An Introduction from the Project Director

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the director of teh Student Dashboard project, and I am the Director of Education resposible for TEL at Southampton. More about me at http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/hcd

I have been on sabbatical leave since February, and so somewhat disconnected from the early stages of this project.   In fact more disconnected than was intended as when JISC changed their mail provider our spam filter was so certain that mail coming from JISC was spam that it2 marked it for immediate server side deletion (not even sending it to us marked as SPAM). Consequently we missed some important emails about this project and the first cluster meeting.

The second cluster meeting is on 13th October, and I have resolved to turn up mob handed to apologise for our absence at the first meeting.

However, while I have been away the project has been progressing better than I knew.

The Purpose of our project is to make the information about students that we have available though many systems in the university available to the right time in the right format for the right people.

We have collected a detailed list of the sources of information. The various CRM systems and student record systems are the most obvious, but there are some less obvious systems, such as the assignment hand-in system (so we can know whether the student is up to date on their courseworks) and email archives (so that we can revisit previous (official) conversations we have had with students.

An important issue at the start of this project was the choice of CRM. The university currently uses Oracle CRM in student services, and then a range of third party products and home grown products for recruitment, alumni contact and for faculty/departmental information.  The preferred choice of nearly all the key players was to move the whole university over to Micrososft CRM which would interface best with Sharepoint which is also being rolled out across the University. However, in view of the current financial situation it was decided that this option was too expensive and disruptive. Instead it has been decided to stick with the Oracle CRM for Student Services, the existing Alumni package will continue for the moment. Banner CRM will be introduced and used for a standard university recruiting system. (Banner also provide our SRS), taking away a chunk or responsibility from the Faculties.

This means that there will continue to be a gap. All the other information that Faculties collect about their students will probably continue to fall into home grown systems and be difficult to access. Having said that, there has been a major push in the last year to centralise the collection and curation of information. The sort of information that is currently getting  lost is that collected by personal tutors, senior tutors and other faculty pastoral staff, and programme directors.

This project will provide a vehicle for introducing discussion about this information and hopefully help individuals and faculties to understand the benefits of putting the data somewhere that it can be used by others.

To conclude, the Student Dashboard project is underway and up to date on all its deliverables except the open reporting (blogging).  We now intend to rectify this and make sure that we share the understandings that are emerging.

The srtand of our blog specifically for the Student Dashboard project is

http://blog.soton.ac.uk/oneshare/tag/studash/

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