SIMON replacement unveiled

Nov 14, 2002, vol. 25, no. 6
By Carol Thorbes

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The group implementing a software package that will put Simon Fraser University at the head of the pack in terms of student administration systems used by Canadian universities recently unveiled its progress.

The implementation team has created a second working prototype of PeopleSoft Student Administration Version 8.

The web-based student information management system will replace SIMON.

Using the names of Canada's prime ministers to represent fictitious students, the implementation team showed its second prototype to 230 faculty and staff at several workshops.

The imaginary student identification numbers and the years of office of the likes of John A. MacDonald, Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Kim Campbell were entered.

Canada's illustrious leaders were enrolled, graded and given their tuition bill.

The prototype also demonstrated term and class scheduling, and how a course catalogue is set up.

Work will begin shortly on integrating a new scheduling software (AdAstra) to work in conjunction with PeopleSoft, which will optimize room assignments.

Janet Backe, a consultant with Sierra Systems, is overseeing the transfer of business functions and all records from SIMON to PeopleSoft.
“The ease with which you can navigate using the web, perform multiple functions and retain the history of additions/updates to student information in PeopleSoft was illustrated during the demos,” says Backe.

Nick Heath (above), the SFU registrar's office team leader on the project, helped demonstrate the transition to PeopleSoft.

“There are many times when people need to drop something they're working on to handle a totally unrelated call that needs to be dealt with immediately,” says Heath. “With the PeopleSoft web environment you have the ability to just open up a new window to deal with the new inquiry without losing the current work you're doing.”

The next prototype, due out by March, will contain self-service functions that enable students to view records and perform transactions online.
“We are currently conducting an inventory of stand-alone databases that exist outside of SIMON to ensure they will continue to function when SIMON is turned off,” adds Backe. “These systems will be evaluated for replacement with PeopleSoft functionality in future phases.”

Backe says there'll be a number of additional demos in February or March where everybody, including students, can see the new system in action before hands-on training sessions are offered in April or May.

Fall 2003 is the target date for PeopleSoft to officially take over student registration from SIMON.

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