Staff FAQs

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About ACORN

ACORN stands for Accessible Campus Online Resource Network. For students, ACORN will replace the existing Student Web Service (SWS) . The purpose of ACORN is to provide a more convenient, personalized and guided experience for students using U of T’s online services.

What are some of the improvements in ACORN vs ROSI-SWS?

  • UTORid authentication will replace student number and PIN
  • A user-friendly, intuitive dashboard
  • Personalized notifications alerting students of upcoming important deadlines (enrolment date/time), prompts for to take action (pay fees), and confirmations of actions occurring outside of the ACORN system (payment processed, grades posted)
  • Fully redesigned course and program enrolment screens
  • Proactive warnings displayed for:
    • Pre and co-requisites (for students in divisions using Degree Explorer)
    • Courses a student is blocked from enrolling in
    • Course load limits for terms/session (UTM, UTSC, St. George ArtSci)
    • Credit/no-credit totals (for applicable divisions)
    • Enrolment plans to enable students to proactively plan for and save intended course activities for each session prior to their enrolment open window
    • Expanded scope to increase awareness of important student services such as housing (residence applications), getting involved (Co-Curricular Record, clubs etc), international opportunities, jobs and career planning, health and wellness, Accessibility and Diversity services
  • Data integration between ACORN and existing academic support tools such as Degree Explorer
  • Enhanced search capabilities for courses and programs that provide autocomplete results after four characters and ability to search based on keyword.

How can staff learn more about ACORN features?

The ACORN Online Resource Kit will be our primary repository for staff support. We will use this space to share project updates and documents. The ACORN help site is another good resource as it provides screenshots, videos and step by step how-to content for the majority of features available in ACORN.

Will there be an opportunity for staff to have hands-on training with ACORN?

During spring 2015 the ACORN project team held 12 training sessions for over 400 staff across our three campuses. If there is demand for additional training sessions we are happy to conduct additional sessions as required.

Does ACORN impact ROSI for Staff?

No.  ROSI for staff will remain unchanged, this includes ROSI Express (green screens) and any other ROSI interfaces staff may use.

Finances: Credit Card Payments

When will credit card payments be available on ACORN?

We are aiming to make this feature available for students in early July 2016.

Is there a convenience fee? If so, how much is it?

Yes, there is a convenience fee associated with making an online tuition and fee payment using credit card. This fee is billed at a rate of 1.75% of the fee payment and is paid directly to the service provider, Moneris, and not to the University of Toronto. The convenience fee will be displayed as a separate charge on the online credit card payment receipt, and the card holder’s credit card statement.

Which credit cards are accepted for fee payments?

Mastercard and Visa credit card only. Visa debit card is not an accepted payment option. The use of non-Canadian dollar denominated credit cards for fee payments is not recommended.

Can students pay academic or residence deposit payments online by credit card?

No, not at this time. The online credit card fee payment service is currently only available for students to make a fee payment for the fees that have been billed on the ACORN/ROSI invoice. Any payments received via the online credit card fee payment option will be applied to outstanding fees.

Academic deposit payments are made by money order or bank draft only, and residence deposit payments are made on StarRez.

Is the convenience fee refundable?

The convenience fee is non-refundable even if the student cancels course enrolment and registration. This fee is billed directly by Moneris and is not remitted to the University of Toronto.

International students: What if a student has a non-Canadian dollar denominated credit card?

Non-Canadian dollar denominated credit card fee payments will be subject to foreign exchange rates and fees as determined by the credit card company and these fees will not be displayed on the online credit card payment service.

Students who have a non-Canadian dollar denominated credit card are advised to make Canadian dollar fee payments by using the Western Union GlobalPay for Students service (refer to Making a Fee Payment Outside of Canada). This service offers competitive exchange rates and with NO transaction charges from WU GlobalPay.

Are credit card refunds available?

Credit card refunds are not currently available.

No interest or foreign exchange differences will accrue on payments that are eventually refunded, either in part or in full.

If there is a credit balance that may be eligible for a refund payment, the refund will be made to the student even if someone else made the fee payment, refer to Making a Refund Request and Refund FAQs.

How long does it take for the University to receive/record the credit card fee payment?

The credit card fee payment is not considered to have been received by the University of Toronto until confirmed and recorded on the ACORN/ROSI payment report and the student invoice as a ‘Payment-ACORN Credit Card’. At this point, if the student registration status is “Invited”, ACORN/ROSI will change the registration status to “Registered”.

The online credit card fee payment will be displayed as ‘Credit Card Payment-Awaiting Final Confirmation’ when the Moneris fee payment transaction has been completed, and it typically takes 2-3 business days to confirm the credit card payment and record the fee payment against the ACORN/ROSI account.

When can students make their next credit card payment?

Only one credit card fee payment can be processed at a time. Students will not be able to make a credit card fee payment while another credit card payment is awaiting final confirmation. This typically takes 2-3 business days and in the meantime, students will see a notification indicating this, displayed on their ACORN financial screens.

Can a student pre-pay ACORN/ROSI fees by credit card?

Credit card payment option is not available to pay for fees that have not yet been billed.

If a student needs to pay tuition fees before fall-winter session fees are billed (starting in mid-July) as part of the student visa application process, they can e-mail the Student Accounts Office at info.studentaccount@utoronto.ca to request an estimate of the fees payable (based on the previous year’s fees).  Refer to Making a Fee Payment for the other fee payment options that will allow them to make a fee payment for anticipated tuition fees. The fee payment can be held until tuition fees for the session are billed, and a receipt can be issued to the student to use as proof that tuition fees have been paid.

Student credit card payment has been declined and they don’t know why?

Students can view the ‘Declined Transaction’ receipt on ACORN. If they are still unsure about why the payment has been declined, they should contact their credit card provider for an explanation.

Will students get a receipt showing proof of payment?

Yes, the online credit card payment option has been designed so that students can download a copy of the receipt which can then be saved and/or printed. The receipt will be available for all credit card transactions, both approved and declined.

Can staff view a log of credit card payment activity?

Yes, staff can view whether a credit card payment was approved or declined, and the amount, on the ‘Browse SWS Activity Log’ ROSI green screen (2 G).

Launch and Transition Period

When was ACORN released?

ACORN was released on June 22, 2015.

What is the roll-out strategy for ACORN?

We recognized this is a major transition not only for students but also for staff supporting students. Given this, we wanted to provide a gradual easing into the new ACORN world. We launched ACORN in parallel with the existing ROSI-SWS and will have both systems available until we are able to fully sunset ROSI-SWS. Date of this sunsetting is TBD, possibly late 2016 or early 2017 as there are several dependencies we need to account for before committing to this action.

What will students see during the transition period?

The landing page at rosi.utoronto.ca will provide options for students to log into either the ‘classic’ ROSI-SWS or the new ACORN system. During the transition period where both systems are available, students will be able to log into ACORN or continue with the existing ROSI-SWS system and will be free to bounce back and forth. Changes made on one system (e.g. adding a course) will be reflected on the other.

How will students learn about ACORN?

We have created an ‘Introducing ACORN’ website that is intended to raise awareness about ACORN for students. In addition theacorn.utoronto.ca landing page has links to the help and Q&A site.

How should we communicate access information to students during the availability of both systems?

This is up to each division to communicate as needed with your students. We suggest encouraging students to use ACORN with the understanding that ROSI-SWS will not be available over the long term.

UTORid and Password Reset

How will students login to ACORN?

Through either the rosi.utoronto.ca or the new acorn.utoronto.ca landing page, students will use their UTORid and Password to login to ACORN.  These are the same user credentials they use for the Portal (Blackboard), UTmail+ (Student E-mail) and other services on campus.

How can a student reset their UTORid password?

Yes, students will have an opportunity to reset their UTORid password once they register for the Password Reset Self-Service online. Additionally, all primary Help Desks on all three campuses will have the ability to perform a password reset upon request.

What is the Password Reset Self-Service?

This is a new password reset tool for UTORid.

How do students register for the Password Reset Self-Service?

Student users will be asked to go to a specific link to register their alternate e-mail or cell phone number for SMS password reset.  This service is being finalized at the moment, a link is not available to the public at this time.

Will the student number and PIN still be valid for accessing ROSI-SWS?

During the transition period, the existing ROSI-SWS- login credentials, the student number and PIN, will remain valid.   Students will also use the existing method to reset their PIN.

Registrarial & Student Support

Where can I find how-to overviews for ACORN (screenshots, videos, instructional guides)?

The ACORN help site includes detailed overviews of the core ACORN features and functionality. Demonstrations through video, screenshots and step by step how-to guides are available for staff and students.

Core feature: Enrolment Cart – what is it?

The Enrolment Cart allows students to proactively plan for and save intended course activities for each session prior to, and during, their enrolment open window. The enrolment cart will provide warnings to students about course conflicts, prerequisites and space availability.

For more information, staff will be able to review our help materials on the enrolment cart. (Coming soon!)

Note – For courses the student is blocked from enrolling in due to enrolment controls, the student will be made aware of this while searching for the course and will not be able to add these courses to their cart.

How will students enrol for courses in ACORN?

See the course enrolment how-to section for an overview of how students will enrol in courses. Summary: Students can either enrol in courses they have previously added to their enrolment cart or search and add courses at the time of enrolment.

How does a student view and manage finances?

For the first ACORN release student finances remained unchanged for the most part. During 2016 finances will see significant improvements.

How do we send notifications to students?

Notifications in their current format will be automatically triggered by the system. At this time there is not a method for direct one-off communication with a student using the notification system. We have received this request however and will explore its feasibility for future ACORN work.

Will there be a staff view of ACORN student screens?

This was the number one request we received from staff in our foundational research work on ACORN. While there wasn’t a staff view included in the initial 1.0 ACORN release, this is a feature we are actively working on and hope to make available in the near future. In the meantime we hope that our collection of screenshots, videos and staff training will help staff support students as needed.

Communications & Promotions: Digital and Print

What happens to the name ‘ROSI’?

Upon the official retirement of the existing ROSI (SWS) following the transition period, the name ROSI will be phased out and replaced with ACORN.

Where can we direct students to learn more about ACORN?

ACORN help, ACORN Q&A and the Introducing ACORN site are our primary sources for informing students about ACORN.

Will website administrators need to update text that references ROSI to ACORN?

Yes, two months advance of the official retirement of the name ROSI, our team will issue an official request to all web administrators to replace all ROSI references to ACORN.

When do we need to update the name to ACORN?

We advise on updating ROSI-SWS references to ACORN at your earliest convenience.

Where is the name ROSI most frequently referenced?

ROSI is currently most often referenced in the header of U of T websites, academic calendars and registration information.  We are working with our technical team to identify ROSI references across the U of T Web space and notify the content owners.

When do we need to update our print materials?

Print materials should be based on the official schedule for the retirement of ROSI.  This schedule is yet to be released; however, Divisions should plan to have new materials at the earliest convenience.

Is there an ACORN system icon?

Yes, please click on this link to preview the ACORN icon.

What are the use guidelines for the ACORN icon?

The use guidelines for the ACORN icon are being finalized and will be published as part of the ACORN Resource Kit.

What is the domain name (URL) for ACORN?

The domain name (URL) for for ACORN will be http://acorn.utoronto.ca

Will ‘rosi.utoronto.ca’ still work after ACORN is released?

Yes, for a period of time while both ROSI-SWS and ACORN are operating in parallel the existing http://rosi.utoronto.ca landing page will be available alongside the new ACORN domain name www.acorn.utoronto.ca. These two landing pages will mimic each other during this time.

Is there an ACORN Twitter account?

Yes, the official Twitter handle for ACORN is @uoftacorn (https://twitter.com/uoftacorn)

Who manages the ACORN Twitter feed?

The ACORN twitter feed is operated by the ACORN project team.  If you have any questions, you may contact Tamara Adizes Jacobs, ITS Portfolio Communications Officer at tamara.adizes@utoronto.ca

Is there an official ACORN hashtag?

Yes, the official social media hashtag for ACORN is #ACORN, accompanied by #UofT.

Is there an ACORN Facebook page?

No, ACORN communications initiatives will leverage pre-existing Facebook pages from across the University to help spread the message via this social media channel.

Future Releases

Will ACORN be available for mobile devices?

Yes, we are actively working on a responsive mobile version of ACORN that will include an optimized mobile interface. The first production improvements began in spring 2016, and will continue to be rolled out over the rest of the year.

Will staff be able to view the ACORN student screens?

This was the number one request we received from staff in our foundational research work on ACORN. This is something we are actively working on and hope to make available in the near future. As of June 2016 we have initiated a pilot project using screen sharing software as a first step towards this.

Will there be improvements to the student finances and awards section for students?

The second phase of ACORN is focused on building out new functionality related to student finances and awards. Our plan for 2016highlights several impactful projects under way.

What is the timeline for the future releases?

Since launch in June 2015, we are averaging a release update to ACORN every 1-2 weeks We expect to continue on this pace into the future.