Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Assessment Scheduling and Student Interactive Tool FAQs

The following information outlines the online study advisors functions, flexible assessment scheduling and support for academics and students.

FAQ’s for Academics and Online Study Advisors (OSA’s)

What is ASSIST?

Assessment Scheduling and Student Interactive Support Tool (ASSIST previously known as EASE) is used by selected subjects at CSU to enable flexible assessment due dates for the student and provides dashboard and reporting capabilities to help support online students. ASSIST consists of two major functions;

  1. Flexible Assessment Scheduling; ASSIST allows students to request alternative assessment submission due dates within predefined windows for subjects that are setup for flexible assessment. Subject Coordinators set subjects and assessments to be flexible and the rules around that flexibility. Although originally intended for online students to better manage their assessment due dates around their day-to-day lives, the system is not limited to just online subjects and the flexibility functionality can be used by any subject. Subjects have the ability to use the flexible assessment functionality without the OSA Support function.
  2. OSA Student Support; CSU is trialling the introduction of the Online Study Advisors (OSA’s) role. OSA’s are assigned to monitor and support students in selected online subjects. OSA’s will monitor student progress and reach out and advise any students that might be at risk. OSA’s will not help students academically, but will be able to engage the student, point them to existing CSU assistance and tools, and/or flag them to the teaching academic for help. ASSIST was created to help support the OSA’s.

Operational Impacts for Academics

This section holds important information that Subject Coordinators and teaching staff need to take into account. ASSIST sources information from upstream systems, if information is changed in these upstream systems it will have an effect on data already setup in ASSIST. If assessment information in diverse systems is not setup correctly then ASSIST will not be able to map it correctly.

Subject offering lifecycle – SAL+

Subject offerings can be made inactive in SAL+ at any point, even after the session has commenced.

Setting an offering in SAL+ as inactive will hide all related information to that subject offering from users in ASSIST.  This includes any related date change requests and current subject enrolments. Should the subject offering become active again in SAL+, then all related records in ASSIST will become visible again.

Subject offering lifecycle – Subject Outline

Ensure that ASSIST flexibility setup is only done AFTER the final version of the subject outline is published.

Subject outlines can be republished at any point in time, even after the session has commenced.  At any time when a subject outline is published the assessment item details can change, e.g. contain more or less items than the previous version and/or have complete new assessment items in place of the old items.

Publishing a new version of a subject outline has two potential implications in ASSIST;

  • Change in Assessment Items: Assessment items might have changed between versions i.e. new items added, order of items changed around, items removed, changes to submission dates or return dates. Flexibility information for assessment items might already exist in ASSIST against the previous version of the subject outline.  ASSIST is unable to recognise the exact changes in assessment items.
  • ASSIST will overwrite assessment flexibility information with newest information coming from subject outline.  Any flexibility setup that has occurred in ASSIST against assessments previously will be lost.  Where the newer version has fewer assessment items than the old version, the excess assessment items number will be flagged in ASSIST as inactive.

Example of new subject outline

  • Date Change Requests Already Exist in ASSIST: ASSIST may already have date change request records from Students that relate to the assessment items from the previous version of the Subject Outline.  Where the newer version's assessment items are completely different from the older version’s, as in the example above, it is not possible for ASSIST to manage the differences. These need to be managed by Academics to ensure Students are aware of differences where required, all submitted change requests can be viewed in the system.
  • Irrespective of subject outline version the date change request was submitted against, if the date change request relates to assessment item 1 it will always relate to assessment item 1 in the newest version of the new subject outline.  Where date change requests might exist for an assessment item that no longer exists in the new version of a subject outline, e.g. item 4 as in the example above, these date change requests will be flagged as inactive in ASSIST, and be removed from the user interface, i.e. can't be seen by users in ASSIST.

Deactivate Easts Notifications

EASTS notifications should be turned off for any subject offering that uses ASSIST.  ASSIST will send upcoming assessment reminders to students, as well as late assessment reminders.

Due to system limitations in EASTS, ASSIST will not update EASTS with the current agreed submission date for an assessment item.  If EASTS notifications are not turned off a student may receive a late submission notification from EASTS, where in fact they have a different agreed submission date in ASSIST.

GradeCentre marks – Assessment Title

For ASSIST to be able to match the marks given for a student in GradeCentre the column in GradeCentre that records the mark (not the grade) for the assessment item, have to have the exact same title as the assessment item in the latest published subject outline.  The only fields available to match assessment items between the systems is title and % value the item contributes to the overall grade. Hence it is very important that the title is the same as what is used in Subject Outline.

In the cases where an exact match cannot be found, ASSIST will generate a daily bulk email to the inbox, listing the items that were unable to be matched.

How are penalties calculated?

ASSIST will only calculate recommended penalties, it will not apply penalties in any way.

The student will start incurring a penalty count in ASSIST where;

  • they have submitted after their Agreed Submission date, where that date is in the Academic Approval window and the Recommended Submission date has past
  • where the Agreed Submission date is in the Auto Approval window and the student submitted after the Auto Approval window had finished
  • where the recommended submission date falls after the auto approval window and the student's current agreed submission date is prior to the recommended submission, but after the auto approval window then penalties for the student will start to apply the day after the recommended submission date;

ASSIST calculates the end of the submission day as anything after 11:59 pm AEST.

submission date calculation

Examples of penalty calculations
Recommended Submission Date Agreed Submission Date Actual Submission Date Penalty (days)Comment





Submitted on Agreed Submission Date





Submitted one day after Agreed Date and after the Auto Approval window





No penalty as submitted within the Auto Approval Window even though after Agreed Submission Date





No penalty as submitted within the Auto Approval Window





Student submitted on the Agreed Submission Date





Student submitted 3 days after the agreed submission date and after the Auto Approval window





Student submitted within the Auto Approve window





Student submitted on the Recommended Submission Date





Student submitted 3 days after Agreed Submission date and was not in the Auto Approval window





Student submitted 1 day after Agreed Submission date and was not in the Auto Approval window

How do I get access to the system?

ASSIST will allocate access to the system based on roles from ACSES. The system will grant access to staff allocated to the Subject Coordinator and Other Teaching Staff roles in ACSES. If ACSES is updated with new persons in these roles, the new permissions will be integrated into ASSIST and overwrite any previous permissions.

All Academics assigned to a subject offering as Other Teaching Staff can process requests and review student related information. Only Subject Coordinators can update the approval windows for a subject offering and will receive notifications from the system.

Why can I not setup flexibility for a subject?

Only Subject Coordinators can update the approval windows for a subject offering and will receive notifications from the system. This is sourced from ACSES.

I cannot find exam information for my subject

Exams are not available for flexible requests in ASSIST at this stage.  This may be assessed at a later date.

A student has received a reminder email for assessment submission, but the date is incorrect?

This could be caused by one of the following;

  1. Check that the date change request for that student has been approved, the assessment due date will not update for a student until the change request has been approved.
  2. The reminder may have come from EASTS. When a subject is setup for flexibility in ASSIST any notification reminders in EASTS should be disabled.

A student has an approved Special Considerations extension, but the new approved date does not show in their calendar?

Specific assessment details from Subject Outline are not held in Special Considerations, only a free text field is provided for the student to enter assessment details. One Special Consideration request may also be relevant to more than one assessment, what is put into this free text field from the student is very diverse. This makes it impossible for the system to automatically match an approved Special Considerations assessment extension to an assessment in ASSIST, which uses assessment items from Subject Outline. All relevant approved Special Considerations extensions are fed into ASSIST and matched to the student and subject, the Academic is required to map these to the relevant assessment/s in ASSIST in order to update the Student’s calendar.

Any Special Considerations requests will appear in the Review Requests for Submission Dates menu along with all other ASSIST date change requests. Academics can easily map to an assessment/s from here.

It is a future consideration to update Special Considerations to use assessment items from Subject Outline so approved requests can be automatically matched and updated in ASSIST.

Who receives emails from the system?

Students will receive notifications reminding them of an upcoming assessment submission due date at the intervals specified for each subject when Subject Coordinator sets up the subject for flexible assessment, e.g. the Subject Coordinator can setup a subject so students receive a reminder 14 days, 7 days and 1 day before a submission is due.

Where the subject is assigned an OSA, then the email will reflect as being sent from the OSA. Where the subject is not assigned an OSA: where the subject only uses the flexible assessment feature in ASSIST, the email will reflect as being sent from the Subject Coordinator.

For Academics, only Subject Coordinators will receive notifications from the system for new and waiting date change requests submitted by students.

How do I request my subject to be setup for flexible assessment?

Your subject will need to be flagged as active for flexible assessments in ASSIST. Contact DIT to request your subject be included.

How to request the setup of a new OSA or OSA Group

Setup of a new OSA or OSA group should be handled by the system administrator only. Contact DIT to process your request.

System Administrator Instructions:
  1. Contact SPI and request the new OSA be added to the SEC-SPI-AtRisk-Users security group to allow the OSA access to the SPI Risk Dashboard

Create a DIT ticket via Cherwell or the Support Desk to: create the new OSA group OR be assigned a person to that OSA group OR assign what subjects will be assigned to the OSA Group.

Internal logic for assigning a Primary OSA to a student:

How to manage the assignment of a Primary OSA to a student via an OSA group:

OSA group

An OSA group is created and managed in ASSIST by the either a business or system administrator or administrators can assign to a group:

  • Subject offerings that are participating in ASSIST and are not yet assigned to another group
  • Staff that are flagged in ASSIST as OSAs, to identify their subject offerings that they are responsible for

OSA group relationships

An OSA group can have

  • Only one OSA assigned at a time
  • Many subject offerings assigned at a time

An OSA can:

  • Be assigned to many OSA groups at a time

A subject offering:

  • Can be assigned to only one OSA group at a time
  • Have to be active in SAL+
  • Have to participate in ASSIST to belong to an OSA group

A student with one or more active subject enrolments in any ASSIST participating subject offering is assigned to an OSA group, if at least one of these ASSIST participating subject offerings are assigned to an OSA group. ASSIST uses this assignment of a student to an OSA group to identify the Primary OSA for the student.

A student can only be assigned to one OSA group at a time. (See Student group allocation rules below):

  • When no OSA is assigned to the group, the group still exists and students can still be assigned to the group, but ASSIST will consider these students as Unassigned to an OSA
  • When an OSA is no longer a Charles Sturt staff member ASSIST will remove them as the assigned OSA for OSA groups. These groups will then be Unassigned to an OSA
  • When an OSA group is set to inactive, all subject offerings that are currently assigned to the group will be unassigned from the group
  • When a subject offering become inactive on SAL+ or no longer participate in ASSIST, ASSIST will remove the subject offering from the OSA group

Primary OSA

ASSIST uses the primary OSA concept to establish the personalised support relationship between Charles Sturt and the student. See student group allocation rules below on how ASSIST determines which OSA group a student is assigned to.

ASSIST refers to the Primary OSA as the OSA that is currently assigned to the OSA group to which the student belongs.

ASSIST will indicate a student’s primary OSA as Unassigned when either

  • no OSA is assigned to the OSA group to which the student is assign
  • the student is not assigned to an OSA group as none of the subject offerings to which they are enrolled are not assigned to an OSA group

OSA for the subject

ASSIST refers to the OSA for the subject, as the assigned OSA for the OSA group to which the subject offering is assigned.As seen in the student group allocation rules only one of the student subject offering enrolments will afford them an OSA group allocation. (aka their primary group) Where a student has enrolments in other subject offerings that might be assigned to an OSA group that is not their primary group, ASSIST refers to the OSAs for these groups as the student’s alternative OSA . These OSAs might contact the student in relation to their specific subjects, but ASSIST do not consider these OSAs as the primary OSA for the student.

Student group allocation rules

The student group allocation rules run every night to allocate students to OSA groups:

  • OSA group allocations for students will only reflect changes to OSA group details (assigned OSA or subject offerings) changes the following day

Once student is assigned to an OSA group they will remain in that group unless:

  • the subject offering that afforded them the assignment is unassigned from the OSA group or
  • the subject offering that afforded them the assignment no longer participates in ASSIST or
  • they withdraw the subject offering that afforded them the group assignment in the first instance or
  • it is 12 months after completion of the subject offering that afforded them the group assignment
  • Only subject enrolments in ASSIST participating subject offerings will be considered to determine the student’s OSA group allocation

ASSIST uses the first relevant subject enrolment for the student to determine which group the student is  assigned to. ASSIST assigns the New OSA flag when a student is:

  • First assigned to an OSA group and the OSA group has an OSA assigned to it
  • Moved from one OSA group to another OSA group and the groups have different OSAs assigned to them

Start of Session Checklist

For Academics:
  • I have notified ASSIST support that my subject is to be activated for flexible assessment
  • Final version of Subject Outline is published
  • Correct Subject Coordinator and Other Teaching Staff roles setup in ACSES
  • Interact2 achievements with assessment numbers matching Subject Outline are in place
  • GradeCentre assessment item titles match Subject Outline
  • Link to ASSIST is available in Interact2
  • EASTS notifications are disabled where applicable
  • Flexible Submission Date setup for each assessment in ASSIST
For System Administration:

ASSIST has a number of settings that affect actions and assessment settings in the system. Some settings are called global settings that are defaulted to subjects, in most cases these settings can be overwritten by the subject coordinator when setting up flexibility for assessments and subjects. Below is a list settings that should be checked before the start of a session

  • Check subjects have been activated for flexible assessment
  • Review and check session dates; the session dates are calculated based on policy, but should always be checked to ensure policy has not changed and are accurate. Dates to check are;
    • Census date
    • Start date – first date of session
    • End date – last date of session
    • Last teaching date – last day of teaching on campus
  • Check all NSW Public Holidays have been setup in the system (only required at start of the year)
  • Working days; default number of working days to return assessments
  • Approval window days;
  • For each of the approval windows two values are set:

Auto approve window
Start A number of days before recommended submission date.
End B number of days after the recommended submission date

Academic approve window
Start X number of days before recommended submission date.
End Y number of days after the recommended submission date.

  • Review list of reasons for submitting a change request
  • Review list of reasons for flagging of student
  • Academic working days agreed response period: the number of days that an academic needs to respond to a date change request, this should be matched to policy. Students will be warned if they try to submit a date change request and the number of days between the date of change request submission and current agreed submission date is less than the amount of agreed working days, e.g. response days is set to 3 days. A student submits a date change request on the 16th for an assessment where the agreed submission date is the 18th, the student will be warned that they have not allowed enough time and the academic may not be able to approve in time.
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