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The Academic Engine – The Heart of Student Management

This presentation describes how Auckland University of Technology is re-orienting its student management system to achieve benefits for students, members of staff and the University. The Academic Engine is the way this change will be implemented.  This robust and reusable system will provide students with both clarity of the way forward and a wider range of options for study, staff with a clearer understanding of the students and their progress on both the individual and programme level, and the university with a greater understanding of student and programme needs.

ARION is the established Student Management System for the Auckland University of Technology.  It is a purpose-built system that has been used for 16 years.  The system has been re-aligned to put the new Academic Engine at the centre.  The Academic Engine enables greater flexibility from a system perspective and also provides more comprehensive information on the student journey.

The Academic Engine components (Paper Lists, Completion Requirements, and Courses of Study) build upon each other.  Paper Lists define the papers for a specialisation or a programme.  Paper Lists are then used to build Completion Requirements.  These are requirements that structure conditions and Paper List papers.  These provide flexibility amongst the various specialisations such as majors and minors.  The Courses of Study bind these requirements together to form templates that generate the individual Study Plans for students.  The Study Plan is based on the components of the Academic Engine.  They provide students with a clear roadmap.  Study Plans also allow students to more easily combine majors from the programme in which they were admitted with other majors or minors external to the Programme.

Staff are able to discern more clearly what the student options are and are able to offer flexible and accurate advice.  In addition, Study Plan Modelling enables staff to give advice on different scenarios.  Reporting and communicating with cohorts of students will be enhanced.

This additional flexibility has the potential of adding disruption.  Student choice is not so tightly constrained and this potentiality has an impact on the viability and availability of offerings.  At this level, the Academic Engine will highlight such issues.  The university will be able to respond more readily to student and programme needs.