ROSI reborn as ACORN

Student Web Service soon to be replaced by new system


ROSI is expected to be replaced by the new “ACORN” system as early as this spring.

ACORN (Accessible Campus Online Resource Network) has completed its first round of beta testing, in which a sample of the intended audience, about 25 U of T students, tried out the new system.

According to Mark Johnston, the ACORN product manager and a member of the user experience design team, the main features include an updated look, redesigned course and program enrolment sections, and a better connection to Portal, the Degree Explorer, and services like career planning, health and wellness, housing, and international opportunities.

The updated course enrolment section includes a cart that helps plan a timetable and allows sections to be saved before the enrolment period, and will include warnings about enrolment controls, conflicts, space availability, and prerequisites.

It will also have a quick course search where students can start typing out a course code or title and the system will autocomplete their query.

Over 1,000 students have participated in consultations for this project through interviews, focus groups, surveys, and usability tests.

The second round of beta testing is expected to take place in the coming weeks and is expected to be complete by early April.

Student feedback on the first round has reportedly been positive.

“Students have highlighted the overall modern look and feel of the site and the new course enrolment screen as being a great improvement over their current experience with ROSI,” said Johnston.

The move to replace ROSI-SWS with ACORN follows feedback received from both students and staff through the Next Generation Student Information Services program. According to Johnston, the feedback provided through NGSIS was that “the ROSI-SWS system is outdated and does not provide an optimal experience for students”.

NGSIS works with students and faculty in order to provide accurate information about their postsecondary careers. The program is responsible for services such as Degree Explorer, the co-curricular record, Course Finder, and MyRes.

According to the NGSIS website, ROSI-SWS was implemented in 2002. The technology used to build the current Student Web Service is no longer supported, which is why new services, such as Course Finder and CCR, cannot be integrated into ROSI.

An “Introducing ACORN” site is now live at and offers screenshots and information. An update is expected soon with more information about the design process behind ACORN and the changes it will introduce.

According to the NGSIS website, ACORN is currently 70% complete.