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Student Information Systems team wins coveted award

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Our Student Information Systems team was awarded the much coveted “Outstanding Student Learning Experience” award at the recent Tribal Empower Conference 2019. The award recognises the sector-leading technical work which underpins much of the EMA programme.

This award is presented annually by Tribal to the development team in the SITS community that has used the software most creatively and effectively to enhance the student learning experience. The SITS software is used in over 60% of universities in the UK, and a number of Higher Education institutions internationally. We know it here as RISIS – the Reading Integrated Student Information System.

The SIS team, in conjunction with the EMA project teams, the IT Middleware team, the IT Teaching Enhanced Learning (TEL) and AV team, the Exams team and CQSD’s TEL team, re-engineered assessment records and business processes and built new RISIS portal screens for administrative staff to manage the data updates. In addition, they used a specialist interface to manage the export of assessment data to Blackboard and to pull validated marks data back into RISIS, constructed a new data store in our data warehouse to allow new versions of result-related reports to be run at critical times without impact on the system, and, using further specialist tools, produced a “heatmap” of conflicting submission deadlines at programme, module and assessment level. 

We are the first university to have been able to integrate SITS with Blackboard to this extent, which is considered a major achievement in the SITS community – often referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of systems integration within the UK education system.

As a result of this transformative work, students have benefited from an enhanced view of their assessment records on the RISIS portal. Data is made available to them in a more timely manner, and they can raise an enquiry about their assessment, marks or progress with the student support teams directly on screen.

The award was accepted on behalf of the University by Dr Rachel Crabtree, Head of Student Information Systems. The SIS team has won several awards over the past few years for its pioneering use of the SITS software. Our team at Reading is widely regarded in the SITS community as ground-breaking and innovative, and is regularly asked to present sessions at the conference.

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