TES 4.0: A Development Story

TES 4.0 — A Development Story on TES, the Transfer Evaluation System

We have officially been live with TES 4.0 for one month. Since the release, we have heard our fair share of comments, both good and bad. While TES 4.0 might have been a surprise for some users, it’s actually been in development for almost all of 2017. In case you were wondering, here’s how TES 4.0 came to be.

Development for TES 4.0 began in January 2017. The plan was to rewrite TES with a newer code set while enhancing its mobile responsiveness. We also planned to incorporate some of the outstanding enhancement requests as part of the development. We knew this was going to be a lot of work, but it was going to be worth it.

This was not a simple upgrade. Each and every page in TES had to be recreated for TES 4.0., and many pages have gone through several iterations. Equivalency Manager for example, has gone through at least four different designs since we started.

Phase 1

The goal for the first phase of the rewrite was to have a functional beta site to demo by our CollegeSource Annual Conference in June 2017. That way, we could introduce 4.0 in a setting where we could get direct feedback from our clients and demonstrate some of the enhancements. We launched the public beta site at the same time so users could begin to play around in the 4.0 environment, and users who attended the conference were able start working in 4.0 in their day-to-day lives when they returned to work.There were a few minor issues that arose, but in general, the feedback during this time was positive and extremely helpful.

“I’ve started using TES 4.0 just to get a feel for it and see how it will impact our day-to-day workflow. I definitely like the new look of it. A lot cleaner and easier to navigate and read.”

“I really like the new search functionality and equivalency manager in TES 4.0 much better, and the overall layout I think will make it a lot easier for me to roll out to other departments, so I’m excited for the launch.”

Phase 2

The remainder of the summer was spent addressing user feedback and putting the finishing touches on 4.0. By late August we felt confident we were ready to launch 4.0 to a larger audience. We decided to start by running TES 3.0 and TES 4.0 concurrently. This would allow all users to begin using 4.0, but still be able to access 3.0 if there were issues. There were a few undiscovered bugs and some additional redesign work that came up during this soft release. These bugs caused us to push back the official release of TES 4.0 to Friday October 13th. Fun fact, TES 3.0 was released on Friday September 13th2013, so there might be a trend starting here. During the weeks leading up to the scheduled release, we offered a series of webinars highlighting the improvements in TES. We also hosted our first TES Basic Certification course, in which our first group of users became certified in TES 4.0.

Go Live and Post-Launch

Monday October 16th, 2017 marked the first full working day for everyone to use TES 4.0. For many, it would appear this was their first time exploring TES 4.0. That first week helped determine what we still needed to add. Our support staff built a list of missing features and our developers got right to work. Within 2 weeks of the release, a vast majority of the reported issues had been resolved. Some fixes included: adding navigation buttons after creating an equivalency or evaluation task, adding a new standalone log-in page, correcting the format of emails sent from TES, and adding a home course search feature in Equivalency Manager.

Even though it’s been live for over month, we know there is still work to be done. We are actively working to address a delay that occurs when performing an action in TES that results in an email being sent. This delay can cause users to submit multiple actions in Evaluation Tracker that may lead to multiple equivalencies being created. This delay issue can be caused by invalid emails, so to help us prevent these issues, please make sure all of your user accounts have valid email addresses.

Summary

The goal with any upgrade is to create a product that is better than the previous version. With TES 4.0 there are many new features worth highlighting. Grid results are now sortable by column. This is especially helpful when using Course Change Explorer. You can filter the results to show changes in the course description or title, so you can focus on the largest changes before reviewing smaller ones.

We also added the option for users to send email notifications when an evaluation tasks gets approved. This allows for an automated message to be generated to let the task creator know when the task has been approved.

Cross-edition equivalencies are now supported. This is useful if you need to build an equivalency for courses that exist in two separate editions of a catalog, or if one of your courses underwent a minor change in the description. Simply adjust the catalog year and pick the updated course.

You may have also noticed the support link directs you to our new Support Center, where you can access all of the TES documentation and search for specific topics or keywords to quickly find the answer to your questions. We are in the process of updating documentation to reflect the changes in 4.0. and appreciate your patience during this process. If you have a specific question or concern, please contact us so we can help!

If you want to know how you can use TES to its fullest, you can sign up for our TES Basic Certification course (details below) or one of your other regular webinars. We also encourage you to attend the CollegeSource Annual Conference on June 18-21, 2018 in San Diego to hear about the latest and planned product developments.

If you have any additional feedback for TES 4.0, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


TES Basic Certification

The next TES Basic Certification course will be held December 6-7, 2017. There are a limited number of seats, so if you’re interested in this training please reserve your seat while they’re still available! This is an intensive online workshop held over two half-days, with hands-on instruction, exercises to complete, and results in certification.

“I love the new layout, the added functions and enhancements in 4.0. This certification really tuned me in to them. John’s humor was appreciated even though he couldn’t see the smiles or hear the laughter.” — Heather Gustafson, Assistant Registrar, Wayne State College

Reserve a Seat

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