Victoria University has a goal for its student administration system of enrolling 80% of students within 48 hours. But just when the goal will be met is not clear.
VUW’s Banner student administration system has undergone a major upgrade, moving from version 1 to version 5 in an eight-month process. Version 1 of the product, which comes from US-based Systems and Computer Technology (SCT), was implemented in 1991.
In announcing a successful first month’s running for the new system, VUW deputy vice-chancellor Roy Sharp said the upgrade was “a crucial step” in reaching its target.
But when will the target be reached? “We are looking to the 2004 year to have made considerable progress toward meeting this goal,” says student administration director Pam Thorburn.
Explaining the delayed upgrade, Thorburn says the university did not have access to the original SCT technical competency program that provided regular upgrades and technical and operational support. “This meant that the system was over the years supported in-house, was heavily customised and in some cases features within the system were not being fully utilised,” she says.
VUW has now set up what Thorburn calls “a strong partnership with SCT” to ensure a continued smooth upgrade.
Banner is Oracle-based and the university already has an Oracle environment. The new version has been implemented on top of the Oracle 9i applications Server (9iAS).
Only the core applications of the new version have been implemented to date, so leaping an 11-year gap has provided no new functionality yet. Improvements have, however, been made in ease of operation and security, says VUW spokesman Anthony Partlidge.
Later this academic year, new functionality will start being implemented. “Students, for example, will be able to use the internet to get their exam results more quickly and without having to pay a charge,” Sharp says.
To date immediate access to results has been by way of an 0900 phone line. Students will also be able to access their personal and academic records.
“It will also result in a faster and more efficient enrolment process, and once they’re enrolled they will be able to check their course timetable as well.”