The University of Sydney FlexSIS
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History of FlexSIS

The implementation of FlexSIS has been phased, focussing on business priorities, with modules being released as they are completed. Releases have been tied closely to the academic calendar to ensure new functionality coincides with the needs of the University.

  Review of Major Releases Since 2002 lion

Releases 8.2 and 8.3 (June/July 2007)

  Regulatory compliance (ESOS, DEST course-code wrap-up)
  2008 fees

Release 7.9 (January 2007)

  Online Enrolment
  FlexSIS Turbo

Release 7.8 (November 2006)

  Scholarships Stage 2
  Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management - Students At Risk
  Research Higher Degree Student Management

Release 7.6 (July 2006) — Devolved Services Project

  Scholarships Stage 1

Release 7.5 (December 2005 - January 2006) — Devolved Services Project

  Admission Credit
  Research Admissions and Enrolment

Release 7 (May 2005) — International Office & HEIMS, remaining capability

  International Office phase 2
  HEIMS phase 2

Release 6.5 (January 2005) — International Office

  Fee paying students (agents)
  Study abroad & exchange (partners, agents)
  Scholarship students (sponsors)
  IO reporting
  Student financials: third party contracts, application and deposit fees
  Cumberland integration
  HEIMS phase 1

Release 6.0 (January 2004) — Student Financials

  SFIS upgrade (PeopleSoft)
  Billing process improvement (FlexSIS)
  Student financial history view
  Payment allocation (at fee type level)
  NSTP billing
  Enrolment history on the web

Release 5.5 (October 2003 - January 2004) — SRS Replacement & Data Cleanup

  Examinations, Results processing
  Student records, Transcript management, Research studies
  Progression, Advanced standing (Credits)
  Graduation, Prizes & scholarships
  External interfaces

Release 5.2 (late 2003) — Student Financials (Chart of Accounts)

  Student financials: chart of accounts

Release 5.1 (December 2002) — Enrolment Enhancement

  IO back pages
  Address variation on the web
  Web reporting
  Student financials — BPay, Semester 1 (2003) statement, UoS weight calculation and rounding, manual comp sub and fee adjustment
  FlexSIS to AIMS interface

Release 4.5 (September 2002) — Non-Standard Teaching Periods

  Non-standard teaching periods (NSTP)
  Admissions enhancements
  Enhancement to enrolment and pre-enrolment

  Two Decades in Development lion

FlexSIS completely replaced the legacy Student Records System in early 2004, and was deployed to the International Office and the Cumberland campus.

World class student system

From 1999 - 2001 significant development work was carried out (though the project was beset with governance issues) and during this time core modules of Course and UoS maintenance, Admissions, and Enrolments were implemented. In early 2002 a strategic review of the project was undertaken and as a result a Student Administration Program Manager was appointed.

Unanimous decision

In early 1999, the external consultants delivered a report on the options open to the University for the future of student system developments. This report included a comparative analysis of the PeopleSoft SAS system and the FlexSIS system. Following a very careful consideration of this analysis, the decision to continue the development of FlexSIS was almost unanimously positive.

Attitude change

Changes to the University management and in particular the recognition of IT systems as a significant capital resource led to a change in attitude to the development. New managers, with the necessary expertise in project management and student systems were employed and with the help of external consultants, brought the project back on track.

In 1998 the first module was released to the University — pre-enrolment of continuing students which was used by 11 of the 17 faculties. However, SRS remained the predominant system during this time.

Birth of FlexSIS

With the CASMAC initiative unsuccessful, Sydney elected to proceed with an in-house development of a new student system: FlexSIS, which stands for a Flexible Student Information System.

The development of the system began in late 1996. In the early days it was not perceived as a main stream project. Its scope was restricted to the elimination of the faculty systems which had grown to provide the functionality that the ageing SRS could not. In the early stages of the development there was little user commitment to the project and it was not well aligned with the IT Strategic Plan or with the strategic plan of the University itself. The advent of Y2K and the need to enhance the existing system saw an upsurge in interest in the FlexSIS development.

Common administrative systems

The development of common administrative systems within these consortia proceeded very slowly due primarily to the different ways in which universities carried out their core business functions. Some were highly centralised and others more devolved in their processes. The UniPower group was eventually disbanded as was the UniOn group, although Deakin University continued the development of the student system, now called 'Callista', which had been commissioned in that University and then offered to other tertiary education institutions.

In the Beginning

The University's Student Record System (SRS) was commissioned in 1980 and was a mainframe-based system, a design which supported the needs of a centralised university in the 70s. For many years it was deficient in meeting the needs of the wider University. In the early 1990s, there was a push for Australian universities to develop common administrative systems (CASMAC — Core Australian Specification for Management and Administrative Computing) to overcome the problems inherent in the old systems. This push lead to the establishment of two consortia, UniOn and UniPower, which were charged with the task of developing a full suite of administrative computing systems. The University of Sydney joined UniPower.

In 1998-89 the University began an upgrade of its major administrative systems. It implemented the PeopleSoft Finance and Human Resource packages, but decided that there was no commercially-available package that met its needs for a student information system. It was thus decided to develop the Flexible Student Information System (FlexSIS) in-house in consultation with users.

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Help instructions for common FlexSIS functions such as:

  Finding a student
  Creating an enrolment list
  Recording a comment against a student's record

... can be found in the Help with Basics section of this Web site.