uAchieve 5.0 Release FAQs

The following page has been created to help address the most common questions we have received regarding the uAchieve 5.0 release. As announced previously in our newsletter, the major enhancements in uAchieve 5.0 include: 

  • An integration with TES for equivalency evaluation workflow and building equivalencies
  • A brand-new Planner that auto-creates plans for students, which can then be adjusted without requiring institutions to build roadmaps or students to drag-and-drop courses. 
  • An updated user interface that is cleaner, more attractive, more responsive to mobile devices, and more accessible than ever. 

uAchieve 5.0 will be in beta testing between fall 2021 and spring 2022. Select clients, including those running uAchieve both on-premise and in the CollegeSource cloud environment, have already been chosen for the beta release. For more information on the beta testing, please see the uAchieve 5.0 Beta Participation document we have put together.

Although the exact date has not been selected, the earliest release date for uAchieve 5.0 is March 2022. Please subscribe to the CollegeSource newsletter for updates on the release and beta testing progress.

IN THIS ARTICLE:

Transfer (TES and Transferology) Related Questions
General Planner Related Questions
Planner Encoding Related Questions
Interface & Technical Related Questions


TES and Transferology Related Questions

What does the new TES integration do?
The new uAchieve 5.0 integration with TES allows users to process transfer in uAchieve while enjoying the information resources and evaluation workflow from TES. For example, from uAchieve screens, a user can search TES for course descriptions and other related course information relative to a student transcript. This information can be used to make an equivalency "on the spot" in uAchieve or to initiate a request for evaluation by a faculty evaluator with the appropriate rights in, and access to TES.

How does the TES integration work?
Once a transfer articulation is run in uAchieve Self-Service for an individual student, any courses without established equivalencies are identified. The user can then invoke a new TES Mode that allows the user to search and view TES course descriptions within Self-Service. Courses can also be grouped together, or left separate, and assigned to an evaluator in TES, with or without suggested equivalents. Once an evaluation is complete in TES (regardless of whether it was initiated in uAchieve, TES, or Transferology), the decision is available in uAchieve Self-Service. All the relevant, useful information from TES related to an evaluation is populated in the uAchieve form, saving the user from the pain of double entry.

Will this integration automatically import my TES equivalencies into uAchieve?
No. uAchieve Transfer Articulation (TA) and TES have some key differences. This integration queues up decisions made in TES for entry into uAchieve and eliminates the portions that overlap so there is no double entry in that sense. However, the uAchieve rule that is established will have more information attached as part of the rule-building process by an end-user and will be stored in the uAchieve database. Because there is no automatic way to add this missing information, TES equivalencies can’t be simply dumped into uAchieve TA. We are storing a key to link the uAchieve equivalency and the TES equivalency from which it originated, but those are two distinctly separate records. Editing or deleting one will not automatically change the other. We hope to offer more functionality in the future that utilizes this link, however.

Will TES and uAchieve equivalencies stay synchronized?
No. See above.

Will it work if I store my equivalencies somewhere other than uAchieve or TES?
No. This solution is specifically for institutions using uAchieve TA. It makes TES and the decisions made within that institution's TES account an open resource for TA processing. This integration will not open up any connections between TES and other transfer articulation systems, whether home-grown, within your SIS, or from another vendor.  

What do I need to use the TES integration?
You will need a TES subscription and a uAchieve subscription. Your instance of uAchieve will have a unique access key that connects uAchieve to TES. The access key provides you with a secure connection to the TES database from your cloud or on-prem uAchieve instance(s).

Will there be any impact on Transferology when implementing uAchieve 5.0?

No. Currently, no changes would require a new Connector.

If a school uses TES but doesn’t use uAchieve transfer articulation (TA), can they still utilize TES integration to navigate to TES?
No. The TES integration is embedded functionality within Self-Service and is not a link to TES.


General Planner Related Questions

What is different about the new uAchieve 5.0 Planner?
The goal of uAchieve 5 Planner is the same as previous iterations of the Planner: to allow students to plan out their entire academic career in a term-by-term format, which is then verified against degree audit data. Additionally, Planner provides institutions with data to help predict future course demand.

Schools no longer need to build roadmaps as a middle step between an audit and a plan or maintain them when curriculum changes. Instead, they may utilize a small number of new (and 100% optional) 5.0 encoding fields to help the Planner algorithm determine at what point in a student's academic career a requirement or sub-requirement should ideally be fulfilled.

Plans are auto-created for students using their degree audit data (declared major, earned courses, etc.) and the answers to some up-front questions (for example, max credits per term or desired graduation date). There is no longer a need for drag-and-drop interactions, which greatly improves the Planner's accessibility. (Drag-and-drop functions have been removed from Planner in uAchieve 5.0.) Where a student needs to select a course from among several to fulfill a sub-requirement, the sub-requirement/choice is reflected in the plan. Students can still modify plans that are auto-created, save them, and check them against the audit. Students can have multiple plans, with one identified as "declared."

What happens to my roadmaps? Can I migrate them into Planner 5.0?
Roadmaps are no longer needed or functional in uAchieve 5.0. Therefore, there is no “migration path” for existing roadmaps other than manually comparing the results of auto-generated plans with previously established roadmaps for the same programs.

What happens to student plans?
Existing student plans will migrate over and be made available in 5.0.

Can students build a plan from scratch without using the auto-create process?
No. All plans moving forward will initially be auto-created for students. Students can then adjust their plan by moving things to a different term, making specific course selections, and manually adding courses.

What happens when a student is “undeclared”?
The same thing will happen with Planner 5.0 that happens in the Planner today, the student will be able to select another program and will be directed to pick a “What-If” program.

What happens if the student has more than 1 declared program (DPROG)?
If the student has more than one declared degree program we will use all of them to build a single plan.

How will this impact course-demand analysis and planning?
Course-demand planning is greatly improved using the algorithms over roadmaps. Schools can request and utilize Planner data for all enrolled students as far out as they want, thereby eliminating the need to rely on or wait for students to build plans.

Will we be able to move to planner 5.0 if we are still on 4.5.4 uAchieve?
No, you will not be able to upgrade Planner by itself to 5.0. It will require a full upgrade of the entire uAchieve Suite. This is due to many factors:

  • We have made many databases and 3rd party library updates with 5.0
  • The uAchieve Engine (server) now includes the process that is creating the plan so the Engine (server) will also need to be on 5.0.
  • Planner user interface functionality has been merged into Self-Service. With 5.0, Planner will no longer be a separate application and install. It will instead be controlled via License Key.

Will this be available on-prem, or will this only be available in the Cloud?
uAchieve 5.0 will be available both on-premise and in the Cloud.

What reporting will be available?
The reports that will be available in 5.0 is the same reports currently available: Planned Course Demand and Student Plan Progress

Can you highlight areas that are more accessible in 5.0?
While we always strive to make accessibility improvements with every release, some notable areas of focus in 5.0 are the audit (we will be providing a new audit template that will focus on mobile-friendliness and accessibility) and the plan (we’re removing confusing status icons, removing difficult to make accessible drag-and-drop, and more).

Is 5.0 going to be more SIS agnostic so course information and more might potentially work with most/all SISs that are not PeopleSoft or Banner?
The Planner interfaces themselves are agnostic, but the first implementations are done in PS and Banner because that covers a majority of our clients.  If you are interested in Planner and need an implementation for another SIS, please contact us.

In this audit-driven model, how would this work for courses or offerings that are only scheduled for given terms (Fall, Winter, Spring)? Is this info only available from the SIS, or would there be a way to set this within uAchieve itself?
If we have term offering data available we will then use that when placing courses on the plan and will only place them in the offered terms. If the Max Year Term Code is set, then we will not use this data when placing courses on the plan beyond this date. There is not currently a way to obtain this data directly within uAchieve itself, so it will need to come from the SIS.

Is there going to be a free form Notes area?
In the session at our Users Conference, the answer was “No”, but because we have received feedback from many users we are currently reconsidering and trying to determine what we can include, if anything, in 5.0.

Will the new planner allow for planning based on the course as it is offered (title, credits, description, etc.) for the term it is being planned for?
We will be getting course data from the SIS so we will be able to be more accurate and display the correct course details for the term the student planned the course.

Where will the Planner get the pre-requisites and co-requisites?
We will be getting course pre-requisites and co-requisites from the SIS interface. If an SIS interface doesn’t exist, or your SIS can’t provide course information, we can use TES catalog data as a backup.


Planner Encoding Related Questions

What, if anything, will I have to change in the audit encoding?
How much or how little extra encoding you do for the uAchieve 5.0 Planner is entirely dependent on how prescriptive you want to be regarding student planning. uAchieve 5.0 Planner can auto-create plans for students with no changes to your encoding. With that being said, putting effort into populating the new fields, as needed, will yield the best results. The difference is that instead of choosing when every course is taken for every student by default (roadmaps), you now only have to provide a little extra encoding for courses that are time-sensitive and not already governed by pre-/co-requisites or sequencing.

Does the uAchieve 5.0 Planner accommodate audits that use markers for double majors/minors/concentrations/etc.?
Yes, it will accommodate markers used both within a student’s declared program as well as markers within a What-if audit.

Does the uAchieve 5.0 Planner accommodate plans that DO NOT use markers for double majors/minors/concentrations/etc.?
We are still working out if and how we can accommodate double majors that are separate audit runs. We will provide updates when we know more.

If a student’s current program includes other programs (i.e., minor, second major, certificates, etc.) that are called by $markers, will those be included automatically in the plan?
Yes, if the student builds a plan from their declared program, it will include all $markers when building the plan.

If a student fails a planned course, does the planner change to add the course to the next semester?
Yes, if the student fails a course, or doesn’t take a course they planned to take, then the plan will readjust and will place those courses (or sub-requirements as needed) back on the plan.

Will the pre-reqs and co-reqs be able to recognize test scores in the SIS?
The pre/co-req processing won’t consider test scores. However, if a test score is used in a (sub)requirement, Planner will recognize that and only consider what remains to be completed in its calculations.

What if a requirement requires completion of 2 of 5 sub-requirements? Will all sub-requirements be listed in the plan?
We are still working on what this will look like, but it is a scenario that we know we will need to accommodate.

Would the “Start By” or “Complete By” be based on total credits, institutional+ Transfer, or just institutional credits?
The “Start By” and “Complete By” values will be used based on the hours within the plan itself. For example, if “Start By” and “Complete By” are set to “0” and “15” respectively, then that sub-requirement will be placed within the first 15 credit hours of the plan. That could mean it is placed within different terms based on if the student is part-time vs full-time or taking 12 hours vs 15 hours per term.

Can you create a note/message that can be assigned a unit value? If someone wants to plan a placeholder for a certain area but doesn’t know exactly what course they want to take in an area.
When the uAchieve Engine (server) is building the plan, if it cannot identify a specific course to place on the plan it will then place the sub-requirement within a term on the plan. This will act as a placeholder until the student is ready to select the specific course they want to take.

For the “Select courses” functionality in Planner, does this require any particular encoding setup? Or is it simply pulling the courses from the select from line on the audit.
When using the “Select courses” functionality it will use the courses already on the select from line on the audit.


Interface & Technical Questions

What, if anything, has changed in the uAchieve 5.0 user interface?
uAchieve 5.0 features a new look and feel. The new UI’s responsive design makes it suitable for desktop platforms and mobile-friendly (phone or tablet), without the need for entirely separate applications or multiple installs. Colors and fonts have been improved for readability and accessibility while retaining the same familiar layout and user experience. All buttons and functionality remain in the same place.

Will I need to change/update my CSS?
All your custom CSS will remain in place, though minor adjustments may be needed or desired since we are updating the UI of the web applications.

Will the audit templates need to be changed?

Existing HTML and PDF templates will continue to exist (will not be retrofitted for mobile use).

Is the implementation of uAchieve 5.0 significantly different?

Implementation of uAchieve 5.0 is not expected to be substantially different from past versions, though that could change over the course of development (if it does, we will update this page). We have consolidated some things, including moving all Planner functionality into Self-Service; Planner clients will no longer need a separate application install to utilize Planner functionality. The web applications are now compiled using Java 8 and support Tomcat 8 and 9.

What do my technical staff need to know?
uAchieve 5.0 features updated libraries (Spring, Hibernate, Bootstrap, Font Awesome, etc.), including support for Java 8 and 11 (support for Java 7 has been dropped and is no longer supported). Clients should always maintain updated libraries; out-of-date libraries routinely cause security, stability, and performance issues.

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