Canadian and American spelling in uoCampus
PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, the software suite we have chosen for uoCampus, is produced by an American company. That’s why the English uses American spelling (for example, “center” instead of “centre” or “enrollment” instead of “enrolment”). In order to alter the software as little as possible, we have decided to keep the American spelling. We will use Canadian spelling on our web pages and when communicating with students, and save the American spelling for direct references to the software.
Gender identity in uoCampus
Times change and institutions adapt. The Ontario government no longer requires information on gender for OHIP card requests and OUAC has made the “Gender” field optional in its admission application forms. In uoCampus, students have three choices for their gender identity: “Female,” “Male” and “Other.” It is also possible to not identify oneself (“Unknown”). When applicants do not fill in the “Gender” field, the information automatically transferred to uoCampus is “Gender: Unknown.” Students wishing to change their gender identity in their University of Ottawa student record may continue to follow the same procedure, by contacting InfoService.
At the University of Ottawa, information on gender is mainly used for official government reports. It can also be used to assess certain scholarship or bursary applications, or to manage insurance for international students. It’s clear that we will have to adapt some of our practices in keeping with the times and the realities of our constantly changing society.
Academic level in uoCampus
Academic level in uoCampus corresponds to the number of credits completed since the student was admitted in a given undergraduate career and takes into account any equivalences the student received. Academic level doesn’t necessarily correspond to the students’ progress within their undergraduate program. In fact, a student can remain at academic level 4 for several years. The French equivalent is année d’études.
Academic level is used at the undergraduate level for calculating tuition fees and determining registration times, for example.
This concept, as described above, does not exist at the graduate level.
Where have all the prepositions gone?
One of the selection criteria for the new SIS was that it had to be bilingual. This is one of the reasons we chose Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, a bilingual student information system that integrates both French and English. All the modules are available in both official languages, allowing you to work in either French or English or alternate between the two languages, as needed.
However, you won’t find any prepositions in French in uoCampus because almost no prepositions have been used. This isn’t an error though. Rather, it was a decision by Oracle to ensure uniformity in the French version. In addition, there is a limited number of characters for each field in the version of PeopleSoft Campus Solutions that will be launched in November. Because French tends to be longer, with fewer appositions and more prepositions, Oracle decided to exclude prepositions and articles in the tool. This means that instead of seeing Admissions des étudiants, you’ll see Admissions étudiants. Vos données d’études becomes Vos données études and Exigences de réussite appears as Exigences réussite, etc.
We are currently working with Oracle so that prepositions can be included in version 9.2 in the various self-serve screens (Student Centre, Faculty Centre, Candidate Centre, etc.).
A greater focus on courses
We’ve been saying it from the start: this new tool will invariably change the way we work. Not only will we need to adapt to new procedures and operations, we will also need to adapt to a new way of thinking about our work. PSCS uses courses as the building blocks for operations, both for scheduling and enrollment and for the grading basis. Hence, in the current SIS, you build the schedule for several courses at once on various screens, while in PSCS, you enter several types of information about a given course (such as the schedule, enrollment limits, teaching method, professor, course location, auditors) on one screen.
Similarly, in the new system, the statuses of students enrolled in a given course are organized around the course itself. Therefore, to check a student’s status for a given course (i.e., INS, ANNUL, ABAN, AUD), you must first check to see whether or not the student is enrolled in the course. So, you can trace information such as CR and AUD by looking at the course, since a student auditing a course is enrolled in the same way as a credit-obtaining student.
This course-based structure allows you to extend the start and end dates of a term for a given course. For example, if a course given by one faculty needs to start two weeks before the official start of the fall term, you can change the dates of the beginning (or end) of the fall term for that course only. In contrast, in the old SIS system, you needed to create a sub-session or make special arrangements (and then send out emails to students telling them where the course would be held).
A greater student autonomy and responsibility
One of the major changes the new SIS will provide students with greater autonomy in their academic direction. In other words, we’re removing the controls and restrictions built into the registration application and making students more responsible for their direction. Of course, we’re giving them the tools to know what they have to register for to meet their program requirements, but we’re not forcing them to do anything. So, the PeopleSoft Campus Solution Academic Advisement module, which replaces the Audit module in Rabaska, doesn’t restrict students in any way. If students want to register for courses that aren’t part of their program and they have the prerequisites to do so, the system won’t prevent them from registering. This major change in how we handle registration will obviously require us to keep students well-informed, particularly if they’re used to the restrictions in Rabaska, but we will also have to adjust the way we view the services we offer them.
This approach will actually allow us to concentrate more on prevention, screening, and advising students in person. Instead of us getting checklists, entering exceptions in Rabaska and checking the list of ATR courses, the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions software will enable us to spend quality time with students, better assist them throughout their studies and advise them on their path as needed, under more positive circumstances. This is a complete change in how we view counselling students, one that also gives students more flexibility and autonomy by letting them take more responsibility for their path.
To gradually prepare for this shift, we have already begun to integrate this way of seeing things in our messages and documentation for new students, such as in the Undergraduate Student Guide (both online and hard copy). Our students are the architects of their own success and it’s up to them to take control.