4-8, and Year 9, with arrows in between

Savings: $5,089,132


10 tons of paper eliminated per year, 240 trees saved per year, and 12,295 employee hours saved per year


Webpage Views September 1, 2021 to September 1, 2022

ACORN   —   103,698,515

Degree Explorer   —   1,081,408

Timetable Builder   —   325,244

Transfer Explorer   —   71,842

Course Information System   —   579,801

Financial Planner   —   161,471

StarRez   —   44,515