Tag Archives: student experience

Student First Programme: How User Acceptance Testing creates better solutions

User Acceptance Testing explained

Recently the Student First Programme team held a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) session for our new Course Selector, which will be launched in October for Enrolment 2019.

What is UAT and why is it important?

User Acceptance Testing is a critical part of the technical delivery process when we’re building software and other systems.

It’s really important to have people outside the Student First Programme team see what we’re building and give us feedback before it goes live. At UC our participants are often testing on behalf of both staff members and students, so the feedback they provide helps ensure what’s being delivered actually helps to improve the student administration experience.

What happens in a session?

Users simulate real life scenarios, such as selecting courses for a Bachelor of Arts, so they can see how the system will look and perform when students use it once it’s live. We use a test or non-production system for UAT sessions, which means people can safely ‘play’ in the knowledge they can break things and its ok!

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What happens to feedback?

All feedback is collated and reviewed by members of the delivery team to discuss and prioritise feedback, taking into consideration possible benefits, technical constraints and delivery resource.

All feedback is considered, and outside of the sessions you can also provide this by emailing studentfirstprogramme@canterbury.ac.nz

How does this help us build better tools?

Conducting UAT with UC staff means we have confidence that what we’re building is aligned to business requirements and makes the student experience more streamlined and efficient. As a result of feedback gathered during UAT, we’re making 6 additional changes to the Course Selector tool in time for the release.

Thanks to all our participants for their insights!

The Course Selector: Coming Soon

The Course Selector is a new feature in myUC which helps students select their courses with an easy to use ‘shopping cart’ interface, similar to many online services. Through search and filter capability it will help students select courses quicker and with confidence – giving them a faster and more certain enrolment experience, which is one of the key benefits of the Student First Programme.
Read more here.

In July we launched the Course Selector for Certificate for University Preparation students as a pilot, and the feedback so far has been positive.

The Course Selector will be launched in myUC for all new students in late September, in time for Enrolments 2019. Watch this space for more updates!

Action on prevention of harassment and sexual violence

The University is committed to ensuring all members of the UC community are treated in a respectful and equitable way. A number of initiatives have been implemented this year, or are progressing.

  • For the last six months UC has an anti-sexual violence working group comprising academic, general staff and student representation including Thursdays in Black rep
  • UC has reviewed its anti-harassment policy.  It has been discussed comprehensively with the senior management team. UC will be finalising and launching a revised policy within the next month or so
  • UC has mapped its response and complaint processes and will be further documenting and publishing them within the next six to eight weeks
  • UC has identified additional staff training  – 30 staff representatives from across the University will attend the training today (Friday)
  • UC has revamped its website which includes improved and new pages on:

       >Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
        >Bystander Intervention
        >Healthy Relationships

      Staff and student feedback is welcome.

  • UC has relaunched its Student Code of Conduct in 2018 and has undertaken additional educational programmes for students to support enhanced awareness of issues of harassment and appropriate behaviour
  • UC has re-assessed its processes prior to students undertaking internships to address health and safety issues
  • UC is collaborating with other universities under UNZ to improve awareness and tools to combat sexual harassment across the sector
  • If staff or students wish to raise a concern or a complaint information is available at https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/concerns/  or students can access support from Health and Counselling, Student Care or UCSA’s Advocacy and Welfare team.  Staff can access support from their manager or HR advisor.

End-of-year-examinations dates and timetable

The end-of-year examinations will be held from Monday, 29 October to Thursday, 15 November. 

The timetable will be available late afternoon on Friday, 17 August on the Examinations website.

Encourage students to check the dates and times of examinations carefully. 

Room allocation information will be published on the Examinations website on the last day of lectures for Semester Two (19 October).

Remind students about calculator checks
Calculator checks for courses that need it are available from the Information Desk (Matariki, Level 1) on a drop-in basis. Please see Examination Instructions for further information.

Encourage students to find out about Academic Skills Centre support
For assistance with revision and exam preparation, stress management and other academic matters, students are encouraged to check out the courses running at the Academic Skills Centre this term.

Spotting the Lunar Eclipse from Mount John

Astronomy major Finlay Mably was given the opportunity to visit Mount John Observatory last month to observe planets and test a particular camera technique for his ASTR211 course.

While positioned at this fantastic vantage point he was lucky enough to watch the lunar eclipse, surrounded by bright, unobscured stars. He tells us about it, here.

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If you don’t know, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves directly into the shadow of the Earth. The Moon doesn’t reflect any sunlight turning it a red colour as it reflects the light from Earth back to us. Spooky.

After getting up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus, the real adventure began in the early afternoon. While feeling the effects of getting up so early, the afternoon on the mountain was a great chance to have a good look at the view during the last sunlight hours. It was slightly chilly on Mount John, but the sky was clear making for a great night of astronomy. The weather had other ideas though. Setting up at our telescope at sunset, a wild storm appeared and we were forced by the rain and wind to take cover.

One thing about the weather in an environment like Mount John is, it is very unpredictable. One moment the sky is clear and all is calm, the next there’s cloud cover and torrential rain.

After the stormy weather passed we headed to the telescope to look at the planets! Clear as it was, the wind was still howling with gusts of up to 70kmh rattling the dome. Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars were the main attractions of the evening’s work, I took many pictures of all of them to admire and test the new equipment. Mars was especially good viewing that night since it was in opposition, the closest and brightest it’s going to be for the next few years. 

Around 4.00am we saw it. Poking out between a few clouds was the moon, slowly turning red as it moved into Earth’s shadow. Clouds around this area quickly started to grow with the extent of the eclipse. Sadly, most of the eclipse was blocked out by this unfortunate cloud, but the sunrise that followed was spectacular.

Finlay Mably

UC launches digital academic documents with My eQuals

Graduating students and alumni can now get certified digital copies of their transcripts, degree certificates and official letters through a secure cloud-based system, My eQuals. Over 500 graduates have already accessed their documents through this internationally recognised system, developed by a consortium of Australasian universities.

The digital documents are marked as certified by UC, and can be securely shared with third parties such as employers and other universities. Find out more here.

 What is My eQuals?

The My eQuals project was delivered by the Student First Programme, and is an important part of our work to transform the student administration experience at all stages of the student journey right through to graduation. It provides another convenient digital service for students that’s responsive to their needs, will reduce manual workload for staff, and the cost and paper associated with printing hard copy records.

Who else is using the system?

UC joins 20+ other Australasian universities using the My eQuals system, including AUT, The University of Auckland and the University of Otago. My eQuals is also being used by a growing global network of higher education institutions committed to creating a more globally mobile student and graduate experience through easy online sharing of credentials.

Who can use it and what are the costs?

Students graduating after July 12, 2018 will get a certified digital copy of their testamur (degree certificate) and transcript at no cost, as well as the usual physical copy at their ceremony. Other students and alumni will need to pay a one-off fee for access, and hard copies are still available for those who require them. More information is on the Transcript webpage here.

For questions about digital documents on My eQuals, contact transcript@canterbury.ac.nz.