University of Exeter
IT Services
Project SAM
Project SAM: Overview


The School Administrators year can be divided into phases within which various task need to be performed. My vision for SAM is that it will steamline the performance of these task.

This phase/task perspective is my way of making sense of the complex and demanding School Admins role, inspired from conversations with Keith Zimmerman in particular and others involved in the Schools Administration process. Thanks: Keith, Jo Smith, Betsey Smith and the SHiPSS and Law secretarial staff in particular.

I hope this view is a useful way of looking at the problem for you and that presenting SAM in this way is useful and informative too.

The Phases of the Administrator's Year

This list of phases also acts as links to within the Task Outline table below.

SAM Development Plan

I believe the central core of a working system is there now. It is usable now, in fact SHiPSS are running it as a working system at this present time.

All data structures, bar some minor extensions, are solid and (I believe) right. The general 'look-and-feel', the form design and interaction of menus and forms, is good. The detail of the behaviour of forms, in terms of keyboard control is still not perfect but it is usable. The distribution procedures, so that fast fixes and new developments are easily and quickly available, are well developed. The server, and hence sharability, aspect are in place and work for the Amory 'guinea-pig' Schools. This includes the availablilty of SBS (CHA) data 'at the press of a button' (or several).

More development work is needed though, and the following list outlines some of this work, in no particular order of priority:

  • Security: who can use which forms, see/update which data
  • More comprehensive 'downloads' of SBS data
  • Updating SBS data from Schools SAM's
  • Exam Task Focus: the exam application used by SHiPSS/Geography & Archaeology needs incorporating into SAM
  • Sharing data between the various Schools SAM's
  • Cataloguing and rationalising the various SAM reports
  • and probably more to come...

Task Outline

This section lists the tasks associated with each phase. Column one (briefly) describes the task, column two indicates where in SAM you find the tools to perform the task, and column three notes how well (or not) SAM works in this particular area. The third column makes reference to the SAM release/version numbers in respect to fixing any shortcomings. This column may also have a Details link to a page with more information relating to a particular release and the developments and problems it addresses.

Pre-Registration ____________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Progression preparation Supervisor \Progression_Prep.
Progression Supervisor \Maintenance \Progression...
Enter non 1st. years Module choices Registration... \Register...
Set up Groups/Activities Allocation... \Groups... \Detail
New admissions (the 1st. years) Supervisor \New_Student...
Check compulsory 1st. year Modules Registration... \Register...
Add any known 1st. year Module choices Registration... \Register...
Allocate Personal Tutors Allocation... \Students_to_Tutors...
Registration ________________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Print Student Record form Registration... \Register... [Print]
Print "Red Form" Registration... \Register... \(Module...) [Print]
Enter completed "Red Form" Module choices Registration... \Register...
Check and resolve timetable clashes Registration... \Clash_Check...
Enter extra entrant info (Scholarships, Interests, Proposed career, etc.) Registration... \Further...
Post-Registration ___________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Finalise Group/Activities allocation Allocation... \Groups... \Membership...
Finalise Personal Tutor allocation Allocation... \Students_to_Tutors...
Allocation... \Tutorless...
Print lists: Module, Tutor Groups, etc. [Print] from various forms
Print timetables: Student, Staff, etc. (Rooms?) [Print] from various forms
Scan and print Photo sheets future extension
Day-to-Day _________________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Update Student Study info: Programme, Status, Modules, Personal Tutor, etc. select_student \(various)
Update Student General info: Addresses, etc. select_student \(various)
Update timetables
Log Student Consultations select_student \Monitoring... \[Add_Consult.]
Update Student's Attendance & Assessment results select_student \Monitoring... \[Update...]
Monitor Student's Attendance & Assessments select_student \Monitoring...
Planning and Development ___________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Update/Create Programme definitions/rules Allocation... \Programme... \Definition
Update/Create Module definitions/rules Allocation... \Module... \Definition
Enter coming session's timetable requirements Allocation... \Groups... \Next_Session...
Produce Statistical reports Supervisor \Statistics...
Publish various 'reports' to the Web [Print] (appropiate form)
Pre-Examinations ___________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Check Student's Module registration (correct credits total) select_student \(Module...)
Check correct Student cohort membership: Programmes, Modules Under/Post-graduates \whichever cohorts
Check credit carrying Assessments select_student \(Monitoring...)
Check general mitigation info select_student \(Monitoring...)
Approve Exam Board reports formats Examinations \... (see note below)
Examinations _______________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Enter Exam marks: bulk by Module, by individual Student Examinations \...
Indicate/update External status Examinations \...
Check all marks are available Examinations \...
Print Exam Board Reports
Post-Examinations __________________________________________
Task SAM Location Dev.Status
Confirm Marks and Results Examinations \...
Print/Upload Exam 'returns' for Exam Office Examinations \...
Resits: Enter Marks, Print Exam Board Reports, Returns to Exam Office Examinations \...
Progression Preparation -- completes the cycle (see, Pre-Registration above)

Examinations Note: The Examinations Focus area is currently (SAM 2.34) disabled. Work is need to re-engineer the Exams queries, forms and procedures into the upgraded data structures. This work is scheduled for completion by mid-October. If you have concerns over the Exams area I can demonstrate the earlier version of SAM that was used for both the SHiPSS and Geography & Archaeology exam process earlier this Summer.


I am not a Schools administrator and there are almost certainly ommissions and possibly some misunderstandings of the processes as presented here.

Please give me feedback on this in any of these ways:

If you use the SUDS method the other administrators can see your comments too. This should spark some debate and hopefully concensus view of how SAM should develop.

I look forward to hearing from you! Ray Burnley

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