A new Course Timetable Browser

tileLast week we released a new Course Timetable Browser (CTB), aimed to let students and staff select a bunch of courses and see how they might timetable together. This is aimed to complement the Web Timetables provided by Scientia, and provide some similar functionality to the retired Timetab (a student favourite). You can access the Course Timetable Browser at the link below:


Continue reading “A new Course Timetable Browser”

Winner of Tribal University of Year Award

During Tribal SITS:Vision Annual Customer Conference 2014 in the Celtic Manor resort, Newport on 15th – 16th July, Tribal has announced their customer awards for 4 different categories and the overall award “Tribal University of Year”

The 4 categories are

  • Most Improved Student Experience
  • Outstanding use of Innovation and Technology
  • People, Process, Performance
  • Improving Efficiency, Achieving Effectiveness

We have been named as the winner of the overall award “Tribal University of Year”, and also named as the runner up for the following three categories “Outstanding use of Innovation and Technology”, “People, Process, Performance” and “Improving Efficiency, Achieving Effectiveness”.

Tribal Award pic
Award for Tribal University of Year

The following are our entries for the four categories of Tribal customer awards:

Most Improved Student Experience

Why: In University of Edinburgh, we have implemented the student self-service project from August 2013. It provides a number of functions to allow student to:

  • view their details in the university portal;
  • update a set of personal records in eVision.
  • perform online registration including requests for programme changes and submission of immigration documents in eVision.

The benefits include:

  • Student can view their real time data
  • Students can register online
  • Students are informed when they have not matriculated and what actions they must take
  • More timely data – students are recorded as registered earlier and queries can be actioned immediately rather than when the paper form is found
  • Removal of paper-based process;
  • Data entered by the source
  • Student Administration and their temps no longer needs to undertake manual keying.  The amount of corrections to data by Student Admin has dropped 90% compared to a year ago.

Since August 2013 until end of May:

Details Updated

Volume of changes



Known as name


Mobile/personal email


Emergency contact


Students have completed online registration (with Start date >= 1 Jan 14)



Outstanding use of Innovation and Technology

Why: The University of Edinburgh has always delivered the majority of functionality through e:Vision. From two years ago, we started to integrate other web development technology and frameworks (like Bootstrap, JQuery plugins, Ajax etc.) into our SITS eVision to improve the user interface design and system performance combining with the latest development in eVision from Tribal. Now we have established a set of frameworks for our own development which deliver a much improved UI and good performance. This has reduced the overall development costs and improved the building quality. In the same time, the user experience with our recently development has been improved.

The technology we have used included

– Using Bootstrap toward responsive design

– Use global stylesheet (CSS) across eVision and use LESS framework to manage changes

– Testing framework to allow automated testing for bug and performance

– Integration eVision process with database programme (PL/SQL) to improve performance

– Configuration management using Project to detect dependency between different ongoing project works and support works and to manage the deploying changes across different environments

We have delivered a number of projects using these framework include paperless admission, student self-services, direct admission, UKBA data capture and management etc., Student bursary management.


People, Process, Performance


We have developed the marks upload function to upload exam marks and the resit marks in eVision directly two years ago which schools can upload the marks from any exam into SITS. The marks are validated automatically before saved into the system.  Recently we have worked with Tribal to develop the similar function for award upload which allows the schools to upload the award directly into eVision and control when the results for a programme are published to students.

The benefits of these two functions include

  • Both of these functions have delivered control to the end user so they can better supports students who have queries resulting from the processes.
  • Students will have access to consistent guidance on what resources are available for support following publication of end of stage results.
  • The upload and keying process will systematically validate against the student record.
  • The system will provide Schools with oversight of students expecting to graduate at a particular time of year, and allow them to identify missing or incorrect information
  • Schools owning programmes will have control over when Awards are made available to students.
  • The current reliance on Academic Registry keying awards into EUCLID will be removed.
  • Scope for errors in keying will be reduced


Improving Efficiency, Achieving Effectiveness

(same entry as most improved student experience, see above)


Query the SQL which drives an Oracle view.

If you’ve ever wanted to find out which views reference a certain table/column condition in an Oracle database, there is a view called user_views which can be queried as the owner of the view and contains the sql used to define the population of the view. There is a slight trick to querying it though, as that column is a Long datatype. You can use the following SQL:

select * from user_views
where dbms_xmlgen.getxml('select text from user_views 
                          where view_name = ''' || view_name || '''') 
                         like '%<thing I want to search for>%';

Just replace the like with the thing you want to search for. Hope that’s useful!

SITS Technical Working Group and STUTALK User Group Meetings

The SITS Technical Working Group and STUTALK User Group meetings take place every six months. Every time meetings are held in different locations and are organized by different Universities. The last meeting took place on the 22nd and 23rd of May and was hosted by the University of Bristol. We had two representatives from the Student System Partnership Team (SSP) – Tomasz Pogoda and Jon Martin.
The purpose of the Technical Working Group meeting was to discuss issues related to the SITS software updates, new features of the latest software version 8.7.1, de-suported components and the Document Manager tool.
On the STUTALK User Group Meeting we had a chance to discuss – What are institutions using STUTALK for and what they have done in terms of the STUTALK implementation. Also a new features and the road map were presented by the Tribal.

On both meetings there was a number of presentations delivered. There were three presentations delivered by Tribal:

Email Configuration, troubleshooting and attachments – In this presentation a new email features which will be available from version 8.7.1 have been presented.
E:Vision, HTML5, Accessibility & Responsive Design– Tribal The overview of new features related to the Mobile strategy, responsive design and HTML5 has been presented.
STUTALK 2.0 – in this presentation the features of the new version of STUTALK have been presented.

There was one presentation delivered by the Kings College London:

STUTALK and mobile timetabling – presentation given by Kings College London.

We also had a chance to share our recent experience with Bootstrap/Jquery/CSS stylesheet within our SITS configuration. The  topic of our presentation was: Improving the e:Vision user Interface using JQuery and Bootstrap.
We have recived a very positive feedback and most of the institutions were highly interested in our experience.

The presentation slides BootstrapTWG_Edinburgh_University and minutes from both meetings STUTALK User Group Meeting  Technical Working User Group Meeting