August 17, 2017, by Jessica Watson
Reflecting on the Fundamentals training – Sarah Matthews
Reporting in after my second training session on Campus Solutions…
How it felt…
At the beginning, I felt there was a little more trepidation in the room than the last session. Alistair, our trainer, expected us to have remembered what he taught us last time and he has a habit of re-phrasing your questions and firing them back at you encouraging you to find the answer (with a little guidance!)
While this can, for a terrifying moment, make you feel a bit like a rabbit in the headlights, it’s also very effective at making everyone in the room engage and stay focused. I think it does also make the way you got your answer more memorable. It’s probably all part of some grand, overarching training psychology?
This session was on Admissions Fundamentals. We focused more specifically on how to perform certain functions relating to our roles within the system. Alistair took us through a short overview and then got us to consolidate the information via a series of practical exercises using dummy applications.
A chance of clouds
I found the training environment, once again, really positive. There were plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get help. He also acknowledged the difficulties faced in the changeover. I think that is refreshing. It is more realistic than being lambasted with unrealistic ‘blue-skies’ type terminology – as is often the case in training sessions – which can make people feel disconnected from the subject matter.
The main point that he wanted to get across in the training session was that all the search functions are pre-built and, in fact, the system is very repetitive. It seems a bit frightening and unfamiliar now but, after we had done the six exercises, it became apparent that the pages all look very similar. Once we get practiced and used to using them it will become more intuitive. There’s still plenty of practice that we need to do but that was a reassuring fact to learn.
I think one of the challenges will be getting used to the changes in terminology, and also the fact that we will be using both legacy systems and the new system simultaneously for a while. That might be taxing too but I have faith it will get easier.
My impressions of the system itself were that it felt easy enough to use. I think that it will feel more natural over time. We also discovered that the system contains some useful built-in checks that we don’t currently have the benefit of. For example, it wouldn’t be possible to mistakenly send a conditional offer to an applicant who has withdrawn their offer. The system brings up an error message prompting you to check the data.
We also learnt how we might correct mistakes we do make. I think this can be one of the biggest worries about using a new system in a public facing role like ours. How can we fix errors when they inevitably occur? We had a discussion about this in our group and agreed that actually, because there is one single record that both staff in admissions and applicants have access to in real time, this could actually make it quicker to notice and correct any discrepancies.
Another benefit, in comparison to our current working practice, is that, within Campus Solutions it’s possible to perform several different actions within the applicant’s record without having to come in and out of various applications and pages and having to search for them again each time or have a dozen tabs open. Once you have selected the applicant record you can navigate around within it for as long as you wish and the system will remember the details for you. I can absolutely see that this will cut out a lot of processing time and will be more user friendly than what we have in the Applicant Support Team now.
So, in summary…
After a little falter in confidence at the beginning of the session, I once again left feeling like I’d accomplished something and look forward to the next instalment.