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Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre

ADRC
 

Student Support Document/CamSIS project

Overview

This short animation provides a summary of the project. Further information is provided below:

In June 2021, the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) and the UIS CamSIS team started a long-planned project (which began as an Our Cambridge initiative) to develop functionality to improve the identification and communication of access requirements and reasonable adjustments for disabled students. Amongst many features, the project aimed to enable the more secure and efficient distribution of Student Support Documents (SSDs) to College and Department Administrators and to give academic and support staff the ability to securely access SSDs by placing the document within the student’s CamSIS record. 

The first phase of the project was released on the 16th of November 2021 when we enabled the ADRC to securely deliver SSD documents to College and Department administrators via CamSIS. After that in following phases we allowed more people (who have a legitimate need to see the SSD) access to SSDs in CamSIS. This included key academic staff (such as Tutors, Directors of Studies, and Postgraduate Supervisors), staff with access and wellbeing roles (such as College Nurses and Heads of Wellbeing), as well as the Student Registry (to support the examination access arrangement process), library staff and importantly to students themselves. The system was also designed to allow the recommendations section only from the SSD to be distributed from within CamSIS to those staff (such as Undergraduate Supervisors, Lecturers and Laboratory staff) who do not have access to CamSIS. The final stage of the project aims to allow Colleges, Faculties and Departments to see summary information on incoming disabled students within CamSIS (replacing the existing cohort summary process).

Why do we need this project?

The current SSD process was developed at a time (2010) when disabled students numbered around 1000 and represented around 7% of the total student population. The total number of disabled students stands in March 2023 at over 5300, which is over 20% of the total student population. This increase in disabled student numbers over this period has placed extreme pressure on the process which is increasingly ineffective due to the resources required to manage the volume of documents to be distributed. The current method of distribution also relies on a ‘push’ model where documents are sent by password protected emails to identified individuals (which requires a constant updating of a network of contacts across the collegiate University).  A ‘pull' system where those who require access to the documents could access from a central source (the student’s CamSIS record) presents the opportunity for significant process efficiencies and savings. The dissemination of support information regarding disabled students and the provision of access requirements and reasonable adjustments is a statutory duty and so this is a core priority. A Cambridge Students’ Union report in 2019 found that a large proportion of SSDs had not been seen or read by staff working with them. 

What are the benefits of doing this?

A centralised repository for SSDs will save time and money for the ADRC, for all departments and faculties, for all Colleges and for the Student Registry’s Exams team, by radically reducing the time required to distribute the documents, and by removing the complexity from the process. It will also improve quality and experience for students and it will help mitigate risk by ensuring that SSDs are held on the student’s CamSIS record where they can be easily located and read. The old process relied on sensitive & personal confidential information being sent by email, and as the distribution process can be complex there is a risk that the recommendations for disabled students not reaching the staff who need to see and act on them. The potential cost and time savings, given the extent and scope of the process which reaches every department and college are considerable (estimated at over £0.5 Million over ten years).

Further information on the rationale for the project is available in this short presentation 

If you have any questions, please contact the project team at ssdproject@admin.cam.ac.uk

Where are we now?

Phase 1 to Phase 5b summary document

 

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs

How do I distribute SSDs from CamSIS?

Where possible, it is preferable to distribute the SSD without the use of email. Many departments and colleges have their own ways of sharing SSDs with those who need to see them. Whatever method you decide to use please ensure it is secure and we recommend that you visit Information Security Risk Assessment page for more information about protecting sensitive personal data.

How will academics know there is a new SSD?

Principal Supervisors for postgraduate students, College Tutors, College Graduate Tutors and Directors of Studies who are directly linked to a student on CamSIS will receive an email notification and will have a to-do item generated on their Academic Self Service.

Where can I find information for academics on how to access SSD?

Information can be found on CamSIS Moodle site.

Where can I find information for administrators on how SSD functionality works?

Information can be found on CamSIS Moodle site.

Do we still need to circulate SSDs to undergraduate supervisors, lab technicians, and others who do not have access to CamSIS? 

Yes, continue doing this the way you used to.

Do I now need to password protect SSDs? 

No, as documents are held on CamSIS, there is no need to password protect unless you are sending them by email.

How will I know there is a new SSD I need to look at?

Depending on the role you have on CamSIS, you will be alerted by email and SSD will also be available on your 'Documents not yet seen' page under the Student Support Record tile.

Should the college or department be deleting local copies of SSDs after 6 years?

Yes.

Can we find students with SSDs using CamSIS Search?

Not at the moment.

If I mark SSD as 'seen' will it disappear from 'Documents not yet seen' page for my colleagues?

Yes, it will disappear from your college or department 'Documents not yet seen' page. However, SSD still can be found via ‘Student support record’ pages.

How do I find SSDs for my current students sent by ADRC before 16th November 2021?

You can find them via ‘Student support record’ pages.

How do I find out who marked SSD as 'seen' on CamSIS?

You can see this on main Student Support Document page by clicking ‘Seen by’ button.