One, two… testing, testing.

The image is a collage of four pictures: a person walking on a beach, a busy beer garden, a wooden shed and a set of data on a spreadsheet.

Image credit (left to right): Amine Rock Hoovr, Liam McKay, Aubrey Rose Odom, Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

MAfS team members know that summer is the perfect time to go for a walk on the beach, head out to a beer garden, finally build that DIY shed and… yes, user acceptance testing (UAT). While other summer activities may be disrupted by social distancing, we still have UAT to look forward to in the coming (hopefully sunny) weeks. 

As part of our work to prepare for the SEAtS UAT sessions we will be running this summer, the team has been working on import testing. During the import testing phase, we check a number of datasets exported from SITS (the student records database), which are then imported onto SEAtS (the attendance monitoring tool), to ensure: 

  • the right data is correctly identified in SITS, 
  • the data file is exported with all the required data, 
  •  and that this is successfully transferred onto SEAtS. 

Last year we carried out import testing for the 2019 pilot, covering approximately 60 routes from two undergraduate years. This year we upped the stakes to 280 routes, spanning all years of both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, which increased the level of complexity in the data due to the numerous routeblock and occurrence combinations. Even though we tested a total of 2000 student records, you can imagine how the data becomes more complex once you have a single route across multiple years 

I caught up with Yusuf, Graeme and John who have recently joined the MAfS team as Assistant Business Analysts to find out more about their first experience with import testing. 

Having graduated from City himself, Yusuf went straight into testing with the student experience lenses on, highlighting the importance of ensuring testing is carried out thoroughly to enable a seamless and personalised experience for each student. John, who has had considerable experience as an end-user of SEAtS in his role as Course Officer at The City Law School, enjoyed the opportunity to get hands-on with SEAtS, this time, behind the scenes. He is particularly looking forward to seeing how City further develops the ways in which we use SEAtS. Finally, Graeme had a chance to make use of more advanced Excel skills to increase efficiency by applying some spreadsheet wizardry to the analysis of the data, which was truly welcomed by the team! 

One thing to note is that all colleagues involved mentioned the phenomenal teamwork that took place to complete the import testing. Working collaboratively both within MAfS and with our brilliant colleagues in IT was instrumental to the success of testing. In our new normal, the team relied on a dedicated MS Teams channel to ensure real-time communication and imbue a sense of collaboration that could otherwise have been missed by the lack of physical interaction. 

Were there any bugs then? Of course. This is why testing is essential! IT have already fixed a number of issues and we will keep working together to resolve any outstanding bugs before we progress to UAT. 

Let us know in the comments or email modernisingadministration@city.ac.uk if you have any questions about SEAtS and UAT. 

Mariana Cabral

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