Case Study: Swinburne University overhauls student management system

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As universities compete for enrolments, technology is increasingly a factor in improving the student experience.

Digital Nation Australia spoke to Professor Sarah Maddison, deputy vice-chancellor education, experience and employability at Swinburne University of Technology about the organisation’s overhaul of its student management system.

According to Maddison, Swinburne is moving to an entirely cloud-based system with TechnologyOne.

“It is a pretty big move. This is our entire student management system, which contains not just all of our existing students, but also contains alumni information. There are tens of thousands of records. So it's obviously, not just a simple lift and shift process,” she said.

Moving the student management system from on-premise to the cloud will be live by mid-next year she said and should provide students with efficiencies and an improvement in dealing with university admin.

“Our systems are not completely brilliant right now. What needs to happen is that our students really need human assistance throughout their enrolment. And as an institute of technology, what we are really wanting to do is for students to be able to self-manage their enrolment process and indeed all of their student admin, if they wish, anytime from any device, and that’s not what we’ve got right now,” said Maddison.

The student portal will allow students to log on to one interface throughout their entire experience at the university.

“We really want them to not even notice the administration process. What we want them to do is get them onto campus and have a fantastic time and begin their learning journey here, rather than actually needing to have a huge amount of interaction in the administration, which should just be invisible and in the background.”

According to TechnologyOne’s annual 2021 Student Survey Report, Australian and New Zealand tertiary education students have shown an increasing preference for online services, including for administration, enrolment and for the course material.

The survey also revealed that a third of students enrolling last year were able to complete the process in less than 10 steps but around a quarter experienced 20-40 steps, suggesting there’s still work to do.

Swinburne University have worked with TechnologyOne since 2014, and while Maddison said the organisation did its due diligence to consider other vendors, staying with the provider meant a more simple and streamlined transition.

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