Annual Start of Term IT and Library Business Readiness Project
The Information Services Group is working across teams to prepare for 2021 start of term activities and ensure the best possible IT experience for new and returning students.
Every year the Information Services Group (ISG) conducts a project to ensure all IT services, projects and activities are monitored at the start of the term and the Welcome Week offerings in the Library are managed. The University of Edinburgh hosts start of term open days in September in which the ISG is responsible for IT services readiness, new student cards, personal IT (WiFi), Library tours and activities and learning and teaching technologies. The aim of the project each year is to pull together the aspects of the new student experience being worked on across ISG, providing visibility to senior leadership and allowing service owners to highlight any potential issues.
Leading up to the start of the term ISG meets regularly with all service owners and other teams impacted by open days activities, including Student Systems and Estates. The objective for the coordinated effort is to ensure all services run smoothly at the start of term, offering new and existing students with the best possible experience.
Each year we learn more and can be more ambitious in how we tackle things. The project team are great to work with, I think everyone enjoys the start of year process of welcoming the new students to Edinburgh so everyone is always happy to help out other colleagues and link up with teams across the whole university,
Welcome Week consists of a range of activities occurring in the Library including student card collection, Wifi connection assistance and tours. Under normal circumstances, in the first week more than 15,000 students come through the Library. ISG develops processes and support to ensure students can complete their Welcome Week tasks as efficiently and effectively as possible, including implementing queuing systems and staffing student helpers.
“Last year we had a big success by distributing the new students bank authorization details along with their university card. This was something the student administration team previously had responsibility for and required a different set of instructions for the students to follow. Last year they got everything they needed in one letter,” said Neil.
The project team has also been working to simplify and streamline the process for connecting to WiFi. A connection app was developed to help students connect to University WiFi directly from their mobile devices and students can simply scan a QR code to download the app and be guided through the process. This accompanies the installment of Eduroam internet service in all residence halls, so students have one network to connect to across the University, rather than a separate service for their accommodation. In this case, the service change and mobile application will limit the circumstances by which students will have to access the Library to troubleshoot any issues with WiFi connection.
Due to the uncertainty of the operational state surrounding COVID-19, the team is utilising prep work from last year and planning for scenarios which may arise ranging from a hybrid mix to fully remote and operating flexibly to implement the chosen path on short notice. The project provides a valuable framework for ensuring a successful start of term and helpfully documents and builds off lessons learned for future years.