The Curriculum Management System (CMS) implementation is a key component of Project Beacon. Recently, the project team, along with a number of stakeholders from across the University, spent one month in intensive planning, scoping and design workshops, followed by a number of ‘sprints’ to configure the software solution to meet the University’s needs.
We caught up with Alison Guerreiro, Senior Business Analyst from the Curriculum and Planning Team, to find out more.
Ali, the team has just completed ‘Sprint 1’ of the CMS Project, which developed templates and workflows to support Course proposals and governance approvals. The focus is now on the next stage of development. What does this phase include?
We are now focusing on the functionality of course components (majors, minors and specialisations), with expected completion at the end of October 2018. There is also planning underway for User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to ensure the build and functionality of the new CMS meets our needs and requirements. UAT will be conducted during November, December and January 2019, and will involve ‘real users’ giving input and feedback as we refine the design and iron out any bugs prior to going live in late January 2019.
How will the new CMS improve things?
The CMS will streamline the approval process for new units, courses and course components (majors, specialisations, minors). Having the right people involved at the right stage is key to a robust curriculum, and the new system will facilitate this. From a personal perspective, the improvement I’m most looking forward to is the reduction of manual data entry. Currently we have a number of ways in which curriculum is approved and amended – including webforms, ask.mq, OneDrive spreadsheets, and PDF forms. Each of these require manual entry into Handbook after approval, which is time-consuming and opens us up to errors. Having proposals, approvals, and content management all in the one system will allow us to focus on the places where we can add value.
What did you learn from the Planning, Scoping and Design (PSD) workshops?
It was great to get so many stakeholders together, on a regular basis, making decisions. I was surprised how quickly we could work through decisions when all the right people were in the room.
What’s your favourite feature of the CMS (CourseLoop)?
I’m a big fan of data. So I like that the faculties will have much more visibility and control of their curriculum data. For example, a unit convenor will be able to quickly and easily see wherever their unit is included in a course structure or in a prerequisite. This is something that the Curriculum and Planning team have always been able to do, but it’s the curriculum owners who really need access to this type of information, so they can make informed decisions, and so they can consult with the right people before making changes. I also like that the system will track changes between versions, which will allow for transparency in how content such as learning outcomes change over time.
SMS Project update – Student Management System
The other key area of Project Beacon is the Student Management System (SMS) Project. Over the past month, the project team has been finalising the Expression of Interest (EOI) for a Student Management System. The EOI delivered an understanding of the current capabilities available in the market, covering both what is available today, as well as what is in development for the future. The team is now preparing an EOI Evaluation Report and a recommendation on the way forward, taking into consideration the EOI outcomes, a cost benefit assessment on options, as well as the level of change the University is currently undergoing. Further discussion with key stakeholders and Macquarie Executive will be held to decide on the next steps to take for the SMS project. Watch this space.
To learn more, visit the Project Beacon Portal where you will find the most relevant project information, updates and support resources in respect to the projects involved in Project Beacon (Curriculum Management System and Student Management System).