1. Summary

Oxford SSO credentials are emailed to students in advance of their arrival in Oxford. The student's account will be created automatically and the details emailed to them as soon as they have been Final C'd . Final C is the University process which confirms that the student has satisfied all conditions and has returned the signed Univeristy Contract agreeing to abide by the University's Rules. It is also the trigger for the University Card to be created. Account creation will no longer be batched. Because they have signed their University Contract, they will be fully provisioned at that time - with their SSO account, email address, and with a status that will entitle them to all the privileges of that status. This process runs automatically the whole year, so covers Trinity and Hilary starters as well.

2. Details

  • SSO credentials will be emailed to students as soon as they have become 'Final C' and their University Card record has been created

    Even when the Registration window is open, students cannot Register until they have become Final C, so there is no point creating credentials any sooner.

  • Students mailboxes and email addresses will be set up at the same time as their SSO credentials and students will be invited to contact IT Services to change their email address if they wish to do so in accordance with http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/oxford/index.xml?ID=addr
  • Email addresses will be taken from the OSS data feed. The process works reasonably well for Postgraduates, as Graduate Admissions used the addresses during the application process. However, we need to improve the quality of the external contact email addresses for Undergrads in OSS. Student Information need current working addresses for following up on Registration issues. Colleges need to inform student.information@admin.ox.ac.uk when they become aware of any changes to a student's primary external email address.

    Other email issues

    • Marshal Scholarship ( macc@acu.ac.uk,) and Rhode Scholars(mary.eaton@rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk). Currently these programs have a general contact address in OSS. This needs to be the individual's email address for the student by the time we get to SSO creation. Both Rhode's House and Marshall Scholarship have agreed to ensure ensure personal addresses are entered, as soon as a College is assigned.
    • Registered email address. For security reasons, IT Services will only email credential information to an address which has been registered to the student either in OSS or approved by the College and is recorded as an extenal address in the IT Services Registration database.
    • If there is no email address for a student, or the email address provided fails, the student will not receive their SSO credentials until a working address has been provided. The student will have to contact their College IT or IT Services http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/help/request.xml (and IT Services will have to confirm a new registered address as above.)
    • Access to OSS student data. Specialist IT Services staff have Read-Only access to OSS to check registered email addresses.
  • Usernames: Colleges have access to lists of the new usernames via their local ITSS.
  • Text for the mail messages is published for reference
  • Students will start to be Final C'd from 1st July.

2.1. Other issues

  • IT Services currently gets a datafeed from OSS containing applicants external email addresses. Visiting and Recognized students are also included
  • Continuing Education. Some Continuing Educations students are not in OSS ( approx 255 new per year ) these are "Undergraduate, non-matriculated Courses ". They are issued with University Card type 'PT'. Our contact, Katherine Brown, feels (Jan 2011) that they do not have email addresses for all students in order to develop an automated process, so they need to stay with the paper version. In the long term, these students will be in the OSS replacement.
  • Early issuing of privileges One of the side effects of the automated process this year, is that a small group of students (some postgraduates and unconditional offers) who have completed all their paperwork early, could be issued with their Oxford email address, etc as early as the 2nd July. However, by this stage, the student will have signed the University Contract and agreed to abide by all the rules- they have satisfied all the conditions of 'membership'. No issues were reported to IT Services concerning the early issueing- in fact many colleges were pleased to have things in place.
  • Mailing details to students will be delayed for 24 hours after account creation, to enable the username data to get to all the places it needs to eg ldap.oak for account activation and OSS (in case they contact Student information).

3. From Contract to Credentials- time line

From a undergraduates's POV - time between sending their contract to college and getting their credentials. This information is needed to manage expectations.

  • Day 1: University Contracts arrive at College
  • Day 1/2 (/3) College forwards the contract to University Card office by internal mail- possibly in batches which is why there is a variation.
  • Day 3: Card Office Final C the student in OSS - these are usually processed the day they arrive.
  • Day 3: Overnight- OSS puts a skeleton record in the Card Database.
  • Day 4: The card forms are processed and the card is printed. (The Card Office usually processes these day they are become available )
  • Day 5:
    • early (02:00 to 04:00. The Card data is received by IT Services and accounts are created. Data is made available to Webauth. A file of data is produced for OSS to pickup... circa 04:00. ( The timings depend on the length of the job). Data is available to ITSS.
    • (Circa 4am to 7am students whose accounts were created the previous day are emailed.)
    • During the day- resurrected student accounts may be created manually.
    • 20.00 hours OSS pick up the file created at 04:00
  • Day 6: Circa 4am to 7am Students are emailed their credentials and they are in a position to Register because the usernames are now in OSS.
  • Day 6/7: Addresses which fail are followed up- is there another address in OSS? IT Services register the new address in IT Services database and send details to new address. If no address in OSS, IT Services may contact College admissions.

4. Related Processes

  • Returning students - no gap. Almost a third of postgraduates were previously on an undergraduate or postgraduate course at Oxford. In May, we identify those applying to return in October from data supplied by OSS and extended their accounts until 12th Oct. .
  • Returning after a gap. If there has been a gap in the students enrollment, their old username no longer be functional. The old account name is re-used. If the account has been inactive for more than 6 months, it will need a new Activation Code and that will be emailed to the student as for new students. If the account has been inactive for less than 6 months, the account is resurrected and the student emailed a Rescue Code in case the. (This are currently be a manual process by IT Services Registration.)

5. Future Enhancements

For the year 2012/3 the following enhancements are planned

  • Both undergraduates and postgraduates will be notified of their Student Number by the central 'Offer' process- this will eliminate the need for it to be included in the account delivery details
  • That a more seamless update of students external addresses held centrally in OSS (or replacement), can be devised.
  • That applicants registered mobile phone numbers could be included as part of the security of the account details delivery.
  • That the 'returners after a gap' process is automated or a new account creation process makes it unnecessary.