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The ACORN team has been busy since our last update – this post calls out selected important enhancements and resolved issues from several recent releases to ACORN and related online services.
ACORN 1.16.1 Release Notes (Released December 15, 2016)
- Credit Card Payment: Notice posted re: holiday closure, payment processing to resume in new year
- ACORN Dashboard: Fixed bug where on the day of a student’s exam(s), some academic content would disappear
ACORN 1.16.0 Release Notes (Released December 12, 2016)
- Timetable: When printed, now fits on a single page
- Timetable: When accessed via mobile, now fits the device’s screen without scrolling and is available for saving, viewing offline
ACORN 1.15.0 Release Notes (Released November 16, 2016):
- Course Enrolment: Fixed misleading messaging re: current/upcoming term being available for course enrolment
- Academic History: User interface enhancements
- SWS=N degree POSts: Courses are now displayed in ACORN in a read-only state
- Timetable: Added a new personalized exam listing of what, where, when exam info with links to U of T Map when possible
ACORN 1.14.1 Release Notes (Released November 1, 2016):
- Awards Space: Awards that have not yet been journaled will no longer be displayed on the “My Awards” screen
- Awards Space: Multi-disbursement awards that have had at least 1 disbursement made will display potential upcoming disbursements on the “My Awards” screen
ACORN 1.14.0 Release Notes (Released October 22, 2016):
- Grant Application: Blocked international students from applying via the online application
- Per OUAC, ACORN and associated services now support the following:
- Additional legal statuses such as: Convention Refugee, Visitor, Diplomatic)
- New gender code (“A” – another)
- Expanded address field(s)
We’re pleased to announce a new ACORN feature that will help U of T students who are experiencing urgent financial need. The University of Toronto Grant has been implemented as a new service within ACORN to simplify and expedite the grant application process. Students in supporting divisions (see below) are now able to apply for urgent funding via https://acorn.utoronto.ca/sws/welcome.do?welcome.dispatch#/grants.
Note: The U of T grant is intended for students who have exhausted all other means of financial support and who are experiencing urgent financial need.
- Architecture, Landscape & Design, Daniels Faculty of
- Applied Science & Engineering, Faculty of
- Innis College
- Kinesiology & Physical Education, Faculty of
- St. Michael’s College
- New College
- University College
- Woodsworth College
Students not in supporting divisions should apply for the grant via the existing .pdf form-based process (speak with your registrar for more details). More divisions will be added soon!
We are excited to announce the launch of a new financial planning calculator for U of T students. The planning calculator is a publicly available tool available to current and prospective undergraduate students. Use it to plan your budget and find out how much it will cost to study at U of T for one academic year.
- See what it would cost to live on or off-campus, or study in a particular undergraduate program at U of T
- Based on the expenses the tool estimates for you, create a budget for food, entertainment and other living costs for the upcoming academic year
- Browse a list of personalized budgeting resources that aim to help you save money
We’ve been working on a number of new features for ACORN over the summer and are excited to launch three of these today in time for the fall-winter academic session.
1. Responsive Mobile
With this release, 90% of ACORN screens will be mobile friendly making it easier to read, navigate and take action on small screen mobile devices. This includes the dashboard, end to end course & program enrolment, paying fees by credit card, updating address & contact information, Planning Tools and all ‘Life’ content.
2. Awards & Financial Aid Module
This new module will do two things:
- Display links to potential financial opportunities available to the student depending on their home faculty and college
- Display upcoming award payouts and an awards history the student has received from U of T.
3. iCal Personal Timetable Export
- This feature enables students to download and add their personal timetables from ACORN to their own mobile and desktop calendars (I.e. Google, iOS etc).
- This feature will replace the existing Academic Activities Calendar but the static Personal Timetable will remain on ACORN.
- The personal exam list that has been present on the Academic Activities Calendar will be displayed during exam periods on the same Timetable & Exams screen in list form.
This release focused on a few minor enhancements:
- Improve the messaging displayed when the transaction broker hits capacity
- Allow certain graduate students to enrol in programs
- Extend Invoice history availability to 7 years
- Refine the display of the receipts for credit card payments
This release included the first of several financial improvements coming to ACORN as well as a few enhancements to course enrolment.
New Feature: Credit card payments are now available on ACORN. This brings some convenience with paying tuition and fees online through ACORN.
-Note: There is a 1.75% convenience fee collected by Moneris, the transaction vendor.
Enhancement: Updated ‘Life’ content for UTM to ensure links are pointing to up to date web information.
Enhancement: Improved messaging on Transcripts page for students without an academic history.
Enhancement: Improved display of currently enrolled course activities on course modals.
Enhancement: Improved display for the ‘enrolment blocked’ label for full courses without waitlist options
For this release we focused on a number of enhancements to course enrolment. We know that getting into courses is incredibly important for students and ensuring that this area is easy to use and understand is one of our core goals on ACORN. To that end, here is a sample of the updates we made:
- Enhancement: Allow enrolment cart items to be modified (e.g. switch sections). Previously there was only the option to add new items or remove existing.
- Enhancement: Improved warning message if a student reaches their 30 course capacity on the enrolment cart.
- Enhancement: Prompt student for confirmation before completing a request to remove a course from their enrolment cart. This brings this interaction into consistency with dropping an enrolled course.
- Enhancement: Enrolment cart space availability was previously showing a static snapshot of when the course was added to the cart so we introduced a mechanism to update this information.
- Enhancement: Add system time for FAS, UTM and UTSC enrolment days for students attempting to log in prior to their enrolment start time. This helps to clarify when a student will be able to gain access to the system on their enrolment day.
- Enhancement: Typeahead course search results have been streamlined to remove courses that don’t have enrollable sections available on ACORN.
- Enhancement: The dashboard is now mobile friendly.
On May 10th we updated ACORN with another release focused on a set of enhancements and fixes. Here is a sample of the updates:
- Enhancement: Enrolment start date and time notification – In recent years we would inform students of their upcoming enrolment start date and time only when we had both of these values. This would lead to some late notice for certain divisions. This year, where applicable, we’ll provide a notification of the day you can start enrolling in courses for fall-winter and update this once we have a confirmed start time as well.
- Enhancement: Enrol & Manage landing screen – If a previous academic session is still showing, for example Summer session in October, we now default to the current academic session rather than simply the first tab showing.
- Enhancement: Courses –> Enrol & Manage – Recently we introduced a fix so that the session tab you were looking at on Enrol & Manage would be the same session tab if you navigated to the Courses screen. We’ve further updated this so that this functions when navigating from Courses to Enrol & Manage.
- Enhancement: Dashboard – Up until now, if you weren’t enrolled in any courses for the current session, we didn’t have a direct link to the Courses screen from the dashboard. We’ve added this now.
- Enhancement: Academic History – Last month we provided better print/pdf layouts for the invoice and timetable. This release we added a cleaner print/pdf version of the academic history as well.
- Fix: Dashboard Events – For somewhat mysterious reasons, on the 24th day of every month, events showing on the dashboard would be highlighted in red. This won’t happen anymore.
- Fix: Enrolment Cart – For values that are not yet set for course activities in the enrolment cart (i.e. instructor and location), we’ve added ‘TBA’ in lieu of blank spaces. This brings this in line with information displayed on course enrolment modals.
- Fix: Term workload link – Undergraduate Architecture students were seeing links to Arts and Sciences website information pertaining to term workloads. This has been updated to link to the relevant Architecture website instead.
Our April release is a mix of convocation enhancements, fixes and general improvements. Here is a sample of what went out:
- Enhancement: A collection of convocation ticket related enhancements regarding the rsvp’ing for tickets and clearly marking intention to graduate if a student was in more than one degree program.
- Enhancement: Timetable conflict layout improvement to clearly show side-by-side conflicting course sections.
- Fix: A few keyboard accessibility related issues related to modal windows and progress bars on Planning Tools.
- Fix: T4A and T2202A tax forms broke after using once. This was a quick fix to allow multiple years of tax forms to be viewed.
- Fix: Active tab continuity when navigating from the enrol and manage screen to the Courses screen. Previously if both the Summer and Fall-Winter sessions had tabs available and a student was viewing Fall-Winter, using the left side navigation would bring the student, by default, to the Summer tab on the Courses screen rather than keeping a student on Fall-Winter.