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Support

We have put together a three-step process for accessing support when you encounter a problem or have a query, to make it as quick and easy as possible for it to be resolved:

Step 1: Access online resources

The first thing to do is access the extensive online and self-service materials available to staff:

  • Transition videos: These provide an overview of the changes with high level information. These can be found on the Application and Admissions Yammer site.
  • Online training: Staff with key admissions roles (PS and academic) will be asked to complete training on the new systems and processes, some of which is mandatory. Please ensure that you have undertaken this training before you begin to process applications. It has been designed to provide you with detailed knowledge on the systems and processes relating to the admissions release.
  • Knowledge hub: As you begin to follow the new processes, you may find you need to check a specific aspect along the way. Rather than directing you back through the full training, we have provided searchable guides to help you find the information you need more quickly, via the Application and Admissions Knowledge Hub.

Step 2: Speak to your local admissions team

If you have not been able to resolve your query using online resources, we recommend that you contact your local admissions team.

Each team has ‘super-users’ who have had extensive training to support you. These super-users also have direct access to colleagues in the DSE admissions team for specialist advice.

Step 3: Escalate your query for more support

If the issue cannot be resolved, the super user will escalate this into a process for resolution. It is unlikely that you will need to be involved in this, as the super-user will represent you and your query. During this process, work will be prioritised based on the risk and impact – so your query may not be resolved immediately, but your local team will keep you updated.

FAQs

When will Campus Solutions be down?

Campus Solutions will be out of service for a weekend during October whilst the upgrade takes place to minimise disruption. Details of the exact dates are to be confirmed w/c 27th September.

Following the upgrade, notification will be sent to users to confirm when the system has returned, but the downtime is expected to be minimal.

If there are any questions or concerns about this then please contact studentexperienceprogramme@manchester.ac.uk.

How are PS colleagues being prepared and trained for the changes?

Admissions teams have been engaged in transition activities from March 2021 onwards. These activities included introductory videos to explain key changes and benefits, and follow-up workshops with managers. The focus of these workshops was to discuss any concerns, identify actions for teams relating to transition, and assess engagement with the forthcoming changes. In tandem, a Yammer site was established to share news, transition videos, answer questions and to  support a community of practice for admissions colleagues across the University.

The project team has worked in close partnership with managers and leaders of admissions teams to plan and ensure teams are ready. One of the criteria by which SEP will assess whether it should go-live as planned, will be whether the business leads confirm that both their local teams and stakeholders are ready.

There is significant training needed for the PS colleagues, and some of this is mandatory. The project team have worked with local managers to schedule this in ways that allow the work to be spread across a longer period.

  • A Zoom-based briefing is mandatory. As of early September 95% of expected staff had completed this.
  • Online modular training is available in Blackboard, which provides detailed guidance on how to complete essential admissions processes for both UCAS and Direct Entry applicants.
  • Admissions staff have access to a Training Environment where they can practice their skills prior to accessing the live system.
  • A Knowledge Hub has been created with easily searchable how-to guides to help colleagues find reminder information quickly, once they have completed the initial training guides.

Super-users have been trained in all local teams to support colleagues as part of the wider support structures available

 

How will academic colleagues be prepared and trained for the changes?

Feedback from academic colleagues has suggested that it would be preferable for information to be provided at the point of use rather than in advance.

We have asked local leaders and managers to keep academic partners updated about the changes, and as we approach the launch of the new processes academic colleagues can expect to receive direct contact and information from the programme team.

Some training requirements such as the standard university Data Protection training are already mandatory for all staff and monitored by local managers.  It is essential that this completed as staff will be able to see detailed and potentially sensitive data about applicants.

Academics colleagues will be required to watch a training video prior to a training sessions and will them be given access to a knowledge hub which allows them to search for information as and when they need it. In addition, local admissions teams will be available to answer queries, if further information/support is needed. 

How are we reducing the risk of things going wrong?

SEP is subject to rigorous governance and regular status reporting. During the lead up to a major milestone such as the October 2021 admissions release, this scrutiny increases to ensure that a decision to proceed with the release is based on the appropriate balance of risks. Senior members of the Programme Board will be included in this decision.

The operational leadership group composed of SE Leaders responsible for taught and postgraduate research admissions have been briefed and are actively involved in assessing the status of the change. This includes both whether the process and technological solution is fit and suitable; as well as whether relevant operational teams are ready for the change. Extensive planning and monitoring of risks between IT, business and programme colleagues is a significant step in ensuring things go as smoothly as possible.

On balance, this release presents significant scale and complexity of change for the organisation and steps are in place to manage issues along the way as they occur.  Our planning and assurance processes are designed to reduce the likelihood and significance of these potential risks and issues, and ensure that we have structures in place to resolve these quickly and easily.

What happens if something does go wrong?

In the first few weeks the majority of the queries raised will be easily dealt with by signposting to appropriate training materials or with the assistance of super-users.  Arrangements are in hand to be able to update training materials and information quickly as necessary. 

Where an issue cannot be resolved locally, there are escalation processes.  Issues will be triaged and prioritised according to the scale and impact of the problem.  Dedicated teams of business and technical colleagues will work  through the issues based on prioritisations.

Local managers and leaders will have regular meetings (daily during peak periods) with the programme team to assess how the change is going, and to monitor the progress to resolving issues and risks.

What if an applicant needs support?

The new application form has been designed to be as easy to use as possible to use. It contains guidance and advice throughout. In addition, information about the change will be included via the usual communication and marketing routes available. International agents who have a significant role in supporting some students in their applications will also be briefed about the changes.

If an applicant does have a query, the same process will continue as for standard admissions questions. The applicant will be directed either to their relevant admissions team or if they have a more general query to admissions@manchester.ac.uk

The IT Service Desk will also be provided with information on the most common support issues such applicants activating their University IT account to allow them to complete transactional processes

What variations should be noted for postgraduate research (PGR) admissions?

As part of the changes outlined above, the programme has worked closely with PGR admissions colleagues to ensure that processes and technology have been developed to suit specific PGR applicant types and evaluation needs.

A major difference for the PGR admissions is the core role of academics in evaluating applications to assign an appropriate supervisory team and/or allocate competitively funded places. Functionality has been created to facilitate and previews have been shared with key academic contacts. The plan for this piece of functionality has been agreed with Faculties and will be phased from October, allowing a later adoption according to local preferences. The majority of areas have chosen to utilise the technology from the initial release date.

Colleagues are encouraged to browse the Support section of these pages to find out more about the support available during this period.