VCCS SIS Deployment : FAQ
  Frequently Asked Questions  


Q: What is the purpose of the Historical Enrollment panels? Will the VCCS use them for data conversion?

A: The Historical Enrollment panels in the new SIS are one way to record enrollment data when you don't have access to your historical course catalog and schedule of classes. However, entering student enrollment data this way will not make that information available for the Academic Advisement (AA) analysis processes or academic statistics. (The PeopleBooks Student Records Business Processes section entitled Creating Historical Enrollment Records discusses a work-around for this. Others methods will be presented in the AR/SR/AA Workshops).

The VCCS Conversion Team has decided not to use the Historical Enrollments panels to conduct data conversion, which will avoid the problem with AA analysis and academic statistics.

Q. Is the VCCS using the single institution setup?

A. No. The VCCS is using the multi-institution setup.

Q. Which terms should be defined within PeopleSoft for table building and prototyping for the Colleges?

A. Colleges should setup the following terms: Admissions and Records: Fall 1997 through Summer 2001 inclusive Student Financials: Fall 2000 through Summer 2001 inclusive Financial Aid: Fall 2000 through Summer 2001 inclusive

Q. What data will be delivered to the colleges in the tables? What data would be as delivered from PeopleSoft, modified by the workgroups, or populated by the legacy system during conversion? And, most importantly, which would need to be completed by college staff?

A. There are three broad categories of tables: PeopleSoft Distribution, VCCS Shared, and College Specific. PeopleSoft provides a number of tables containing values shared by anyone using the SIS, and these will be fully populated by PeopleSoft and they are available to all of the colleges. The VCCS Shared Tables contain data that will be provided from a number of different sources throughout the system. The colleges will be responsible for loading table data for Admissions, Academic Advising, Student Records, Financial Aid, and Student Finance.

Q. What information will be converted from the legacy system? Will the colleges be provided with a list of the data dictionary elements from the legacy system, and their locations in the PeopleSoft panels?

A. The Utility Application Support Center staff have collaborated with each of the work groups to identify data that must be extracted from the legacy system and made available to the colleges for loading into the SIS tables. Data extracts, field definitions, and the location of use in the PeopleSoft system will be published on the SIS Deployment Web site shortly. A new briefing schedule will be announced on March 1.

Q. Will the course master reference file be converted? If so, what fields on which panels will be populated from the legacy data? Will there still be a VCCS course master to make sure that the colleges do not add a course that is not approved?

A. Yes, the MCF will be converted. The Application Support Center is working on documentation explaining how the data was seeded. Directions to this document will be posted on the SIS Deployment Web Site shortly.

Q. If course detail files for Summer 2001 and Fall 2001 have been keyed in the legacy system and are converted to the new system, how will course numbers be assigned?

A. Normally, the PeopleSoft SIS has its own internal mechanism for assigning six digit class number identifiers. The Utility staff has developed a workaround to force the new SIS to use the class number identifiers that are assigned by the legacy SIS. The "older" class numbers are four digits in length, so students must be informed that they must add a two digit prefix of "00" to the old class numbers in order to use them with the new SIS.

Q. If conversion to the new system occurs during the spring semester, will all of the necessary data for financial aid be converted to the new system to complete all financial aid year-end reporting requirements?

A. Until conversion is complete and colleges begin and end their financial aid year using the PeopleSoft SIS System, the Financial Aid data will continue to originate in the legacy systems. So, the Utility staff have developed a two-way data exchange that will be used during this interim time-frame. At the outset, the data exchange between the old and new systems will be batch based-it can be invoked however frequently a college desires. In another 60-90 days, the data exchanges between old and new systems will be real-time.

Q. If many of these tables are not delivered to the colleges with the workgroup modifications and/or legacy reference files, will documentation such as screen shots and step by step instructions be provided so that the colleges will not have to spend a huge amount of time deciding what needs to keyed into the tables?

A. The SIS Work Groups will be providing this information at the workshops.

Q. Will there be a workshop for the colleges to explain the conversion process?

A. Yes, a series of new briefings will be available on the SIS Deployment Web Site on or before March 1.

Q. We have been told that the duplicate ID report needs to be clean before our databases are loaded with student information. We have also been told we must correct duplicates between colleges. We have not started this process yet. The three pilot colleges are ready, but what about the other nineteen colleges? When can we request a system-wide duplicate ID report?

A. The cross college cleanup really cannot start until the single-college cleanup process has been completed. Once all 23 colleges finish their individual work, the system-wide reports will be produced. The system-wide reports could be produced anytime, but they will not really be useful until the single-college duplicates are dealt with. The Project Management Office has recently requested that each college report on the status of their individual cleanup.

Q. We have heard the SQA robot was used in VCCS SIS stress testing using a script provided by the Utility. There may be a need for the colleges to utilize the SQA robot to load data during the prototyping phase. How do the colleges obtain documentation on how to utilize this product? Who can we go to for training on building scripts?

A. SQA robot could be used by the colleges but may be of limited benefit. The data entered would have to be deleted in order to run the script again. The robot product works well for testing a repetitive process but was not designed for a data initialization process. If the data and screens used were the same for all colleges, a script could be recorded and used by all colleges. We do have a FOLIO INFOBASE file that could be placed on one of the shared drives so individuals could access it for any questions. We've also written some documentation for the participants of the stress testing that addresses running and editing the scripts. It is a fairly straight forward product to use. For more information on SQA robot contact the Utility Help Desk,, 504 857-7470.

Q. What development is still occurring? For instance, we were shown a set of panels that provide the information to users that they currently see on the REG040 screen. Are there other panels or data elements that are being added to the delivered PeopleSoft system?

A. Customizations that have been completed should be covered in the Prototyping Workshops. Documentation of customizations is located on the Utility shared drive - CSC_06\PSOFT\ASC Development Documentation\Customization Log

Q. During the training, the participants were using the PROTO database; the workgroup chairs were accessing the GAP3 database. Many times this was confusing because the tables were populated differently and there were data elements on the GAP3 database that did not appear on the PROTO database. The colleges were told that at the table building workshop the colleges would be provided the GAP3 database. Will this definitely be done?

A. Yes. The Training database, which is a copy of the GAP3 data base was created for use by the colleges at the workshops. Information regarding the databases and their usage can be found at:

Q. We have reviewed the operator ids listed on the VCCS Web Site We have concerns about so many users having access to correction mode. This mode could destroy the audit trail of any effective dated panel. In many cases, it would be advisable to have one user in an office that has access to correction mode. Other issues may arise as the workshops continue.

A. It is assume this question is referring to the "Student Information System Operator Classes" document, which lists the currently available operator classes for SIS, not operator IDs. The operator classes listed are those, which were approved by the SIS Steering Committee and created by the VCCS Information Security Officer because we needed a place to start. There are also Financial Aid and Student Financial classes listed at the end of the document that were provided by the SIS Financial Aid and Student Financials work group. Our major objective is to minimize the number of operator classes because a large number of classes will negatively impact performance and increase the complexity and time required to administer customer level security. However, each college is not limited to these defined classes. If the college wants more classes, they can follow the instructions on the document "Instructions-Creating SIS Security Classes" to create additional classes that reflects the type of security the college desires. When completing the "Creating Student Information System Security Classes" form, the college can give any action type to any panel they desire. A class can be created with or without correction mode depending on the type of security desired.

Q. The colleges would like read only access to the workgroup issues database. When the colleges perform the fit gap, it would be beneficial to able to search the issues database for our gaps. We were informed that the workgroups have been so busy that they have not updated the issues database in several months. As the application development group resolves issues, are they updating the issues database? How will the colleges know what has been resolved and how?

A. It is not possible for us to give some folks read only access and others read/write access to the issues database. The solution is for the colleges to have read/write access with the understanding that they will not change that Issues database. Colleges should already have this access. Use Windows Explorer (you may have to map a network drive) to go to the Utility's shared server for instructions. CSC_06\Access and double click on psissues.mdb.

Q. Will IVR be delivered before the colleges go live? Will there be additional workshops on the use of IVR including setup?

A. Yes, IVR will be delivered for the first colleges that go live. The Utility is in the final stages of verifying and validating the IVR System provided by the EPOS Corporation. EPOS is also preparing a number of cosmetic changes to the IVR which should be completed during the month of March. Additional workshops and demonstrations will be scheduled starting in April. The dates, locations, and times of those sessions can be found on the SIS Deployment Web Site on or before March 15.

Q. Colleges have been told that the workgroup members will provide limited help during the colleges implementation process and we should contact the Utility regarding VCCS SIS questions. Will the Utility staff know what the colleges are being presented during the three workshops? Knowing what we have been told and what we have seen may be of benefit to the Utility staff.

A. The Customer Support Center staff are currently gearing up to support level two and three calls, as originally promised in the Service Level Agreement (SLA). CSC staff will be augmented by staff in the Application Support Center. Staff from both units have either been involved in the development and support of work group training sessions, or they have attended those sessions.

Q. Will SA-HTML be delivered before the colleges go live?

A. The SA-HTML (i.e., the Web interface to the PeopleSoft SIS) is available now. New River Community College has already developed a demonstration prototype of the SA-HTML.

Q: What is expected of colleges to complete the following tasks that are listed on the VCCS SIS College Deployment Status Report?

- Walk-through College Business Processes and Conduct Prototype Validation
- Conduct Prototype Module-Level Walk-through
- Conduct Prototype Integration-Level Walk-through

A: Walk-through College Business Processes and Conduct Prototype Validation

In this phase of prototyping, colleges will test their setup of the new VCCS-SIS by actually entering test data to see if an expected result is given by the system. For instance, test case students with varied properties (Financial Aid for one, none for another, in-state tuition for one, out-of-state for another) would be entered into the system, and run through specific modules, and then through their entire academic careers (admission, enrollment, posting of grades, etc.). If the test cases give the expected results (proper class schedule, predicted GPA, etc.), then the process can be assumed validated.

Details of sub-tasks for this process are listed below.

Conduct Prototype Module-Level Walk-through

In this activity the college deployment team should present their college's processes by individual module for review (Admissions & Recruitment, Academic Advising, Financial Aid, Student Financials, and Student Records). This review will depict how the modules work independently. Test cases should be built to test various potential situations for the individual modules, with expected results. If the results match the actual outcomes, the module can be assumed validated.

Conduct Prototype Integration-Level Walk-through

In this activity the college deployment team should present their college's processes integrated together for review. This review depict how the modules work in relationship with one another. This should include reviewing the role assignment, the security and any work flows developed by the college. Test cases should be developed to test various potential situations across all modules, with expected results for each. If the results match the actual outcomes, the integrated system can be assumed validated.

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