In the first week of August 2022, Victoria University’s TechnologyOne Student Management system, previously used by 10,000 of its vocational education and training (VET) students, went live with its 30,000 university students.
Stuart Hildyard, Executive Director of the University’s Transformation Project Office, said the change to one single student management system had been transformative in supporting and integrating the requirements of the institution for both vocational and higher education.
Victoria University has several campuses, one in Melbourne CBD, five in the city’s western suburbs, as well as one in Sydney and Brisbane. It was an early leader in the use of SMS on Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, adopting TechnologyOne’s solution for its VET students in 2017. It has been a long-term Financials customer often partnering for early advantage and moving to SaaS platform for both solutions just made sense.
“The good thing about TechnologyOne is that they are Australia-based. Often when it comes to successful technology implementation, it depends on the local relationship. They understand the Australian sector really well,” Mr Hildyard said.
“If I do have a problem, I can pick up the phone and ring them or fly up to Brisbane to see them. I think the relationship aspect is really important and aligns to our ‘partnering with principle’ strategic driver. One of our core principals is an unrelenting focus on the student experience for our transformation program.”
TechnologyOne’s OneEducation solution has benefitted the university in a number of ways, but most notably in freeing up staff. They now spend less time doing what Mr Hildyard calls “transactional activities”.
“The student and staff experience has been improved because the staff can automate more of their work. If staff are spending less time doing transactional things, it frees them up to service the students,” he said.
The university’s timetabling and scheduling will also be moved to TechnologyOne’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform in 2023, which will help it optimise and enhance its campus operations.
“We can efficiently use our space, so students can have better clustering for classes to enhance their experience across our multiple campuses going forward,” he said.
For enrolments, the system has made more information available online at the front end, so students are now better informed when they begin various processes, a difference experience from the past.
The platform is also available on mobile devices, as well as desktop.
“One thing we are working on is the ability to automate offers and acceptances, so a student can accept an offer and automatically be enrolled. The plan is they would then be able to access their timetable straight away in the future,” Mr Hildyard said.
While there has historically been a large drop off in student engagement with the university during the online enrolment process, the website is also seeing changes to improve click-through access to apply.
“We are now looking at all the steps where we can initiate changes through the platform before the end of the year to improve our admission to enrolment conversion,” Mr Hildyard said.
Another change that will be live in the coming months at Victoria University will be the ability for staff to engage online directly with students during the offer and acceptance process.
“Previously a student applied for a place and when they received a rejection, that was it. Now we have the ability to create alternate offers so our staff can tell them ‘You may not be eligible for this higher education place but have you thought about this TAFE course’ and vice versa,” Mr Hildyard said.
TechnologyOne is currently working with a group of early adopters, including Victoria University, to design DXP Student.
This new digital experience platform will provide an individualised experience for students, simplifying and automating administration with a clean interface that brings together data from disparate systems.
It will also support students by using data analytics to identify when they may be struggling, including directing them to the right support services.
“DXP Student has a really nice user experience for the student where it will make it even simpler to do various aspects of their enrolments, admissions and timetabling,” Mr Hildyard said.
“We are talking to TechnologyOne about how we get involved as early adopters so we can take advantage of helping them best shape the product through a student lens.”
Utilising Artificial Intelligence will also be another benefit of DXP Student.
“One of the longer-term advantages for the University of having Timetabling & Scheduling, Financials and our Student Management System on TechnologyOne’s SaaS platform is that we can leverage that to get good data information and data sets which feeds into AI use,” Mr Hildyard said.
“We have started strategic discussions to see if we could look at using data to better manage building assets and utilisation. For example, through TechnologyOne’s timetabling system, can we remotely turn on the lights when the space is being used and vice versa to improve environmental efficiency?”
TechnologyOne offers Victoria University students scholarships each year for students to do a placement in its Brisbane office.
“That is part of the whole strength of our partnership and how we strategically look to go forward with TechnologyOne,” Mr Hildyard said.