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Need SIS help? Ask the student brigade

23 grads and undergrads are stationed across campus to answer your Student Information System questions
February 11, 2015

Source: University Communications Services

When it comes to self-service dashboards, Concordia students have a handy and efficient new way to interact with the university online.

On January 26, Concordia’s 32-year-old legacy information system was replaced with a package solution from Oracle/PeopleSoft called Campus Solutions. It’s an enterprise-level Student Information System (SIS) that supports virtually all student-related services, processes and business functions at the university.

Enter the SIS HELP brigade: a group of peer helpers stationed at high-traffic locations on both campuses for the next few weeks, answering students’ questions about the new SIS portal with a smile.

The SIS HELP brigade is there to provide in-person assistance to students, and is a key component of the overall support structure as the Concordia community becomes more fluent with the new system.

“The student brigade has been able to resolve more than 70 per cent of student queries,” says Kristina Millett, change management and training–support analyst on the SIS Renewal Project.

Leveraging feedback

The brigade collects data about the kinds of questions they receive. This feedback helps to identify what additional how-to guides should be created and posted on the SIS page on the Student hub.

To leverage this feedback to its fullest, Millett created a query capture spreadsheet, logging the location and shift of the members of the student brigade, along with the questions they encountered.

“If the brigade can’t answer a question, we collect the student’s email and ID number for a follow-up response,” Millett says. “If necessary, we create a help ticket with the IITS Service Desk.”

New how-tos

While there are already more than 40 how-to guides on the Student Hub, additional guides are being posted in direct response to student feedback.

Upcoming topics include “How to view your permanent code” and “How to apply for bursaries and scholarships.”

Common questions

“Students often ask us how to check their account balancehow to pay tuition and how to request a transcript,” says Ari Green, an exchange student the Department of History.

Green comes from the California State University, Sacramento, which is one of the 1,000 universities and colleges world wide, including 25 Canadian institutions, who also use Campus Solutions from Oracle/PeopleSoft.

“We walk them through each step on their laptops or iPads and give them a copy of the My Student Centre Cheat Sheet for future reference, as well as point them to the hub,” she says.

Fellow student brigadier Claire Kalisilira notes that the most common question she receives is about pop-up blockers, which make it confusing when performing some functions in Campus Solutions.

“I show students how to disable their pop-up blockers in every imaginable browser — Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox,” says Kalisilira, a master’s student in Information Systems Security. “It’s a simple ‘fix’ and everyone goes away happy.”

Kalisilira’s feedback will result in another guide that’s soon to appear on the student hub: “How to disable pop-up blockers.”

Perks of the SIS

Students often ask the brigade about the SIS benefits.

Registration for the summer term is coming up in March — and with this in mind — Green and Kalisilira tell them about the new system’s waitlist function, along with the course swapping feature.

“Everyone’s also impressed with the What if advising feature, to see how their credits would count toward a different degree,” says Kalisilira.

The look: a common business application

Some students have asked the brigade about the interface of My Student Centre, commenting on its basic look and asking why it isn’t branded more extensively with Concordia design elements.

“We explain that Campus Solutions isn’t a racy product for your smartphone. It’s a packaged business application — like many other enterprise-level applications which choose to use a basic interface,” says Millett.

“Extensive branding would increase the costs of future upgrades. It’s common practice for users of Campus Solutions, like Princeton University and Columbia University, to keep customization to a minimum.”

Get ready for summer registration by reading the how-to guides under Course Registration on the student SIS hub.


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