Admissions FastTrack User Guide<>

Workflow in Admissions FastTrack

What is workflow?

The Admissions FastTrack service administrator can define how the incoming interactions will be processed by staff members by setting up workflows. A workflow is the sequence of administrative events that is triggered when an application is submitted by a user of the online service.

Workflows consist of:

stages

rules

decisions

actions

The stage of an interaction indicates the point it has reached in the workflow processing sequence. For example an application will need to be reviewed to check that the applicant meets the academic criteria for course entry (e.g. is studying appropriate A‑levels or has sufficient professional accreditation). This stage could be called ‘Qualification Check’. A interaction may pass through many stages, each of which signifies that the incoming interaction is being processed in a specific way.

A rule is a set of criteria which is used to make a decision about how the interaction should be processed when it reaches a particular stage. For example, an application to a computer science degree course might require that the applicant is studying maths at A-level.

A decision is a judgement about how an interaction at a particular stage should be processed. A decision is usually made by applying a particular rule. For example, if an applicant to a computer science degree course is studying maths A-level the decision might be ‘move the application to the Make Offer stage’ whereas if the applicant is not studying maths A-level the decision might be ‘reject the application’.

An action is the process which will be executed once a decision has been made at a particular stage. At the Qualification Check stage of our computer science degree application the possible list of actions might be ‘move the application to the Make Offer stage’, ‘review qualifications’, ‘invite for interview’ or ‘ reject the application’.

When you edit or set up a workflow you define the processing stages required and link them together based upon the appropriate rules, decisions and actions.

Setting up workflow

Workflows are set up by service administrators as part of the Admissions FastTrack configuration process. Admissions FastTrack comes with a default workflow and a set of pre-defined stages, rules, decisions and actions to get you started. You can edit this default workflow or you can create new workflows as required. You can also add new rules, actions and decisions in order to create completely customised workflows.

When you have created a workflow you can associate the workflow with a particular course or with a group of courses. You can set up as many different workflows as you need.

To set up a workflow

1Select the Services tab from the Quercus home screen.

2Select the Admissions service.

3Choose the Workflow option.

4Select the Admissions Default workflow from the list of workflows.

A list of the stages and associated decisions opens.

5To edit an existing stage in the workflow, click its Edit button and then edit the settings that appear at the foot of the screen.

6You can add a new stage using the Add Stage Rule option in the Task list.

Statuses

Admissions FastTrack comes with a pre-defined set of workflow stages. You can edit the pre-defined stages or add new stages of your own to any service if required.

Movement between stages is usually triggered by an action by a student or by a staff member. So, for instance, if the end-user of a service saves a partially-completed online interaction (but without actually submitting it), the interaction moves to the ‘recorded’ stage. Once the user clicks Submit it moves to the ‘submitted’ stage. A staff member may then check the information submitted by the student before selecting an action such as ‘Interview’ or ‘Reject’.

When an interaction moves from one stage to another as a result of an action (see below), the specific stage to which the interaction moves is set by the service administrator when she defines the workflow.

Rules

The rules which are applied at a particular stage in the workflow fall into two categories:

1Rules which require intervention by a human operator

An example could be an assessment of whether a criminal record disqualifies an individual from applying for a particular course. It is unlikely that information about an applicant’s criminal record could be machine-parsed and a decision made without recourse to a human evaluation.

2Rules which can be applied automatically by running a computerised test

An example could be the rule that the applicant must be over 18 on the 1st September 2012. This rule is simple to check automatically providing you have captured the applicant’s data of birth.

In the case of rule-interpretation which requires human intervention the interaction is routed to the relevant decision-maker, who applies the rule and records the decision. In the example of the criminal record check, the human operator would make the check and then record a decision (see below) such as ‘Pass Criminal Record Check’, ‘Fail Criminal Record Check’ or ‘Refer for Legal Advice’. Each of the decisions would route the application on to a different point in the workflow.

In the case of rule-interpretation which can be performed automatically, such as an age-check, there will be no requirement for human intervention providing the workflow has been configured correctly and an appropriate validation script exists to support the function. In these circumstances the rule is applied and the interaction moves to the next appropriate workflow stage.

Decisions

After a rule has been applied, it will result in a decision. A decision says how the interaction will be processed after the application of the appropriate rule. It may result in any of the following:

1the interaction moves to a new stage in the workflow

2a communication such as an email or SMS may be sent to the student

3actions may be triggered which result in modifications to records in the database (for example a student may be registered on a particular course)

The specific outcomes of the decision are configured through the workflow management interface.